NEW HAVEN >> Peter Mayer scored two goals within 30 seconds of each other in the third period to send E.O. Smith/Tolland to the Division III state championship game with a 3-1 victory over top-seeded Masuk in the semifinals at Ingalls Rink Tuesday.
The fourth-seeded Bucks will play either Newtown or Tri-Town in the state championship game Saturday at 10 a.m. at Ingalls Rink. This will be the Bucks’ first appearance in the state championship game.
Despite being outshot 33-24 for the game, E.O. Smith led 1-0 after two periods. Mayer made it 2-0 just under four minutes into the third to make it 2-0. Then, just 30 seconds later, he took a breakaway pass from Brancati and scored to put Smith/Tolland ahead 3-0 with 10 minutes remaining.
Brancati assisted on both of Mayer’s goals.
Masuk, however, rallied back on a pair of power-play goals by Dan Zakrzewski and Brian Denham to make it 3-2 with 4:58 left.
And when E.O. Smith/Tolland’s Nick Mayer was sent off for interference with 1:21 left, Masuk pulled goalie Conner Mueller (21 saves) to give itself a 6-on-4 power play.
But goaltender Matt Schoen (31 saves) made three saves in the final minute and the Bucks hung on.
E.O. SMITH / TOLLAND 0 1 2 — 3
MASUK 0 0 2 — 2
Goals: Second Period — Smith/Tolland: Dillon Perras (Dylan Coughlin), 9:44; Third Period: Smith/Tolland: Peter Mayer (Ross Brancati), 3:51; Smith/Tolland: Peter Mayer (Ross Brancati), 4:11; Masuk: Dan Zakrzewski, pp, 7:54; Masuk: Brian Denham (Dave Reid), pp, 10:02.
Shots: Masuk 33, E.O. Smith/Tolland 24
Saves: Masuk: Conner Mueller 21; Smith/Tolland: Matt Schoen 31
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