Mitch Kingsley’s goal with 2:16 left in the game was the deciding factor in a 7-6 win over St. Margaret’s that sent the Lions back to the Southern Division semi-finals for the second year in a row. No strangers to late game drama, it was the seventh time this season that JSerra has been involved in a one-goal game this season. They are 4-3 in those games. The Lions will look to avenge twin 8-5 losses to the Sea Kings earlier this season and in last year’s Division semi-finals.
Time of possession in the second quarter was controlled by the Lions but they could not shake the Tartans. Kingsley scored from X, drawing another penalty (this one was waived off), to make it 4-2 early in the second. Momentum was now in favor of the Lions who were getting longer possessions, better opportunities, and were beginning to fire away. Kingsley then earned his fourth point of the night. After a few unsuccessful dodge attempts from X, Kinglsey found Logan Olmsted open in the high post cross crease. Olmsted finished nicely to make it 5-2. Paddy Fallon and Brendan Lynch traded goals to make it 6-3 late in the first half.
Ryan Harnisch was now heating up at the faceoff X, and every goal was being followed by a St. Margaret’s possession. With the Lions’ defense slowing down the fast breaks off the faceoff wins, the Tartans started to use ball movement to move the momentum arrow in their direction. With the JSerra defense not allowing the St. Margaret’s ball movement to open up scoring opportunities, Hunter Edington created one of his own when he finished after a couple nice dodges off a Josh Davis pass to make it 6-4 at halftime.
Staying warm over the intermission, Harnisch faceoff wins and two more Edington goals resulted in a 6-6 tie with 22 minutes left to go in the game. That is when defense and goaltending took over. There were some fine goaltending by Payton Fales and Jake Hennigman on display but no more goals until Kingsley completed his hat trick to make it 7-6 with 2:16 left in the game. Not surprisingly, the Tartans continued to battle and the Lions continued to resist until the end. The game was not decided until Kennedy Solomon intercepted a pass while JSerra was man down with less than 20 seconds to go.
Stars of the Game
This game was defined by great team defense and goaltending on both sides that relented only to the most outstanding of individual efforts from the most of talented players. Not a single goal in this game was uncontested. The best of the best were:
1. Mitch Kingsley: Kingsley carried the offensive load for the Lions for the second game in a row. He factored in all but two of the Lions’ goal and scored the game winner.
2. Payton Fales: Both goalies played great but Fales seemed to get tested more. It is obvious why the Tartans struggled when he was not between the pipes earlier in the season.
3. Ryan Harnisch: We usually don’t give two stars to the losing team, but the importance to this team of Harnisch’s faceoff domination cannot be overestimated. They are a threat to score every time he takes a faceoff.