North Andover, MA – The Islanders Hockey Club continued its’ pursuit of the coveted Dineen Cup with a semi-finals sweep of the visiting South Shore Kings. The top seeded IHC and Founders Cup Champions will now face the Jersey Hitmen in a best of three series to determine who will reign supreme in the USPHL.
Tyler Sifferlen (UMB) recorded back-to-back game winners, including one in OT in game one. Down 2-0 Zach Mirageas (Air Force) fired home a slapper after intense pressure with just :33 seconds left in the second period. Midway through the third Austin Goldstein (Northeastern) would strike to tie things up, and despite some great scoring chances both ways OT would be needed to settle game one. An early breakaway gave the Kings their only real chance to put the game away, but Anthony Tirabassi (Holy Cross) calmly made the save and settled the Islanders down. From there the IHC would put a great deal of pressure forcing Jeff Hextall to come up with several big saves. Another flurry would ensue in front of Hextall and this time Sifferlen would fire home a rebound that sent the boys over the boards and earn a huge come from behind 3-2 win.
Game two would be another epic battle with the Kings coming out fighting from the start, but Al Connal would make several huge saves early on before the Islanders could get things going their way. They would strike minutes apart and gain a 2-0 lead with Brendan Soucie (West Point) and Brent Beaudoin (Brown) scoring rebound goals. The Kings would make it a one-goal game when a power play goal from Gavin Yates made it 2-1. With under a minute to play and the puck behind the IHC net, a costly Islanders turnover looked like the Kings might get the equalizer, but a scrappy effort to recover amazingly ended up with a Tyler Sifferlen breakaway. He would be forced to protect the puck with tremendous backpressure on him and fired a backhand wrister over the blocker of Hextall for a 3-1 lead with :28 seconds left in the period. The third would see the Kings get 3 power play chances to the Islanders none, and the Kings would capitalize on one of them when a slapper from the point redirected off Pat Flynn’s facemask and found its way past Connal. It would be the only goal Connal would allow as he made twelve third-period saves to preserve the 3-2 win and earn a trip to the USPHL Finals.
The Islanders will face off against the Hitmen at the New England Sports Center in Marlboro, MA with the winner taking home the Dineen Cup. Puck drop is scheduled for 4:40pm on both Wednesday and Thursday. If a Game Three is needed it will be played Friday at 1:30pm.