(Photo Credit: Gabe Dickens/Plattsburgh State SID)
PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. – Amherst senior co-captain Mike Rowbothom netted the game-tying goal with 56 seconds to play in the third period, and David White '18 scored in the fourth round of the penalty shootout as the Jeffs erased a 3-1 deficit to secure a 3-3 tie with Utica and advances to the 2015 Cardinal Winter Classic championship game hosted by Plattsburgh State at Ronald B. Stafford Ice Arena on Friday afternoon.
With the win, Amherst (6-2-1) will take on the winner of the Plattsburgh State, New England College contest on Saturday, Jan. 3 at 7 p.m. at Ronald B. Stafford Ice Arena. Utica (5-5-3) will play the loser of the Cardinals' and Pilgrims' showdown at 4 p.m. in the classic consolation game.
After playing a scoreless first period that saw Utica edge Amherst in shots on target, 10-7, the Jeffs drew first blood 9:14 into the second frame when Patrick Mooney '18 scored his first collegiate goal on an assist from Rowbothom. Utica answered at the 12:55 mark when Luc Boby found the back of the net for the fourth time this season on assists from Joel Wetmore and Mike Baird to level the game at 1-1. The Pioneers then took the lead on a marker by Nick Miglio. Wetmore and Jide Idowu provided the helpers on Miglio's second tally of the season. Utica posted a 13-5 shots-on-goal differential in the second period.
With the Pioneers clinging to its 2-1 lead late in the third stanza, Wetmore notched his fourth goal of the season at the 16:33 mark to give Utica a 3-1 advantage. The Purple & White, playing with an extra attacker, responded in tremendous fashion as Aaron Deutsch '15 delivered his second goal of the campaign to set the score at 3-2 at the 18:31 mark. Rowbothom and senior co-captain Jake Turrin assisted on the scoring play.
With just 56 seconds on the clock, and senior goalie Danny Vitale still on the bench in favor of an extra man, Rowbotham came through with the game-tying goal (his fourth of the season) to set the score at 3-3 after 60 minutes of action. The Jeffs held a 15-9 lead in shots on target in the third stanza with Turrin and Deutsch assisting on the final tally of regulation.
After a scoreless five-minute overtime period that featured a 3-2 shots-on-goal edge for Amherst, the sides entered a penalty shooutout to determine a winner.
Both goalies were stellar through three rounds as neither Vitale, nor Pioneers' net-minder Dylan Wells, allowed a goal. In the fourth round of the shootout, after Utica's Easton Powers was turned aside by Vitale, White drove in his try to clinch the game for the Jeffs.
Vitale finished with 31 saves in the contest, while Wells made 27 stops.