North Andover, MA – The Islanders Hockey Club and the Jr Bruins slugged it out in a big time heavyweight matchup this past weekend. Both games were the most dramatic games of the season with the Islanders coming from behind in both contests and winning each game 5-4. Friday’s tilt saw the Bruins take the lead four times only to have the Islanders tie it back up four times. The final one coming with just 8-seconds left in the game to force OT. Sam Nestor would play the role of a Superhero when he took away what appeared to be the end of the Islanders Hockey Club 12 game win streak. Down 4-3 and with Justin Ferguson sitting on the bench for an extra attacker, the Bruins Gus Van Ness skated across the red line and sent it towards the open net to end the game. Out of nowhere, a diving Nestor fully outstretched, and with the tip of his stick, stopped it from going in and then circled the net with the puck. Roughly 10 seconds later he would take a Nick Parody pass at center ice, elude a forward in the neutral zone, cut in and shoot though a defender to tie the game with just 8-seconds remaining. During OT the puck was sent into the Bruins end and in a precarious position. It would not end up behind the goal line and if Bruins goaltender Janiv Perets did not come out to play the puck it would have been a 2-0 play for the Isles. Perets opted to come out and play the puck, but Mark Gallant was at top speed and at the last second reached out with stick extended at Perets stick with the puck ending up flying into the air. It landed in the hands of Jonathan Young who placed the puck quickly to the ice and fired it into the next for the exhilarating win.
As if Friday wasn’t wild enough, Sunday would once again keep everyone on the edge of his or her seats. It would be another “game of the year” played by both teams. Sam Nestor would kick off the scoring on his first shift of the game for the 1-0 lead. It would be short lived when Guus Van Ness scored on the PP minutes later. Mark Gallant would then strike for an IHC PP goal and the first period would end 2-1 Isles. The Bruins would come out flying in the second and score three straight goals from Timmy Kent, Matt Allen, and Ethan Roswell for a commanding 4-2 lead with twenty left to play. While most teams would succumb to a team like the Bruins down by two; the Islanders are simply not most teams. They would take advantage and make it 2 for 2 on the PP when Hayden Taylor screamed to Matt Dillon for a shot towards Adam Mercer and he would tip it by for a 4-3 game. With 8:39 left in the game, Mark Cheremeta would play give and go with Jack Moran and step into a heavy wrister to tie the game at 4-4. After back and forth play by both teams and what appeared to be another OT, a turnover would lead to quick transition with the Isles on the attack. Lucas Michaud would backhand saucer a pass to Mark Cheremeta and with defenders bearing down on him, he would slide it to a streaking Brent Hill on the back side who fired it into the net with just 3-seconds remaining in the game.
Sean Tremblay, GM/Head Coach of the Islanders Hockey Club, offered after the weekend. “I couldn’t be more proud of our guys for staying together as a tight knit team and pulling off two of the most dramatic wins I have been a part of in 24 years of coaching. Both of these were truly the type of game that no team deserves to lose. I give a lot of credit to both teams for playing as hard as they did and as great as they did. It was certainly the best hockey of the season and both games and teams displayed high end hockey, class, and professionalism.”
The IHC will play host again next weekend when the Syracuse Stars come to Merrimack College for a Saturday (6:30pm) and Sunday (12pm) p