By Joshua Boyd / USPHLNCDC.com
The P.A.L. Jr. Islanders have advanced to the 2023 NCDC Dineen Cup Championship series for the first time in their six years in the league, and will also be the host team at the Northwell Health Ice Center.
The Jr. Islanders won a pair of one-goal games against the first-year Mercer Chiefs, who were the first new team in the NCDC to make it to the league semifinal round (not counting the 2017-18 inaugural season when all the teams were new).
On Friday, the P.A.L. Jr. Islanders won by a 2-1 score. Jr. Islanders Luca Leighton started the scoring, but Mercer’s Jacob Grace tied it up. That tie score forced overtime, where Heikki Virtanen scored 1:34 into the extra session.
Saturday, with their backs against the wall, Mercer countered P.A.L. blow-by-blow, as a second period Carter Hanrahan goal 31 seconds in was answered by Frank Jirak. In the third, Heikki Virtanen’s goal for theJr. Islanders was answered by Mercer’s Nicholas Babbie. Pushed to overtime, the Jr. Islanders’ active scoring leader posted the OT goal at 16:30.