UNIVERSITY PARK - Entering Thursday night's Laurel Mountain Hockey League championship, the fourth-seed Hollidaysburg Golden Tigers were looking for a storybook ending to a Cinderella season.
The Tigers just couldn't hold on for the final exclamation point.
Courtesy of a Somerset goal by Frederik Gildsig with 21.2 seconds to play in the game, which capped off a three-goal rally, the Golden Tigers fell to the Golden Eagles, 3-2, Thursday night at Pegula Ice Arena.
Mirror photo by Patrick Waksmunski
Hollidaysburg’s Jonathon Bilek (31) and Andrew Vonada (54) clear the crease for goalie Brandon Amigh Thursday night.
"They broke the puck out of the zone well, we struggled on the wall and they didn't," Hollidaysburg coach Craig Fitzgerald said. "Thirty-one shots for them, 13 for us, you can't win a game like that.
"We held on as long as we could."
The Eagles managed to get several scoring opportunities early, but Brandon Amigh stopped several shots by the champions to keep the game scoreless after one period of play.
Amigh stopped 28-of-31 Golden Eagle shots on goal, and Fitzgerald couldn't have been more impressed with his starting goalie's performance.
"Brandon Amigh played a whale of a game," he said. "Some of the saves he made down the stretch were phenomenal."
Hollidaysburg took over early in the second period when Milo Defay scored on a wrist shot from Kent Brustle and Brandon Ritchey to give the Tigers the early 1-0 lead.
Just over 1:15, later Ritchey cashed in off a breakaway to give the Golden Tigers a 2-1 lead after the second stanza, causing Somerset to use its timeout.
"[We] just needed to settle them down, get back to playing our game, Somerset coach Matt Cavrak said. "They were trying to get quick breaks, and handled the adversity well."
Stephen Yaros put the Eagles on the board off the draw with 8:06 to play in the period.
From there, Somerset took over at the halfway point of the final stanza when Jordan Beistel went five-hole on Amigh to tie the game at 2, before Gildsig's tally gave Somerset the title.
"I got a pass from [Jordan] Beistel, took the chance and it went in," Gildsig said.
Neither team went on the power play the entire evening. Amigh's 28 stops resulted in a save percentage of .903 which topped his season average of .768.
SCORE BY PERIODS
FIRST PERIOD: None
SECOND PERIOD: H Defay (Brustle, Ritchey), 2:11; H Ritchey (Johnson), 3:29; S Yaros (Wisten), 6:54
THIRD PERIOD: S - Beistel (unassisted), 6:06; S - Gildsig (Wisten, Beistel), 14:39
GOALIES: Hollidaysburg Amigh 28-31; Somerset Sa. Sujansky 11-13