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Westhill beats Tri-Town in double-overtime thriller to advance

Varsity vs Tri Town on 3/12/2015 6:30:00 PM
Posted Monday, March 16, 2015 by John Santagata
 BRIDGEPORT -- It took a lucky bounce but the postseason mission of the Westhill High Schoolboys ice hockey team took a giant step forward late Thursday night.

The Vikings outlasted Tri-Town, 3-2 in double overtime in the Division III state tournament quarterfinals at Wonderland of Ice.

Westhill (13-8-1) earned the game-winner with 8:58 left in the second overtime where both teams played 4-on-4 hockey.

Junior defenseman Gunner Eriksen took a shot from the right post that deflected off a Tri-Town defenseman, ricocheting past Tri-Town senior goalie Philip Nicolescu.

"I saw the puck. I saw my chance. The puck went off one of their sticks," Eriksen recounted. "We never give up. We all want to win for our eight seniors. We all want a state championship ring."

No. 3 Westhill will now face No. 2 Masuk in Tuesday's Division III semifinals at historic Ingalls rink in New Haven.

"The idea was to get to Yale's rink. And we did," Westhill coach John Santagata said. "We lost to Masuk early in the year. But we are a different team now."

Westhill forged the 2-2 tie on a power play goal by Matt Abt with 8:20 left in regulation.

The Vikings had to be persistent as Nicolescu registered 68 saves on a night.

"Their goalie was great. A deflection was probably the only way we were going to score on him," Santagata said. "This win is a bit of justice. We lost in triple overtime to NFI in last year's state tournament. That was a tough loss to swallow. But this team works and never tires. The difference in the second overtime playing 4 on 4 is the ice opens up. It usually opens up at the points. And Gunner was the right kid in the right spot at the right time."

Westhill sophomore goalie Christian Compolattaro registered 33 saves in net for the win.

Tri-Town took a 1-0 lead with 2:09 left in the first period when Ryan Sherba scored a power-play goal.

Westhill forged a 1-1 tie just 27 seconds into second period as Dan Rotkewicz scored off a Max Puk pass.

Tri-Town led 2-1 after two periods following a Ryan Gaidos tally with 9:22 left.

Westhill forged a 2-2 tie when Matt Abt scored on a power play with 8:20 left to play.

rich.depreta@scni.com

 

Westhill 3, Tri-Town 2 (2 OT)

TRI-TOWN 1 1 0 00--2

WESTHILL 0 1 1 0 1--3

Goals: T--Ryan Sherpa (PP), Ryan Gaidos. W--Dan Rotkewicz, Matt Abt (PP), Gunner Eriksen.

Assists: T--Gaidos, Sherba, Nick Tshonas. W--Max Puk, Gunner Eriksen, Szczepan Misiak.

Goalies: T--Philip Nicolescu 68. W--Christian Compolattaro 33.

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