Weston, Mass – In a tightly contested semifinal matchup, Kimball Union faced off against Rivers in a raucous environment where both teams put up a tremendous fight for admission to Sunday’s finals at St. Anselm’s. The game went into overtime where Kimball Union scored with 31.6 seconds remaining in overtime to win 2-1.
Sunday’s Elite Eight Final in Manchester, N.H., will pit top-seeded Salisbury against No. 3 Kimball Union.
While the first period did not feature any scoring, Rivers applied pressure all period with quick transitions and staunch neutral zone play. The Rivers defense activated quickly and pushed the puck into offensive ice, yet Kimball Union stood tall and goaltender Sean Dynan (Reading, MA) made some big saves
In the second period, Thomas Samuelsen (Williston, VT/UConn) scored 13 seconds into the frame. He broke into Rivers’ zone off the opening faceoff and fed an open Logan Cash (Halifax, NS/Vermont) to make it 1-0. For most of the remaining minutes, Kimball Union peppered goaltender Aidan Porter (Wellesley, MA) but came up empty-handed. About 13 minutes later, the momentum shifted again as senior defenseman John Corrigan (Stoneham, MA) delivered a home-run pass from the defensive zone to a waiting John Kantaros (Auburndale, MA) at the other end to tie it.
Kimball Union spent much time in Rivers’ zone in the third period but was unable to get quality chances. Rivers made a late push, but Dynan kept the puck out, leaving the game tied 1-1 at the end of regulation.
In overtime, both team had chances to win. With just under 10 minutes to go, Kimball Union was called for a penalty. Rivers had chances but was unable to score. Then Rivers went on the penalty kill, but kept the Wildcats out of the net. In the last minute, a turnover in the neutral zone lead to a 2-on-1 chance on Porter, and Seth Stadheim (Lyme, NH) fed a wide-open Zach Whitehead (Meriden, NH), who buried it with 31.6 left for the win.
The biggest standout effort for KUA tonight was Samuelsen. He was taking over entire shifts with his athleticism, dogged pursuit and creativity with the puck. For Rivers, sophomore defenseman Cade Webber (Meadville, PA) came up big when his team needed a play. He was physical in his own end and knew when to use his speed in order to capitalize on Kimball Union mistakes.
Three Stars of the Game:
1st Star: Zach Whitehead, KUA, F: G (GWG in OT)
2nd Star: John Kantaros, Rivers, F: G
3rd Star: Thomas Samuelsen, KUA, F: A