By Joshua Boyd / USPHLNCDC.com
The P.A.L. Jr. Islanders’ D.J. Walsh scored the game-winning goal at 6:52 of overtime to keep his team’s Dineen Cup dreams alive and push on to the winner-take-all Game 3 on Sunday. Faceoff against the South Shore Kings is at 4 p.m. at Northwell Health Ice Center in East Meadow, N.Y.
“We knew this is not going to be an easy task. This has been us all year – it’s been ups and downs, the emotions. I told the guys before the series, it’s not going to be easy. It’s going to be a lot of highs and a lot of lows, and we have to stay with it no matter what and stay together,” said Jr. Islanders Head Coach Mike Marcou. “With the resilience of this group, we’re never out of it.”
The Jr. Islanders and South Shore Kings were locked in a tight, classic defensive battle for the first 50-plus minutes of hockey, with the Kings throwing 26 shots at the Jr. Islanders’ Cam Smith. The Kings’ Jacob Torgner stopped 22 through the first two periods.
Just when it began to seem like the teams might go scoreless through 60, the Kings’ Joseph Kramer broke the two-way deadlock with a goal at 13:55 of the third. Kramer jumped over a defender’s stick, keeping the puck and then struck paydirt.
The Kings did their best to keep the Jr. Islanders off the board, but the Jr. Isles’ point work was the difference, with Dino Mannetta blasting a shot through traffic to even the game.
After a big blocker save by the Jr. Islanders’ Smith, D.J. Walsh made a gorgeous move under a defenseman’s stick to get the puck back right in front of the Kings net and tap it home.
That was it – Saturday will give way to Sunday and both teams have the same chance to lift the Dineen Cup. It’s the one-game winner-take-all situation.