NEVILLE TWP., Pa. — Montour and Thomas Jefferson got to the PIHL Class-A semi-finals playing high octane hockey and did not disappoint with a back and forth slugfest that saw three lead changes and four ties before heading into overtime.
Montour kept at it and by the end had erased a two-goal deficit to walk away with a 6-5 overtime win and a ticket in next week’s PIHL Penguins Cup Class-A final
“To go down 5-3 in the third period and make it back it took a lot of heart,” Montour head coach Clay Shell said. “I couldn’t be prouder, we did not come out in the third period flying like we normally do, but once the momentum started we really got going.”
The momentum led to Anthony Migliozzi scoring the game-winner in overtime for the Spartans, as he tapped home a rebound in a goal-mouth scramble.
A slashing minor on TJ’s Brandon Kibe set Montour up with the man-advantage at 1:52 of the extra period and the Spartans walked off as winners at 2:44 of overtime, with Ryan Eisel assisting on the game-winner.
Eisel also scored the game-tying goal in regulation, when he put home a cross-ice feed from Dustin Geregach. Eisel and Migliozzi each finished with two goals and an assist.
The power play was a consistent factor for the Spartans, as they finished 4 for 4 with a man advantage.
“We work on the power play a lot,” Shell said. “We worked with Peters Township last week in a scrimmage and all we worked on was the power play. I told them that if you can work the power play against Peters Township you can do it against anyone.”
Ethan Diffendal scored a power-play goal to make it a 5-4 game in the third period, and Eisel and Geregach each contributed power-play goals in the second period.
Montour killed off all three of its penalties, and got one the other way late in the first period, when Michael Felsing burst out of the box after his cross-checking minor expired and was hit with a pass as he exited. He took the puck behind the net and found a wide open Migliozzi in front of the net to put it home and tie the game back at one.
The teams fought through a back-and-forth second period before Thomas Jefferson appeared to take advantage.
“That is a very good hockey team,” Shell said. “They have some gunners, they can go north very fast. We kept preaching to go in on their gunners. We just kept at it.”
Johnny Rimsky put home a Hunter Hintemeyer feed to tie the game up heading into the third period. Rimsky was not done either, as he put home another Hintemeyer one-timer early in the third period to get his team a 4-3 lead.
Three minutes later John Piscitelli saw a loose puck and put it on the net. The puck went straight through the five-hole of Zachary O’Malley and gave the Jaguars their fifth goal of the night.
For the first time all game a two-goal lead was established, but the Montour comeback was on, as Diffendal scored 2:44 later before Eisel’s tally late in the third tied the game.
O’Malley finished with 23 saves in the victory, while Luciano Ripepi stopped 33 of 39 for the Jaguars.