Sandwich and Norwell were mere moments away from having to settle their differences – and a trip to TD Garden for the Division 4 state final – with a shootout.
But Sandwich needed only one last clean attempt at the net, and Jack Connolly delivered it. The sophomore took an outlet pass in the defensive zone in the 3-on-3 second overtime, broke free up ice behind the Clippers defense and flipped the puck into the top right corner with 27 seconds to go, giving the #4 Blue Knights a 3-2 victory at Gallo Ice Arena.
The win sends Sandwich to Causeway Street for the first time since 2008, when they won the Division 2 title, while denying #1 Norwell its first shot at a state championship.
While Connolly got the winner with his second goal of the game, junior goalie Mitchell Norkevicius deserves as much credit for keeping the Knights afloat. He made nine of his 32 saves in the two overtime periods, including one on a point-blank attempt just before Connolly’s goal. Junior Colin McIver not only cleared the rebound sent a pass to Connolly streaking out of the zone and off to the races.
Connolly’s first goal was a little less artistic, a deflection off his skate of a shot from McIver that gave Sandwich a 1-0 lead after one period.
Norwell tied it in the second when Joe Daly buried a rebound, and the Clippers grabbed a 2-1 lead early in the third on Kevin Leary’s power play goal.
But McIver got involved again, firing one home from the right point less than three minutes later to tie it at 2. Both teams had multiple chances throughout the two overtime periods before Connolly finally cashed in.
Freshman Quinn Devin made 23 saves for Norwell.
** Featured image courtesy of @BEACHSKATES