“Elite 8″ Recap: Knights survive 2OT, Kent outs and more

As expected, the first round of the Stuart/Corkery “Elite 8″ hockey tournament provided plenty of good action. There were games settled in overtime, early-round upsets, and quality talent across the board.

Inevitably, seasons are coming to an end, and the road to Yale is becoming a more real possibility for those teams still in the scrap.

Let’s take a look and see what the playoff picture looks like from here on out:

 

No. 1 Salisbury 3-2 (2OT) No. 8 Cushing

Cushing gave the defending champions all they could handle on Wednesday, as the Penguins pushed the contest into double overtime.

Salisbury’s Derek Barach played the hero, as the Mercyhurst recruit got his second, but more important, goal of the game to take the W for the home team.

Mitch Smith, who, like Barach, is enjoying a great season, had leveled the score in the 1st frame, but it wasn’t enough to oust Cushing in regulation as the Penguins grabbed a power-play goal in the 3rd period to force overtime.

The win pushes the Crimson Knights past Cushing and into a 4:00pm clash with No. 4 Phillips Exeter this Saturday at Berkshire School.

No. 2 Kent 3-7 No. 7 The Gunnery

Though the parity amongst New England prep school hockey programs has been highlighted numerous times this year, it was a surprise to most when The Highlanders from Gunnery ended the season of No. 2 Kent.

Despite entering the final frame down 4-3, Kent couldn’t find a way past the Gunnery defense and ran out of steam as time wore on. Gunnery ended up winning the 3rd 3-0 (the last goal, an empty-netter), to win the game 7-3.

Kent had been put up 2-0 to the good by Zerter-Gossage in a 5-second span, but the Gunnery fought back to end a breathless 1st frame at 2-2. Gunnery broke the deadlock early in the 2nd and never really looked back.

The Highlanders now face the winners of the other early-round upset in No. 6 Berkshire, who ousted No. 3 Thayer by a score of 3-1. The Berkshire Bears have the advantage of playing on their home ice.

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Stay tuned for more updates from the Large Schools tournaments involving Choate and Loomis Chaffee, who both won their Round 1 match-ups to fight on this Saturday against No. 1 St. Pauls and No. 2 Phillips Andover, respectively.