St. John’s had plenty of opportunities in the first period but came away with nothing to show for it. The Titans had 3 penalty-play chances but it was the Knights, playing shorthanded, that had the best scoring chance of the first period.
While attempting to kill a penalty the Knights’ Chris Dyer found himself in a 1:1 situation just past center ice. Dyer, the emotional and physical leader of the Knights on the ice, deftly skated past his defender and, as he approached the St. John’s goalie, Steven Schmitt, shot the puck point blank toward the goal. Unfortunately, Dyer’s shot flew wide left of the net. Similarly, all 22 of the other shots taken by the teams in the first period missed as well and the first period ended in a 0-0 tie.
In light of the fact that St. Francis found themselves playing short-handed most of the first period it is a tribute to the St. Francis’ effort that they were able to nearly equal St. John’s in shots for the period (SJ:13; SF:10).
The Knights controlled most of the action in the first period but could not avoid taking penalties. Late in the period the Knights finally had a penalty play chance but, like St. John’s, could not convert.
The second period disproved the old adage that whoever takes the most shots scores the most points. The only goal of the period came off the stick of St. John’s George Wilkinson. At 4:21 of the period Wilkinson and a St. Francis defender met a center ice with Wilkinson in control of the puck. Wilkinson quickly outraced his defender and sent the puck past the outstretched stick hand of the Knights’ Mychael McAninch. Wilkinson’s shot was only one of four in the second period for the Titans while the Knights lit up the net with 13 shots – none successful.
In the second period St. John’s played much more inspired hockey. Although their shots were limited, they were skating harder and finishing their checks. St. Francis, meanwhile, shot frequently but never really had any quality shot opportunities.
The third period was a roller coaster of emotion. The hitting increased substantially but when St. Francis finally tied the game at 3:33 of the period the tension increased also.
The St. Francis tying goal came off a good passing combination play between the goal scorer, Will Grossman, and the passer, Chris Dyer. The shot and pass occurred within close range of the goalie crease and there was little that the St. John’s goalie could do to prevent the Knights from scoring.
For the next 8 minutes the teams played nearly even. An overtime period was in everyone’s mind and the teams began jockeying their lines in anticipation. .
Suddenly, at 11:23, in what seemed like a lull in the action, the Titans broke out on top again. This time the forward line of Ray Morris, Mark Stansfield, and Eli Riddle skated in on the St. Francis defenders with Ray Morris finally placing the puck past the goalie for a 2-1 Titan lead. Stansfield and Riddle both received assists on the goal.
The St. John’s lead, however, was short-lived as St. Francis scored another tying goal only 27 seconds later. Chris Dyer, who had been begging for the puck the entire period, finally had his prayers answered at 11:30 of the period as his shot found the back of the Titan net. Wil Hartkopf assisted on the Dyer goal.
The final 3 minutes of the period were played without further scoring and the teams entered the overtime period tied at 2-2.
The overtime found neither team able to mount a scoring chance but it was not without excitement. At 2:57 of the overtime period the Titans’ Eli Riddle took a most inopportune penalty for cross checking.
Riddle and the dangerous Dyer were positioned in the front of the Titan net and Riddle pushed Dyer into the crease and over goalie. The referee immediately signaled a penalty and the Knights were suddenly presented with a golden opportunity. Unfortunately, the Knights were frustrated in their efforts to score as the Titans successfully fought off the penalty to preserve the 2-2 tie.