Hartford, CT- In a matchup between the #6 and #8 seeds in the small school tournament they both had to get through the top teams to get here. Neither team was playing their best hockey heading into the playoffs with Gunnery at 3-6-3 heading into the playoffs and Pomfret 3-6-0. However, they both kicked in into gear and went on the road twice to defeat the top teams in their bracket. Interestingly enough both teams had played just two weeks prior at Trinity where Pomfret won 5-1.
The first period saw a fast pace, up and down and wasn’t much feeling out between the two teams. Six minutes in, sophomore Phillipe Lamarre fired a shot through traffic and into the Gunnery net for the 1-0 lead. They would strike again soon after this time from Carter Rugg who took a few steps in from the blue line and ripped one home through traffic to extend the lead. Gunnery responded immediately after when Alex Jefferies drove the net, caught a rebound off a Zander Lizotte shot, in his skate which he kicked out to the blade and roofed it over the goalie’s shoulder. The game was even back and forth until 18 second remaining in the period when Ryan Kosinski fired a quick release snap shot high to regain the two-goal lead.
With the Highlanders down 3-1 going into the second period it was star forward Alex Jefferies who answered the call. He would lead Gunnery to three unanswered goals to take the lead. The first goal came off a power play when Alex Jefferies took the puck from the blue line and passed it to Zander Lizotte at the faceoff dot who rifled it by Pomfret netminder to cut the deficit to 1.Midway through the period Lizotte would strike again this time off the rush on quick release snap shot that beat the goalie clean to tie it up. With the game tied at 2:20 remaining Gunnery executed a beautiful tic-tac-toe 3v2 play that resulted in a goal by Jefferies who cut hard to the net and assists from Michael Casey and David Andreychuk. At the end of the period there was quite a scrum around the net with punches thrown and major penalties dished out but set the tone for the third period.
Pomfret jumped out on the power play to start the third period and had a few chances but couldn’t finish. They had their best chance on a shot off the post with 13:39 in the game but the score remained 4-3 in Gunnery favor. The play was up and down with several odd man rushes for each team. Gunnery had a grade A chance when Daniel Sambuco went in all alone on a breakaway and got stuffed on a nice save. Gunnery would extend their lead at the 4:21 mark when Alex Jefferies and Zander Lizotte connected on a beautiful give and go play which resulted in a Lizotte goal to seal the game. Gunnery would take an unsportsmanlike penalty after the goal celebrating in front of the Pomfret bench but killed the penalty and composed themselves the rest of the game, made the right decisions and closed it out for the 5-3 victory.
Three Stars of the Game:
1st Star: Zander Lizotte, Gunnery
2nd Star: Alex Jefferies, Gunnery
3rd Star: Kyle Tomaso, Pomfret
Exciting game, both teams should be proud of how they played but Gunnery was just the deeper team and had a nice comeback in the second period to win.
Alex Jefferies was the best player on the ice; he was making smart, skilled plays in all three zones and was the leader for Gunnery. Pomfret had several players who stepped up in this game but Tomaso was strong, tough to play against and set the tone for their team.
Gunnery’s Eric Charpentier, a 6’3” defenseman out of Maryland, had a big game. He was excellent moving the puck, he made good decisions and showed touch on his passes and played with some bite around the net. He’s raw but trending up and shows promising upside.
Photo Credit: Dan Hickling/Hickling Images