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Suffolk hockey losses heartbreaker in OT

Photo by Christoper Frangolini

Photo by Christoper Frangolini

CHARLESTOWN – The Suffolk University hockey team’s season ended how it began: with extra hockey.

On opening night, an overtime win jump started a 13-9-2 (8-6-2 conference) regular season, clinching the fourth-seed in Eastern College Athletic Conference Northeast tournament.

But on Sunday night at Emmons Memorial Rink, it was a 4-3 overtime heartbreaker to Wentworth in the first-round of the ECAC tournament that ended their season.

“Disappointment,” was the first thing out of an exasperated Chris Glionna, the winningest coach in Rams history. “I thought we had a really good season.

Suffolk skaters forechecking Wentworth. Photo by Christopher Frangolini

Suffolk skaters forechecking Wentworth.
Photo by Christopher Frangolini

“We played a really good game. We had a couple of bounces and calls that didn’t go our way, but I still thought we could pull it out in overtime. We’ve won a bunch of overtime games this year so I was surprised we couldn’t pull it out.”

The Rams saw themselves in more than just a hockey game against Wentworth, it was a 15-round heavy weight title bout with each team throwing equally damaging punches, but failing to knock the opponent to the canvas. The arena had playoff hockey written all over it with physical play and after-whistle altercations. There were 18 infractions, totaling 36 penalty minutes.

Wentworth jumped ahead 2-0 after one period with goals by Adam Lane and Angus Johnston.

“One shift at a time, boys, just another 20 (minutes),” the Rams hockey team chanted on their way out of the locker room for the second period. The Rams had just been dominated and out-shot by Wentworth and they saw themselves in a two goal deficit.

They came out flying.

Mike Cherpak scored his fourth goal of the season for Suffolk. Photo by Christopher Frangolini

Mike Cherpak scored his fourth goal of the season for Suffolk. Photo by Christopher Frangolini

Freshman Justin Holliday got the Rams on the scoreboard early in the period and junior Justin Selep scored less than a minute later to tie the game, 2-2.

“These kids never stop and they work so hard,” Glionna said. We’ve been down 2-0 a bunch of times this year and we’ve always come back. That was the message after the first period. We just said, ‘let’s make it 2-2 after two (periods) and we can win the game.’”

In the third period, Suffolk saw Wentworth push ahead again on their second power play goal of the night. Nick Newman was able to put it past Suffolk’s senior goaltender Brandon Smolarek.

Suffolk battled back to tie the game again. Senior Mike Cherpak picked a great time for his fourth goal of the season, netting the game tying goal less than three minutes later for Suffolk, bringing the game to overtime.

Jake Flynn (goal, assist) scored the game winner at 10:03 in overtime for Wentworth. Prior to the loss, Suffolk was undefeated in overtime this season 2-0-2.

Smolarek stopped 30 shots.

The Rams celebrate after Justin Holliday's goal. Photo by Christopher Frangolini.

The Rams celebrate after Justin Holliday’s goal. Photo by Christopher Frangolini.

“He’s been amazing for four years,” Glionna said. “Probably, could be a hall of famer the way he’s played this season and in his four years here. It’s going to be hard not seeing him in net next year.”

The Rams will graduate seniors Smolarek, Cherpak (goal), Shaughn Shields, Connor McCarthy, Tyler Heineman (assist), and Zack Capozza.

Suffolk’s 13-win season is tied for fourth-most all-time in franchise history.

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