After being stunned with a quick three-goal outburst by the Neenah/Hortonville/Menasha Rockets in the first four minutes of play in the middle period, Notre Dame coach Cory McCracken quickly signaled for a time-out.
What was once a tie game was now a 4-1 deficit for the Tritons with 13:32 left to play in the second. After discussing the revised game plan for a moment, the Tritons went out to do what they needed to do.
Boy, did they ever.
Notre Dame got two quick goals in a span of 82 seconds, and added another with less than a minute left and would skate off for the second break tied at four apiece.
That momentum carried over to the final period as NDA scored two more times on its way to a 6-4 victory over N/H/M Friday night in the Sectional 5 final on Rink 1 at the Cornerstone Community Center.
The first score came with just under three minutes left in the first. Brendan Poshak had the puck near the left dot and sent a pass across the slot to Jacob Peterman and the senior put that gift neatly in the net for a 1-0 NDA lead. Sawyer Scholl earned his first of three assists on the evening.
Just over a minute later, Ethan Long got the equalizer for the Rockets when his shot from the bottom of the right circle flew through traffic past NDA goalie Bo Buckley. Owen Engel and Dillon Fox had helpers on the play.
The period ended with Buckley stopping seven shots, while his opposing number, Preston Long, made 13 saves on the other end.
Then came the 'blink-and-you-will-miss-something-good' second period.
It started innocently enough when freshman Drew Sutton banged home a rebound for the Rockets at the 1:25 mark to give his team a 2-1 lead. Alec Elkin and brother Luke Elkin each had assists on the play.
Just over a minute later, after battling behind the net, Cody Dias sent a pass out front to a charging Fox who increased the lead to 3-1.
After a shot attempt by NDA, Alec Elkin brought the puck up the right side and upon seeing Sutton steaming down the middle, fired a pass across and it was soon 4-1, Rockets. Thomas Priest also had an assist on the play.
Then came the NDA timeout, and after that, the game did a 180.
Three minutes later, Brendan Poshak scored on a rebound to cut the lead to 4-2. Bryce Poshak and Scholl earned helpers on the scoring play.
Just a moment later, Eli Canadeo sent a shot from the right dot area that hit either Long's blocker or pad and trickled into the net in slow motion. Jacob Peterman had an assist on the goal that cut the lead to 4-3.
Buckley even got into the action, sentenced with a roughing infraction in the middle of the period. No harm would come of it, though.
It looked like the teams would skate off to a 4-3 score, but Jacob Conrad had a different idea. With 43 seconds left, the defenseman snuck down the middle and beat the N/H/M goalie to deadlock the score. Mike Gregoire and Sam Peterman were credited with assists as the clock wound down on the period.
Buckley had 13 saves in the period and Long stopped seven shots for the Rockets.
As the third period began, it didn't take long for NDA to take the lead.
After a Long save, the puck bounced free but Jon Fry shoved it back into the net to give NDA a 5-4 lead just over four minutes into the period. Riley Onell had an assist on the go-ahead goal.
The Rockets had a chance to tie while on a power play midway through the period, but Buckley and the PK unit frustrated the Rockets, keeping the differential at one.
Moments later, the Tritons bumped that lead up to two goals.
Bryce Poshak had the puck at the bottom of the right circle and fired a shot that surprised Long, snicking off the right post and in before the goalie could seal off the pipe. Brendan Poshak and Scholl helped out on the goal to give the Tritons a 6-4 lead with just over five minutes to play in the third.
The Rockets had another man advantage with just under four minutes left but could not convert. N/H/M would go 0-for-3 on the power play in the game.
Long came out for an extra attacker just after the power play ended, but the horn soon sounded on a 6-4 Triton victory and mass chaos on the NDA end of the rink.
Each goalie was given ten saves in the period. Buckley and Long would finish with 30 each for a game total.