Farrell goes from reserve to overtime star for Canisius

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. — After playing in 56 games over his first two years at Canisius, Stephen Farrell stepped onto the ice for only the seventh time this season Friday in the semifinal game of the Atlantic Hockey playoffs.

It was the third straight game for Farrell, who returned to the lineup after fellow defenseman Geoff Fortman went down with an injury on March 14.

Atlantic Hockey playoffs

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Farrell scored the game-winner Friday, 13:30 into the second overtime period, when his slap shot from the point deflected off a Mercyhurst defender. It was the first goal for Farrell on the season and the biggest of the four goals in the junior’s collegiate career.

“It is very rewarding,” said Farrell. “I try not to think too many personal accolades. It is better that the team is moving on. I’m happy to be playing.”

Being on the outside of the lineup looking in is never easy, particularly for an upperclassmen, but Farrell worked all season long and was ready when called upon Friday to keep the Griffins’ season alive.

“To Stephen’s credit, he has been a great teammate all year,” said Canisius coach Dave Smith. “Things haven’t been dealt in his favor. We talked and he’d leave my office sometimes not liking what he heard. But he always worked. They need to prepare to be ready. Keeping positive and keep working is not easy to do but it is very rewarding when something like this happens.”

And Farrell has the game puck from the goal to forever remember the feeling of scoring in double overtime in the playoffs to keep the season alive for his team.

“[Goaltender Keegan] Asmundson gave me the puck after the game,” said Farrell. “I think I’ll give it to my mom. She likes to keep those kinds of things.”