NOTE: A full photo gallery will be posted from the game. Check back later tonight.
When things don’t go your way one night, it’s a blessing to get right back at it 24 hours later.
Seton Hall Prep, No. 7 in the NJ.com Top 20, saw a late lead disappear in the final two minutes of the third period on Thursday in a 3-3 tie against No. 6 Morristown-Beard.
Fast forward to Friday night, the Pirates were down a goal themselves after carrying the play for most of the game.
Thomas Klochkov pounced on a loose puck at the side of the net and jammed it in with 24 seconds left to tie it to force a 2-2 tie between Seton Hall Prep and No. 15 St. Augustine at the Igloo Ice Rink in Mount Laurel.
“It would’ve been nice to not have those two back-to-back ties coming out of the gate,” said Seton Hall Prep coach Mike Atkinson. “But this one feels a little better than yesterday. Great rebound for the boys.”
It’s a character-building tie for this relatively young bunch. Not only did they dig deep enough to tie it late but did so against a brick wall between the pipes.
Matt Lynch turned aside 34 of the 36 shots that came his way. If he saw it cleanly, he was stopping it and wasn’t allowing a rebound.
“It got frustrating at times for sure,” Klochkov said. “We managed to stick through it, kept saying on the bench we were going to get a bounce. Finally, at the end we got one.”
The final shots were 36-13 but giving his team a chance to win is nothing new for Lynch.
In his last three starts, he’s boasting a .919 save percentage.
“He’s our backbone,” said St. Augustine coach Tim Fingerhut. “He’s been stellar for us all year. He’s kept us in games, especially early on. We have a tough road here. We had Christian Brothers, Bergen Catholic, Seton Hall Prep followed next week with Don Bosco and Gloucester Catholic. I couldn’t ask for a better guy to have in between the pipes. No question.”
Despite mustering one shot on a five-minute power play and immediately allowing the game-tying goal in the second period, St. Augustine got the opportunistic response it needed.
Deaglen Kelly restored the one-goal lead just under three minutes after Aidan D’Urso tied it. It was the transfer from Delsea’s second goal of the game.
“He’s a good hard-work grinding forward,” Fingerhut said. “He’s got a knack for the net. He uses his body well. He’s a great fit for us.”
As the clock wound down in the third period, the ice tilted towards Lynch but while a point on the board in the Gordon Conference is nice, the team feels like they left that second one off.
“The way our first two games weren’t the best,” Lynch said. “We had a shot at this one and then the last couple minutes we gave out at the end. It’s nice to tie a team and put a point on the board but we have to be better.”