Freshman forward Charlie Tuggey backhanded a loose puck over University School goaltender Kyle Flatow 57 seconds into overtime to give the Gilmour Academy Lancers the 2018 Cleveland Cup championship at OBM Arena in Strongsville Saturday night.
For the Lancers, it put the finishing touches on a resurgent Great Lakes Hockey League season, after winning just seven games in all over the last two seasons.
All-GLHL goaltender Duncan Nichols-Delay stopped 36 of 38 shots while Sebastian Herlong and Kessel Richards also scored for Gilmour.
It was an opportunity for a team other than Saint Ignatius to get their names on the Cleveland Cup for the first time. The Wildcats won the league's post-season championship tournament each of the first four years.
The two teams slogged through a feeling out process for an uneventful first six minutes after the opening faceoff, but then started to trade chances.
Gilmour's Dominic Casmatta made a nice toe-drag move around a US defender in the right circle, but didn’t get much on his backhand shot attempt.
Midway through the period, US started to carry the play. Junior defenseman George Brinn created several opportunities from the point and off the rush, but All-League goaltender Duncan Nichols-Delay was equal to the task each time and GA was able to counter.
At 10:40, Evan Enrich circled the US net and threw it back to Sebastian Herlong at the point and his wrist shot eluded Flatow to the short side. That gave the Lancers a spark and they generated a handful of quality opportunities in the following minutes, including a point-blank chance by freshman forward Charlie Tuggey that Flatow denied at the left post.
In the first minute of the second period, Brinn pinched in from the blue line to pick up a loose puck in the slot and almost had a Grade-A opportunity but was unable to corral a bouncing puck between the circles.
Gilmour received the first power play opportunity of the game at 3:11 and cashed in immediately. The puck went back to the point and Eamonn Mulkern fired a shot from the point that was tipped in by Kessel Richards.
An interference call against Trevor Stokes gave the Preppers their first power play. US moved the puck crisply with the man advantage, but only had one clean shot on net. An Adam Alt slap shot was denied by Nichols-Delay and the puck lay in the crease momentarily, but US was unable to bang it home. Seconds later, Brinn had his attempt from the slot deflected wide.
with just under six minutes remaining, Jack Aleva swept in, picked up a loose puck, and skated in alone on Flatow, who calmly denied him with his right pad. The Preppers netminder made 26 saves in the game.
In the final minute of the period, GA's leading scorer John Treppo had time and space to rip a wrist shot from the high slot and it was blocked by Brinn, shaking him up, but he returned for the third period an appeared no worse for wear.
A bad turnover by the Preppers at their own blue line resulted in a quality opportunity for Gilmour's Matt Mangel about three minutes into the third period, but Flatow made the stop.
Another interference call gave the Preppers another man-advantage opportunity and they buzzed the Lancers net. Tyler Alt did a good job creating a havoc in front of Nichols-Delay, but the Gilmour netminder was unfazed, making a couple sharp glove saves.
With 6:46 left, US forward Trip Gorman had the puck almost get away from him as he crossed the Gilmour blue line. The puck was out in front of him, and it looked like he might dump it in the corner, but he put it on net and it eluded Nichols-Delay, who lunged back and covered the puck with his glove, but it was ruled over the line.
The Preppers continued to put the pressure on and began aggressively crashing the Gilmour net.
Andre Berglund created a pair of quality chances with his skating - one for himself and another for Gorman, who put one off Nichols-Delay's mask from in close to his right.
With 1:56 left, Ethan Whetstone took the puck to the net and Beau O'Sickey banged in a rebound to tie the game.
The league presented the All-League team during the first intermission, including Player of the Year and Holy Name bench boss Tim Sullivan as Coach of the Year.
|FORWARD||Ethan Whetstone||senior||University School|
|FORWARD||Jonathan Gabriel||senior||Walsh Jesuit|
|FORWARD||Tanyan Bajzer||freshman||St. Edward|
|DEFENSE||George Brinn||junior||University School|
|DEFENSE||Tyler Fowles||freshman||St. Edward|
|GOALTENDER||Duncan Nichols-Delay||junior||Gilmour Academy|
|COACH OF THE YEAR||Tim Sullivan||15th season||Holy Name|
|SPORTSMANSHIP AWARD||Matt Mangel||senior||Gilmour Academy|
|PLAYER OF THE YEAR||Jonathan Gabriel||senior||Walsh Jesuit|