OSWEGO, N.Y. — Nate Ryan’s goal with eleven seconds to play lifted St. Thomas to a 4-3 win over New England in the consolation game of the Pathfinder Oswego Hockey Classic.
New England had tied the game just minutes before and were again on the power play in the closing seconds, but as the St. Thomas penalty expired, Ryan came off the bench and snuck behind the New England defense for a breakaway goal.
“They didn’t expect me to be there,” said Ryan. “The penalty (to Paul Solberg) was up and I came off the bench and (AJ Panchenko) hit me with a nice pass.”
“Panchenko is our best player in terms of seeing the entire ice,” said St. Thomas coach Terry Skrypek. “It was a perfect pass.”
Skrypek also pointed to a big save on a breakaway early by Tommie goaltender Cameron Voss as a key to the win.
“He doesn’t make that save, and it might have been a different game,” said Skrypek. “That was huge for us.”
Instead it was St. Thomas that got on the board first at 12:25 of the first period. Nick Pernula came out of the penalty box and generated a three-on-one. His shot was stopped by Pilgrim goaltender Ron Baia, but Kevin Rollwagen was there on the weak side to bang in the rebound.
Midway through the second period the Pilgrims got on the board. Sustained pressure by NEC paid off when Jeff Armand, behind the St. Thomas net, found Joe Garofalo alone in the slot. He beat Voss low on the stick side to tie things at one each.
Later in the period, the teams traded power plays before Rollwagen got his second of the game and third of the weekend. He picked up a lose puck along the boards and beat two defenders to the net, putting the puck past Baia on the short side to make it 2-1 Tommies.
New England tied the game again just 21 seconds into the third. On their first rush up the ice, Trevor Turner wristed one past Voss to tie the game at two.
St. Thomas regained the lead at 2:49. On the power play, Nick Pernula’s shot from the point found its way past Baia.
Things stayed that way until 4:01 to play, when St. Thomas’ Garrett Gruenke took a holding penalty. New England coach Tom Carroll called his timeout, and sent four forwards and defenseman Trevor Turner out for the power play. Jon Globke, a 6-4 freshman, parked himself in front of Voss. He banged in a rebound to tie the game at the 16:53 mark.
“We wanted those guys rested,” said Carroll. “Turner’s a heck of a player and we put (UNH transfer Brian) Pouliot in (injured Mike) Carmody’s spot. They worked hard and it paid off.”
At 17:37, Solberg took a slashing penalty, but the Tommies killed it off, leading to Ryan’s heroics.
“I wasn’t thinking about where to shoot, I was thinking about getting caught,” said Ryan of his breakaway. “But then the short side looked open, so I went there.”
“It’s a (tough) way to lose a game,” said Carroll. “(Ryan) just got behind everybody and they hit him with a nice pass.”
“Hopefully, we can use this as a stepping stone,” said Skrypek. “We’ve lost games where we have made too many mistakes, like we did yesterday. Hopefully we can build on a game like this.”