BOSTON (December 29, 2016) – A pair of extra attacker goals in the final 2:09 allowed the Franklin Pierce University men's ice hockey team to forge a 2-2 tie from the embers of all-but-certain defeat on Thursday afternoon, erasing a late 2-0 Salve Regina lead at Barry Ice Rink. Sophomore defenseman Blaise Kilroy (Spring City, Pa.) and senior forward Connor Mauro (Shrewsbury, Mass.) had the goals as the Ravens rallied on the first day of the 52nd Annual Codfish Bowl Tournament, hosted by Massachusetts Boston. In the end though, Salve Regina advanced to Friday's championship game, via a 1-0 win in a three-round shootout.
With the tie, Franklin Pierce stands at 6-7-1, while Salve Regina moves to 7-2-2. Franklin Pierce will face Connecticut College at 1 p.m. on Friday in the Codfish Bowl's consolation game, while Salve Regina will take on host UMass Boston for the title at 4 p.m. UMass Boston defeated Connecticut College 9-1 in Thursday's first semifinal.
Scoring was hard to come by early on in Thursday's second semifinal, with the first period and most of the second ticking by the boards without an opening salvo. Salve Regina -- which rang up a 41-29 advantage in shots on goal in the game -- finally struck first at the 14:10 mark of the second frame. Junior forward Evan Schmidbauer put away his third goal of the season, with senior defenseman Nick Owen and senior forward Evan Schultz providing the assists.
The Seahawks would double the lead to 2-0 at the 3:41 mark of the second period. It was the fourth goal of the season for sophomore forward Cameron Russo, who picked up assists from junior forward Adam August and senior forward Tommy Evangelista.
After the midpoint of the third period, Franklin Pierce would see three consecutive power plays -- one abbreviated -- go by the boards without converting, which left the Ravens still facing a daunting, 2-0 deficit with 2:30 to play. With senior goaltender Tom McGuckin (Clayton, N.J.) on the bench for an extra attacker, the offense suddenly sprang to life. Kilroy tallied his second goal of the season with just 2:09 to play, coming off assists from freshman forward James Morrissey (West Haven, Conn.) and sophomore forward Nicholas Fotiu (Falmouth, Mass.), as the Ravens cut the gap to 2-1.
McGuckin returned to the bench for the extra attacker again with 62 seconds to play in search of the tying goal, which the Ravens would find at the 19:35 mark, with just 25 seconds to play. It was the first of his senior season for Mauro, who was set up by helpers from Fotiu and sophomore forward Nate Indelicato(Pembroke, Mass.).
Neither team would strike in overtime, which meant the game ended in a 2-2 tie for all official purposes. With the tournament needing one team to advance to Friday's title game, the Ravens and Seahawks engaged in a college hockey rarity, the shootout. Both goaltenders made saves in the first round of the best-of-three, and then sophomore defenseman Jack Williams (Suffield, Conn.) put his second-round shot wide. Schultz then beat McGuckin in the second round for what would stand as the only goal of the shootout. Salve Regina sophomore goaltender Blake Wojtala followed with a save against freshman forward Matthew Toombs (Pleasanton, Calif.) to put the Seahawks through to the title game.
McGuckin (6-7-1) finished the day with 39 saves against 41 shots in the crease in the tie for Franklin Pierce. Wojtala (7-2-2) stopped 27 of the 29 shots on his goal at the other end for Salve Regina.