A game tying goal with just 8.3 seconds on the clock sent the Notre Dame Academy Tritons game against the Bay Port Pirates into overtime where the Tritons would prevail to take over sole possession of first place in the Fox River Classic Conference.
The Tritons kept their perfect season intact when Mason Peapenberg fired a shot from the right point through heavy traffic that got past Pirates goalie Devin Rustlie. NDA was able to carry that momentum into the over time and won it after just 2:35 when Sam Kappell circled the zone and fired a shot from the right face off circle that beat Rustlie.
The early action in the first period was mostly in the Bay Port end, as the Tritons were able to establish and hold the offensive zone. The Tritons defensemen did a good job of holding the blue line. Pirates scoring chances were on rushes up the ice, when they used their speed to get half a step on the NDA defensemen. “We try and put as much pressure on defensemen as we can, we coach it and try and be a pressure impacted team,” said Pirates coach Michael Buchan. “NDA activates their D a lot so once we could break that down we were able to create opportunities but were not able to capitalize on those opportunities.”
Bay Ports’ best chance was on a two on two where both NDA defenders went after the puck carrier leaving the slot man open. The pass to the slot man was too hot to handle. “We have played Bay Port enough to know their game plan is to play a center fly and weak side slash game off wall breakouts,” said Tritons coach Cory McCracken. “Overall we did a nice job handling that part of the game last night. We handed them some offense they didn’t deserve.”
There was no scoring in the first period. 7 saves for Lleyton Jaschke of NDA and 11 saves for Bay Port's Rustlie.
Bay Port got on the board first with a power play goal late in the second period. After establishing themselves in the offensive zone, the pirates worked the puck around to Sam Lyons on the right side. He dropped down into the face off circle and wound as if to take a shot. Instead he passed to the slot where brother Will Lyons redirected the puck between Jaschke’s pads.
According to Buchan, “Our powerplay hinges off our players making plays. We have been successful this year (43.1% success) on our PP because our veteran players have been able to create seams and have been able to stay disciplined on playing 2 on 1 hockey instead of 1 on 1 hockey.”
Shots were fairly even in the second frame with Jaschke recording 8 saves versus 11 for Rustlie.
The third period action was again spent largely in the Bay Port end as Notre Dame tried to tie the score. As the frame wound down, the Pirates were able to hold the puck in the Notre Dame end, not allowing the Tritons to pull their goalie. Jaschke was finally able to get off for an extra attacker with just 40 seconds left. A stoppage shortly after that allowed NDA to call their time out. “The goal we scored after the timeout was just better compete from our players at getting pucks back and possession to create versus puck panic or forced plays, said McCracken. “We established a net front and Peapenburg placed it well.”
Buchan stated, “The momentum swung after their first goal with eight seconds left. We did have one opportunity to end the game in over time and I feel after that we were fighting an up hill battle. We need to learn from it and understand that things like this can happen and we need to adjust accordingly.”
“The intermission to go to OT was about getting back to our identity as a team - which we did in OT,” added McCracken. “We dominated OT and that is how we look when we are on our game. We had 4 high danger chances in OT and Sam Kappells’ goal in OT is a prime example of possessing a puck and playing to attack vs passing the puck into the net.”
“Hats off the Bay Port. They had a good game plan to defend with 3 players back and force puck managed decisions at the blue line. BP wanted to take turnovers and play a fast transition game against. We won’t fall into that trap next time we see them. 51 minute game for a reason and we needed all 51 to even it up. Proud of the group. Resilient and found a way.”
Buchan summed up, “We got better as a group last night, we can build off of this game and use many teaching points to make us improve going into the second half of the season.”