Patriots fall short to St. Peter Paul Sabres in semi-finals
The clock was running down. There was less than a minute left in the game, but St. Peter Paul had the ball and the Patriots were down by one. Forty-three seconds left. SPP still had the ball. They were trying to run out the clock. Twenty-four seconds. The defense was playing hard but getting nowhere. Five seconds and an SPP player shot the ball.
Junior goalie Jack Miller, however, was able to stop the shot. T referees blew their whistles with 3.8 seconds left, but this was no Patriot miracle. The referees signaled that JC had two defensive penalties, handing the ball back to the Sabres. In a matter of a few seconds, the Patriots’ championship dream faded faster than anyone could’ve imagined.
The Patriots lost to the Sabres 11-10 in the semi-finals on May 15.
The first quarter started off with a JC lead, 1-0. Senior Dominic Mezzanotte scored the first goal of the game with 9:29 left to go in the quarter. After Mezzanotte’s goal, SPP won the face-off, a pattern that would prove to be a problem for JC, gained possession, and quickly lost it to the Patriots.
For the next few minutes of the quarter, the Patriots and Sabres switched back and forth between possessions. With 4:53 left to go in the quarter, Mezzanotte scored again after an assist from junior Sully Gerety.
The quarter ended with a goal for the Sabres, bringing the score to 2-1, Patriots.
JC’s defense started out strong in the beginning of the second quarter, with a steal by senior Jack Hinder and a turnover caused by junior Ethan McMillan. Junior Eric Riley added to the JC score with a bounce shot within the first two minutes of the quarter, making the score 3-1, Patriots. SPP, however, followed up with a goal of their own, returning the game to a one-point difference.
Senior Kevin Gambrell quickly added another point to the score board for JC with five minutes left in the quarter. Within the next minute SPP scored again, making the score 4-3. The quarter ended again with a last-second goal by the Sabres, tying the game at 4-4.
Riley began the third quarter with a goal for JC within the first three minutes. The Sabres struck back, scoring five unanswered goals within the span of five minutes. Desperate for a goal, Hinder scored, making the crowd go wild. Riley kept the momentum going and scored another point for the Patriots after sneaking around the goal. The quarter ended with a score of 9-7, SPP.
The Sabres made the first goal of the fourth quarter, creating a three point lead. Gerety shortened the gap for the Patriots with a bounce shot, making the score 10-8. Gerety shortly followed with another goal, causing the Patriots to trail by only one.
As the time in the game went down, both teams fought hard for possession of the ball. JC got the ball on offense and after a failed attempt, Gambrell scored for the Patriots, tying the game.
The Sabres got possession of the next face off and called a strategic time-out, scoring their eleventh goal 20 seconds after the time-out. The score was then brought to 11-10 with 2:41 left in the game. Despite a save by Miller, the Patriots were unable to tie the game, resulting in an 11-10 win by the Sabres.
“After the game I told the team that it was an honor and a privilege to coach them and that I was proud of them for how they fought back and tied in game. Unfortunately, we came up short in the end, but that doesn’t take away from the heart they showed throughout the season,” assistant coach Matthew Blair said.
“We have a very young team. It’s the first time in years freshmen have made the team and played. We had a great season and we will miss the seniors, but we have great young players who will step for years to come,” McMillan said.
Emily Clarke is a Managing Editor for The Patriot and jcpatriot.com