Just when you thought Notre Dame goalie Bo Buckley couldn't make a better save than his last one, he did. He made pad saves, blocker saves, and glove saves.
Heck, one time he even kicked his right leg out on a shot through traffic that he had no business stopping. And he stopped it with the toe of his right skate, kicking the puck into the corner, negating yet another University School scoring threat.
By virtue of the 44 save game by the talented junior, the third-ranked Tritons knocked off the top-rated USM Wildcats 2-1 in extra period play on a chilly Friday night at the Cornerstone Community Center.
The WiPH Game of the Week lived up to its billing as both teams flew up and down the ice, making forays to the net on an almost constant basis.
The difference was Buckley, as the guests outshot the home team by a 45-18 margin.
The contest didn't start well for Buckley and Notre Dame, as the Wildcats scored on their fourth shot, less than four minutes into the game.
Speedy senior Robby Newton flew down the left side of the ice and launched a shot from the top of the left circle that squirted past Buckley for an early 1-0 lead for the visitors. T.J. Fenton and Blake Carey had helpers on the play.
Twenty seconds later, Buckley slid to his right to turn aside a back-door effort by USM to keep the score at 1-0.
The home team knotted the score at one with just over six minutes left on a nice pass from below the goal line by Sawyer Scholl to Riley Onell, which the junior forward stuck in the net past USM goalie Patrick Kelly.
That's how the period ended, with Buckley stopping 15 shots and Kelly making six saves.
University School owned the second period, although they had nothing to show for it on the scoreboard. NDA did not get their first shot until the nine minute mark of the period and lost the shot battle 17-4. But the score was still 1-1 after 34 minutes of play.
Play got a little chippy in the middle of the third, as a friendly little scrum in front of Buckley got a little more serious, with a half-dozen players exchanging 'pleasantries' after the whistle. The refs took charge, and with matching minors in place, play moved on.
Before you knew it, the clock was down to 1:19 and Notre Dame took a time out. With less than three seconds left, a USM forward fired a shot at net, but Buckley made a blocker save (of course he did) to send the game to an extra period.
Shots were 11-6 in favor of USM in the period.
It didn't take long for the home team to put their mark on this game. Sixty-six seconds into the stanza, Reid Milton ripped a shot from the top of the left circle that somehow made it past Kelly to give the Tritons a 2-1 win.
Buckley finished with 44 saves, while Kelly also played well, stopping 16 of 18 in the contest.