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UTICA, NY – After sixty minutes of play, it took only 57-seconds into overtime for Hilbert College to claim a hard-fought 12-11 road victory over SUNYIT securing their spot in the NEAC play-offs for the first time in the program’s short history. Sean Purtill, a three-time NEAC Player of the Week player, came through in the clutch hitting the game winning goal which secured the 3rd seed in the four-team play offs, even with one game left to play. Hilbert improved to 4-2 and 8-4 overall. With the loss, SUNYIT dropped out of play-off contention with a 4-3 NEAC record (5-11 overall).
Ryan Wagner led the Hawks with 4 goals and Purtill chipped in 5 assists, having a hand in fifty percent of the 10 goals he didn’t score. Purtill and Ian Holtby each added two goals. It was Holtby who fed Purtill for the shot which started the overtime celebration. William Wagner was credited with nine saves in goal to earn his first overtime win of the season.
SUNYIT’s Brett Gifford led all scorers with five goals off seven shots and Jeff Melinik was credited with eight saves.
Just looking at the line scores each period, it reads as if Hilbert played a steady game scoring three or more goals in the first three quarters. SUNYIT fell quiet in the second quarter then jumped out with a six-goal, third quarter spurt. But the score was tied eight times, with neither team holding a larger than 2-goal lead at any point in the game.
Hilbert scored the opening goal, then played to a 4-4 first quarter score with the Wildcats.
SUNYIT hit first in second session, before Ryan Wagner knotted the game again at 10:57. Nick Kieffer won the following face-off and took the ball to the frame giving Hilbert another 1-goal lead at 10:51. Hilbert held their largest lead after Holtby beat Jeff Melnik in goal to head to half time with a 7-5 advantage.
SUNYIT battled back to tie the game twice in the third quarter before they jumped out to their second 2-goal lead in the game (11-9) with 1:38. Before the session ended, Elliott Russillio fed Purtill for his first goal with 0:12 seconds on the clock and pulled Hilbert within one, 10-11.
In a very quiet fourth quarter, junior defender Kyle Mackowiak netted his second career-goal (in man-down situation at 12:28) to force the final tie of the contest. And the rest is history. Purtill’s second score of the day and his 36th of the season, gave Hilbert their first play-off opportunity since the Hawks joined the NEAC league in 2012.
Hilbert closes out their 2013 regular season schedule with a 3pm NEAC rescheduled game against Wells College tomorrow, April 28th. The Hawks will celebrate their Senior Day prior to the opening face-off.
Keuka College secured the number one seed with an unblemished 7-0 NEAC record. Medaille secured the number two seed (5-2) with Hilbert grabbing the third seed. Morrisville tied with SUNYIT (4-3) but the Mustangs earned the fourth seed due to their in-season victory over SUNYIT.
Hilbert will travel to Medaille College for the May 1st game with the game site to be determined at this time.
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