Brunswick rallied from a 2-0 deficit with two goals in the third period — the game-tying tally with 2:11 to go — and won it on the first shift of overtime to stun Nobles, 3-2, in the quarterfinal round of the Elite 8 in Dedham, Mass., on Wednesday evening.
Nobles netted one in the first on a 2-on-1 rush and another in the second on a power-play wrister from 10 feet inside the blue line to take a 2-0 lead.
The visitors, though, stayed the course and kept pushing — having outshot the home team by a 29-16 margin after two periods and coming up empty (one crossbar, a few golden opportunities, and a quick whistle with the puck loose in the crease included).
’Wick drew its first power play just 90 seconds into the third and capitalized after a half-board-to-below-the-goal-line-and-back exchange between junior Drew DellaSalla and senior James Shannon — and subsequent pass to Sean Gibbons in the bumper position on the 1-3-1. The junior right-winger one timed it home to bring the Bruins within one and break the seal of the Bulldogs’ stalwart goaltender.
The ice remained tilted toward ’Wick’s offensive end for the rest of the final 18 minutes, and the Bruins finally tied it on a great individual effort by junior d-man Cooper Cleaves — again on the power play (3/4 on the night) and with just 2:11 to play.
On the entry, Cleaves attempted to dump the puck and get in on the forecheck but a fortunate bounce off the stanchion put it right back on his stick at the top of the right face-off dot — where he fired one off the post to the far side and in for the equalizer.
Another ’Wick man advantage carried over to the extra session, when Cleaves moved it to DellaSalla on the breakout and the Harvard-bound left winger beat the defenseman to the inside as he cut to the net with speed — quickly feeding Gibbons on the backdoor for the empty-net put-away.
Only 34 seconds had expired before the benches emptied — one in celebration and one in understandable dejection.
Shots ended at 47-19 in favor of Brunswick.
Senior goaltender Brendan Holahan earned the “W” in between the pipes, coming up huge especially when the score favored the Bulldogs in the first and they came hard with a flurry of chances to increase the lead.
With the victory, the Bruins advance to the NEPSAC Frozen Four for the first time in school history and will face Cushing in Ashburnham, Mass., on Saturday afternoon.