Hockey Battles to 3-3 Draw with Salve Regina in ECAC Northeast Opener

BOSTON – In a clash of two ECAC Northeast squads, the Suffolk hockey team led 3-2, but a Salve Regina score in the final period stalemated the Rams into overtime for the second time in as many games, which eventually ended in a 3-3 tie at Emmons Horrigan O'Neil Memorial Rink Wednesday night. 

The Rams (1-0-1, 0-0-1 ECAC Northeast) relied on its youth offensively. Freshman Tommy Bishop used his first collegiate goal to put Suffolk on the board, before dishing out an assist on sophomore Shayne Bailey's first goal as a Ram. Rookie Mikhail Bryan registered his first collegiate point on an assist, while classmate Justin Holliday added one handout to his growing stat line. Junior Stanton Turner rounded out Suffolk's goal scorers with senior Justin Selep and junior Simon Leahy handing out an assist each. 

In net, senior Brandon Smolarek was nearly flawless through two full periods and ended the game with 46 saves, including seven in the extra session. The 46 stops are the most by a Suffolk goalie since junior Kevin Venturoso turned away 52 attempts at Tufts January 8, 2014. 

After a quick, scoreless first period that only saw a single penalty and multiple chances on either end of the ice, Salve Regina (0-2-1, 0-0-1 ECAC Northeast) took advantage of the Rams going in and out of the box in the second stanza. With momentum and an extra skater on their side the Seahawks fired on all cylinders outshooting the hosts, 19-5, and were the first to find the back of the netting. On the power play, James Malone snuck in a goal during a scramble in front of Smolarek at 17:25. 

As the second was winding down, the Rams offense attacked. Selep led the charge through the neutral zone, feeding it to Bishop. The freshman wasted no time, rocketing one from just inside the left circle and sneaking it past Alexander Devine with only 1:06 remaining to put the 189 fans on their feet before the second break. 

Tied at 1-1, roles reversed out of the intermission and it was Suffolk that burst out. After racing up the ice, Bailey wristed a shot from near the point that trickled past the goal line to put the Rams ahead, 2-1, just under five minutes into the third. 

With time continuing to tick off in the third, Salve Regina peppered Smolarek and the Rams with shots and Suffolk's defense refused to relent. If the puck made it past Suffolk's defensive blocks Smolarek's gloves and pads were there to stop them, until the clock struck 12:19. Parker Bowen's attempt found a way by Smolarek thanks to a set-up by Alex Pompeo to lock the game at 2-2. 

The Rams did not appear fazed, however, as Suffolk's second line did work to regain the lead. After collecting the puck on the powerplay from Bryan, Leahy shot a pass to Turner, who did the rest of the work in the offensive zone. Avoiding the defense that slide towards him, Turner tricked Devine into giving Suffolk the lead once again. 

But Salve battled back as Nick Owen skate was the difference as he rattled one in past Smolarek at the 16:36 mark, just 30 seconds into Suffolk's eighth penalty of the night. Both sides had chances down the stretch to close out the game in regulation, but an overtime period was needed in the match. 

Even with the Seahawks outshooting the Rams, 7-1, in the extra period, Smolarek sprawled out game-saving stops and five minutes quickly went by with both sides unscathed. 

The Rams will make their first venture out on the road this Saturday afternoon when they visit Endicott in ECAC Northeast action.