GREENWICH — Friday night’s hockey game between Brunswick School and Trinity-Pawling School was about responses.
Every time one team scored, the other would respond quickly with the tying goal in this late-season matchup.
Fortunately, for the Bruins, they had the final response.
Fittingly, a senior enabled Brunswick to make the final statement on its Senior Night.
Senior defenseman Jude Brower’s power-play goal 3:14 into the five-minute overtime, propelled Brunswick to a dramatic 4-3 Senior Night victory before a big crowd at Hartong Rink.
Sophomore forward Andon Cerbone assisted on the winning goal, which saw Brower convert a slap shot from the high slot on the left side.
“I saw Andon have the puck in the high slot and I was ready and open for the one-timer and he got it back to me and I shot it as hard as I could,” Brower said of his winning tally. “It was a special moment for me and very exciting. It was the best feeling ever.”
With the win, Brunswick ended its regular season with a 20-7-2 record and earned a berth into the NEPSIHA Division I Large School Tournament. The Bruins won the tournament two seasons ago.
They will most likely get one of the top seeds in the eight-team tournament and and may host a quarterfinal-round game on Wednesday at Brunswick’s Hartong Rink. Brunswick will find out who it will face when the seeds for the tournament are announced on Sunday.
“It’s huge, getting a home crowd in the tournament is a game-changer,” Brower said.
Freshman forward Michael Salandra registered two goals, while senior forward Jakub Tepley assisted on a pair of goals for the Bruins.
“It was such a fun game, the boys worked so hard for this win, it was great,” Brower said.
Brunswick seized a 1-0 lead at the 7:10 mark of the opening period. Sophomore forward Connor Welsh received the puck off a pass from Salandra and snapped a shot from the left face-off circle past Trinity-Pawling goalie Cam Carroll, making it 1-0.
The visitors tied the score at 1-1 when senior forward Taylor Ewing tallied from between the circles 8:13 into the first period.
The Bruins responded with Salandra tallying off an odd-man rush, putting the home team on top, 2-1, with 3:17 to go in the period. Teply set up Salandra’s tally.
Shortly after Brunswick killed Trinity’s power-play, the Pride evened the score at 2-2, on Ewing’s second goal of the night with 9:24 remaining in the second period.
Salanda gave Brunswick a 3-2 second-period lead, before Trinity knotted the score at 3-3 with a goal also in the second period. The home team had numerous chances to record the go-ahead goal in the third period, with Welsh, Cerbone, Teply, freshman forward James Shannon and Ben Presley each directing the puck toward Carroll. Yet the Trinity-Pawling netminder, who made 36 saves, kept the score tied to force overtime.
“Their goalie played incredible, hats off to him, he was a wall for them,” said Brunswick senior forward Henry Foster one of the squad’s captains. “We just kept grinding away, getting pucks on net.”
Junior goalie Alexander Rohlf made 17 saves for the Bruins, who honored Foster, Will Forrest, Shayan Farjam, Teply, Brower, Jack Griffin, Connor Sullivan and Harry Tavlarios — their seniors — prior to the game.
“Our seniors have set an example all year through hard work and honest effort,” Bruins coach Mike Kennedy said. “They come to the rink every day and set a good example to their younger teammates. They play hard-nosed, blue-collar type of hockey and that’s helped us get to where we are now.”
PLAYERS OF THE GAME
Salandra helped make it a happy Senior Night for Brunswick with his two clutch goals. Brower also made it a successful evening for his fellow seniors, notching the winner.
“That win feels good, we were playing good hockey in the third and it’s a nice confidence-booster heading into the playoffs. We had a good regular season, we had 20 wins. But it’s over now, and we have to focus on the playoffs, which is all that matters now.”
Said Kennedy: “I thought we controlled the game, but you look up at the scoreboard after 54 minutes of hockey and it’s a tie game. That’s how hockey works, you have to stick with it. TP is a good opponent, they always hang around and they are a tough out. We are feeling good going into the tournament, especially after an effort like tonight. We wanted to get the momentum going.”