Jersey Shore wins NA3EHL crown in double OT
March 30, 2015
By Nathan Fournier, Sun Journal
Jersey Shore 3 vs. New Hampshire 2 (2OT) - For the fourth time this season, the New Hampshire Fighting Spirit and Jersey Shore Wildcats played a one-goal game.
And for the fourth time, Jersey Shore found a way to win under pressure.
The Wildcats captured the North American 3 Eastern Hockey League Championship with a 3-2 victory in Game 3 at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee on Sunday when Adam Skutchan scored 2:19 into the second overtime.
Alexandre Racicot had the game-winning assist.
"Last night was last night, like they say, today is a new day," Jersey Shore coach Eric Brule said. "All year we have been facing adversity, and we are used to that. We came here with a positive energy and it was a classic game between Jersey Shore and the Fighting Spirit again. It was a one-goal game, and we were anticipating that."
Fighting Spirit coach Rod Simmons was pleased with his team's effort, despite the loss.
"When we got to the four-on-four and three-on-three (overtimes), we weren't sure if we were going to match up real well," Simmons said. "They've got skilled guys and they lived off the offense all year. It was going to be key to keep things simple and get pucks to the net.
"I thought 14 skaters and two goaltenders, to be in the position that we were in, to play on Sunday, first and foremost, and fact to take the game to them for a good portion of it — go to two overtimes ... I don't know what we could have asked from our guys with that short bench."
In the NA3EHL, the first overtime is played four-on-four, while the second overtime goes to three-on-three play.
Alex Peddle once again got the Fighting Spirit going on the penalty kill. Frederic Pugin dumped the puck down the ice and it deflected off a Jersey Shore player, slowing the puck down for Peddle. Peddle raced into the offensive zone all alone and snapped the puck by Jersey Shore keeper Marc Schlaeger at the 9:36 mark.
Pugin was credited with an assist on the play.
Peddle continued to do work when his team was down a man. On the third penalty kill of the third period, his shot block shot with a minute left in the period killed the remaining time as the puck traveled down the ice.
The Fighting Spirit limited shots on goalie Claes Endre when the team was down a man.
"I will be honest with you, not just Peddle, but I saw some guys block shots that I haven't seen block all year," Simmons said. "No offense to our team, we weren't the best shot-blockers in the league."
The game remained 1-0 through two periods. The Wildcats got some offensive pressure late in the middle period, but Endre made a big save with 50 seconds remaining in the stanza.
Endre made 33 saves on the night. Schlaeger stopped 29 for the Wildcats.
"I thought we were heading out in the right direction, even if we were down by a goal," Brule said. "There was nothing to change on our side. Eventually we figured (the puck) would go in and we (were) sticking with our game plan. Sometimes patience will reward you, that's the approach we had."
The 'Cats' momentum carried into the third period. Kevin Gruber was able to jam the puck past Endre 1:49 into the final frame to tie the contest. Skutchan and Alexander Tan had the assists on the goal.
After Jersey Shore killed off a penalty, Ilya Spektor came out of the box and skated to the offensive zone to join the play. He set up in front of the net and he put home a rebound at the 6:30 mark of the third period to give the Wildcats a 2-1 lead.
The Fighting Spirit fought back to tie the contest on the power play three minutes later when Brett Bittner deflected the puck by Schlaeger, with Peddle and Mike Callaghan setting the goal up.
It was the lone goal on the man advantage on four chances for the Fighting Spirit, while Jersey Shore went scoreless on its six chances.