Eastern Hockey League – EHLP Championship Game: Jr. Rangers Grab Crown With Exciting 4-3 OT Win Over NH Avalanche

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The Boston Jr. Rangers are the 2022 EHLP champions after an exciting 4-3 OT win over the New Hampshire Avalanche. (Photo by Dan Hickling)

The 2022 EHLP Championship game needed more than 60 minutes to determine a winner. Mike Boschetto made sure it wouldn’t require another 20 as he buried the overtime winner 1:10 into the extra session securing the Boston Jr. Rangers a 4-3 win over the New Hampshire Avalanche and their third EHLP title.

With the way this game started, it seemed like OT wasn’t going to be a thought. The Rangers and Avalanche combined for five goals in what was a wild opening period. The Rangers opened the scoring on a point shot from Brodie Ingersoll, his heavy shot clattered off the pipe and past the glove of Avs’ goaltender Jared Packman. The lead was extremely short lived for Boston as just six, yes six, seconds later the Avs would tie it as the puck hit off Connor McCowell driving to the net.

Jr. Rangers forward Anthony Viola looks to keep the puck away from a pair of Avalanche defenders in second period of EHLP championship game. (Photo by Dan Hickling)

With the Rangers on the penalty kill about midway through the first forward Anthony Viola swiped the puck at the line and charged in on a break. Hauled down in the process, Viola was awarded a penalty shot, and a chance to restore his team’s lead. He’d make no mistake on the one-on-one, sniping a shot to the glove side of Packman. It was Viola’s third goal of the Frozen Finals which gave him 3-6-9 over the four games played, he was awarded MVP of the tournament for his efforts.  Unfazed by Viola’s successful penalty shot the Avs would come back to score as their power play continued. Dante Massaro made a nice pass out from the corner that landed right onto Brendan Schmidt’s tape and the defenseman made no mistake with his shot.

NH Avalanche forward Ryder Kunin tries to corral a bouncing puck in the offensive zone. (Photo by Dan Hickling)

Tied at 2-2 it appeared as if things would calm down in the goal scoring department. That would be proven wrong as there was only 2:35 of scoreless action from Schmidt’s power play goal up until the next tally which was scored by Rangers’ captain Duncan Fleming. Fleming was able to rip a shot that caught some post before going in past Packman’s glove. For the third time in the opening period, the Rangers would lead and this time they’d keep it heading into the break.

The second period was scoreless, largely thanks to the two goaltenders. Both Packman and his Ranger counterpart Mitch Taylor were tested regularly with Packman stopping all 11 second period shots and Taylor all 10. The Rangers cranked the heat in the third as they looked for separation, but Packman kept the score close. It wasn’t until a late power play chance where the Avs were able to set up and create commotion.

On that power play chance, it was a rebound that was loose and Layne Brubaker-Egner was the first to find it as he poked it into an empty goal. Tied up 3-3 the Rangers pushed furiously in the final minute with a flurry around the Avalanche crease. Nothing gave way and the two teams would head into sudden death overtime.

It ended quickly into the extra session. A scramble in Packman’s crease saw him unable to tie up the puck. It squirted loose towards the near post to the Rangers’ Boschetto and just like that the game and season was over. Boschetto flipped the puck in and was mobbed by his teammates off the bench.

** Story by Tyler Aragao

** Featured Image courtesy of Dan Hickling

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