CHARLESTOWN, Mass. – The Suffolk men's hockey team used six unanswered goals to overcome an early three-goal deficit to take down Johnson & Wales, 6-3, in the Rams' regular season finale Saturday night at Emmons Horrigan O'Neil Memorial Rink.
SCORE: Suffolk 6, Johnson & Wales 3
RECORDS: Suffolk (9-12-3, 6-10-2 CCC) | Johnson & Wales (5-19-1, 3-14-1 CCC)
HOW IT HAPPENED
After a scoreless first frame, Suffolk found itself in a three-goal hole just nine minutes into the second stanza. Johnson & Wales paired two goals in a 1:04 span after Ryan Sete scored on a power play and Nicholas Pezza followed suit a just over a minute later. At the 8:28 minute mark, Connor Bechtel netted the Wildcats extra skater strike of the night to gain the 3-0 advantage for the visitors.
Joseph Mortillaro jump started Suffolk's comeback as he took advantage of a power play at the 13:50 minute mark. Brian Brooks on the other hand scored on a Rams' penalty kill 1:47 after Mortillaro put the blue-and-gold on the scoreboard to trim the margin to one. Mortillaro's second marker of the night leveled the playing field at 3-all with 2:55 minutes left in the second period. The 3-3 score stood as the teams headed into the second intermission.
Brooks kept the Rams rally going in the final frame with the sophomore putting away the what would be the game-winner nearly eight minutes into the third period. Bryan Etter got in on Suffolk's scoring show at the 11:51 minute mark to give the hosts a two-goal cushion.
With two Rams in the penalty box, the Wildcats made a last-minute push, pulling Mike Rockwell from between the pipes. With an empty-net on a 5-on-3, Shayne Bailey sent the puck barreling down the ice from Suffolk's zone and found the back of the netting. The senior's empty net, short-handed goal with 1:57 remaining in regulation to seal up the 6-3 victory for the Rams.
KEEPING UP WITH THE KEEPERS
- Michael Levine improved to 9-9-3 on the season with a 33-save performance.
- Chris Olsson made his Suffolk debut and made six saves over the final 1:47 of regulation.
- Rockwell turned aside 33 shots in the setback.
- Brooks and Mortillaro provided two goals apiece.
- Etter and Bailey each scored one goal.
- J.B. Sweeney, Connor Henry, Mark Barton, Nick Mosher and Mikhail Bryan all dished out one assist.
- Johnson & Wales out shot Suffolk, 42-39.
- The Wildcats won the battle inside the faceoff circle, 41-32.
- Suffolk defeated Johnson & Wales for the fourth-time in the all-time series dating back to 1999-00 and first time since Nov. 14, 2014, a 2-1 overtime victory over the Wildcats.
- Baily recorded his first goal of the season and first collegiate short-handed strike.
- Mortillaro matched a career-best with two goals.
- Etter notched his first collegiate goal.
- Sweeney picked up his first points of the season with one handout.
- Brooks scored a short-handed goal for the first time in his collegiate career.
- Brooks put away a career-high two goals.
- Prior to puck drop, Suffolk honored the playing careers of its four graduating seniors; Bailey, Jack Jenkins, Sam Kent and Sweeney.
- The Rams' long-time Athletic Trainer, who will retire following the 2017-18 athletic seasons, dropped a ceremonial puck to recognize his contributions to the Suffolk men's hockey program over his tenure with the blue-and-gold.
With a spot sealed in the conference's postseason, Suffolk awaits the seeding of the CCC Tournament.