Three seconds. That was the time remaining when Alexander Ray collected a rebound, turned and fired a shot into traffic. PWHPA goaltender Katie Burt got a piece of it, but not enough. The puck found the back of the net and the Twin City Thunder evened things at 2-2 at 19:57 of the third period.
Alex Rivet was the hero in overtime, gaining possession in the neutral zone, speeding by Haley Skarupa and perfectly placing a shot over the glove of Burt 2:53 into the three-on-three overtime. It was a heartbreaking end to a successful training trip for the PWHPA ‘All-Stars’.
The PWHPA struck first in the game when Gigi Marvin won a puck battle in the corner deep in the Thunder’s zone. She fed a backhand pass into the slot for Florida native Delaney Belinskas, whose one-timer cleanly beat Thunder starter Devon Bobak at the 15:41 mark. It was just the second time the PWHPA scored in the first period, and it would be the first time they took a lead into the intermission.
The lead didn’t last long into the second. Valeri Rykov was robbed by Burt seconds into the middle period, but he didn’t miss his second opportunity. Rykov corralled a pass from Danny Klatt and rifled a shot by Burt for his 3rd as a member of the Thunder. The goal, at 2:35 of the second, set the teams up for a tied game going into the third period.
The Thunder fired the first ten shots of the frame on goal, dominating on the attack until Bill Flanagan used his timeout. The decision calmed down the PWHPA, and led to their best stretch of the hockey game. After a few good shifts in the offensive zone, Belinskas fed Hayley Scamurra coming down the slot. Scamurra protected the puck and then put a backhander on that beat Owen Pryzbylo, who played the second half of the game.
It looked like the PWHPA would close the trip with two wins in three games and a 3-3-0 overall record. Looks, unfortunately, can be deceiving.
The Thunder turned the heat up after Scamurra’s goal at 15:44, but were unable to get good looks on Burt. That was until an offensive zone faceoff with just seconds remaining, which led to Ray’s goal.
In the three-on-three overtime, the PWHPA got the first real chances, including a partial breakaway for Savannah Harmon. Pryzbylo stopped them all, however, and allowed Rivet to get the winner just one day after the Thunder saw a 5-0 lead evaporate against the New Hampshire Junior Monarchs.
“I’m really proud of this group,” Flanagan said postgame. “We competed hard again, had a chance to win this one. Some great chances in the overtime but we couldn’t finish it off and they did. Give them credit, they played a hard.”
Thunder head coach Dan Hodge, the father of a young daughter, took the time after the game to visit with the PWHPA ‘All-Stars’. He and his team took a photo with the PWHPA postgame as well, as has most of the teams who have played in this event.