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Avalanche Force Game Three With OT Win

By Anthony Di Paolo - HNIB Beat Writer, 03/27/24, 3:30PM EDT


Hines' OT goal lifts Avs to 4-3 win

Providence, RI -- Jake Hines scored a shorthanded goal in overtime as the New Hampshire Avalanche defeated the Boston Jr. Rangers 4-3 to force a deciding Game 3 in the Eastern Hockey League semifinals.

In a tug-of-war battle, New Hampshire bounced back from a one-goal deficit three separate times and pulled out the victory 17:08 into the extra session to keep their season alive.

“It was a big scrum on the wall, the Rangers were coming out hard but made a bad pass, I was right there and got it on the breakaway and knew the whole time where I was going, right for the low blocker,” Hines said on his overtime winner.

Avs head coach Chris Cerrella spoke about his team’s resilience and their ability to even out the series.

“We’ve been that way the whole playoffs to be quite honest. We lost Game 1 against Valley and we battled back, beat them 7-1 the next day and won Game 3, and then Seacoast we were down 3-1 in Game 1 and we battled back. We’re not dead until we’re dead, right? We’re just a team that keeps battling back and I’m very proud of our guys.” 

Cullen Hennessy opened the scoring for the Jr. Rangers 4:25 into the first period. Defenseman Sebastian Rogles took a shot from the point that left a big rebound, and Hennessy roofed it in the follow-up chance from the low slot for his first goal of the postseason.

New Hampshire responded as David Basin tied the game 57 seconds into the middle period. Jake Hines slid a pass across to Basin near the right post, and it looked like Pierce made a lunging save with the glove. After an official review, it was determined the puck fully crossed the goal line, and Basin has scored a goal in five straight playoff games.

Boston then took the lead with an unusual goal midway through the second. Jake Russell floated a puck from center ice towards the goal, and Avs goaltender Sam Boos lost track of the puck as it floated by him. It was Russell’s third goal of the postseason.

“It happened so fast, I challenged it with the offsides and whatnot, but I had no idea,” Cerrella said of the play. “It was a flukey goal, but it is what it is, we just battled back and that’s what good teams do.”

It looked like the Avalanche tied the game 4:34 period when Jake Hines deflected a shot towards the net that snuck in between the near post and the pad of Rangers’ goaltender Ayden Pierce. After review, it was determined the puck never crossed the goal line.

The Avs kept pushing and it was Ryan Dann who made it a 2-2 game with 12:37 left in the third. Mike Marchese wrapped around the net and slipped a pass in front to Dann, as he fluttered a shot over Pierce and into the net.

Kaleb Miller took the lead right back for the Rangers when Bret Beale slid a pass from the corner right in front to Miller, who tapped it upstairs with 8:30 left.

About four minutes later, Mike Santonelli tied the game for New Hampshire again when he toe-dragged around a Rangers defender and went to the backhand on Pierce to make it 3-3.
Cerrella spoke about Santonelli, a defenseman who has been playing as a forward throughout the 2024 postseason.

“You look at Mike Santonelli, he’s committed to Albertus Magnus, and he’s a defenseman. He’s been playing forward for us all playoffs and he’s a guy who is willing to compete,” Cerrella said. “He’s getting less ice time as a forward than he would as a d-man, but for him it’s all about the team and wins.”

Boos’ biggest save came with eight seconds left in regulation on a Bret Beale breakaway. He snapped a shot low and Boos made the save with his stick, keeping it tied and forcing the game to overtime.

Midway through the overtime, Cullen Hennessey thought he scored his second goal of the game as he cut across the middle of the ice and slid a shot five-hole. After multiple reviews, it was determined that Hennessey entered the offensive zone before the puck, and the goal was overturned.

Later in the extra session, the Avs went to the penalty kill, but Hines found a loose puck for a breakaway and snapped a shot blocker side for his first goal of the postseason.

Hines spoke about the overturned goal and the roller coaster of emotions from the thought of their season ending to forcing a deciding Game 3.

“That was crazy, I’ve never been through something like that, from being completely dejected to the elation of scoring that goal, it was just insane.”

The Avalanche and Jr. Rangers will play Game 3 tomorrow at 11 a.m., where the winner will advance to the championship game on Saturday.

Anthony Di Paolo

Anthony Di Paolo covers the EHL for HNIB and can be followed on Twitter @DiPaolo_016

Anthony Di Paolo has been working in various levels of hockey over the last five years, ranging from juniors to the pros. Di Paolo spent four seasons as the Communications Director and play-by-play announcer for the New Jersey Titans of the North American Hockey League (2016-2020), and is entering his fifth season in a similar role with the New Jersey 87’s of the Eastern Hockey League. Graduating from Seton Hall University in 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism, the New Jersey native covered Division I athletics for his school’s radio station, WSOU, and spent two years writing for the Fischler Report, a newsletter run by U.S. Hockey Hall-of-Fame inductee Stan Fischler. In addition to writing features and player spotlights throughout the season, Anthony is a fixture on the weekly #EShow podcast.