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Boschetto scores in OT as Jr. Rangers, Colorado, Utah natives top Avalanche for 2022 EHLP title


The 2022 Eastern Hockey League Premier (EHLP) championship game needed more than 60 minutes to determine a winner.

Mike Boschetto made sure it wouldn’t require another 20 as he buried the overtime winner 1:10 into the extra session, securing the Boston Jr. Rangers a 4-3 win over the New Hampshire Avalanche and their third EHLP title.

With the way this game started, it seemed like OT wasn’t going to be a thought.

The Rangers and Avalanche combined for five goals in what was a wild opening period. The Rangers opened the scoring on a point shot from Brodie Ingersoll (Centennial), his heavy shot clattered off the pipe and past the glove of Avs goaltender Jared Packman.

The lead was extremely short lived for Boston as just six, yes six, seconds later the Avs would tie it as the puck hit off Connor McCowell driving the goal.

With the Rangers on the penalty kill about midway through the first, forward Anthony Viola swiped the puck at the line and charged in on a break. Hauled down in the process, Viola was awarded a penalty shot, and a chance to restore his team’s lead. He’d make no mistake on the one-on-one, sniping a shot to the glove side of Packman. It was Viola’s third goal of the Frozen Finals which gave him 3-6-9 over the four games played, he was awarded MVP of the tournament for his efforts.

Unfazed by Viola’s successful penalty shot, the Avs would come back to score as their power-play continued. Dante Massaro made a nice pass out from the corner that landed right onto Brendan Schmidt’s tape and the defenseman made no mistake with his shot.

Tied at two it appeared as if things would calm down in the goal scoring department. That would be proven wrong as there was only 2:35 of scoreless action from Schmidt’s power-play goal up until the next tally which was scored by Rangers’ captain Duncan Fleming. Fleming was able to rip a shot that caught some post before going in past Packman’s glove, the third shot to beat him to that side. For the third time in the opening period, the Rangers would lead and this time they’d keep it heading into the break.

We’d play through a scoreless second period, largely thanks to the two goaltenders. Both Packman and his Ranger counterpart Mitch Taylor were tested regularly with Packman stopping all 11 second period shots and Taylor, all 10. The Rangers cranked up the heat in the third as they looked for separation, but Packman kept the score close. It wasn’t until a late power-play chance where the Avs were able to set up and create commotion. On that power-play chance, it was a rebound that was loose and Layne Brubaker-Egner was the first to find it as he poked it into an empty goal. Tied up 3-3 the Rangers pushed furiously in the final minute with a flurry around the Avalanche crease.

Nothing gave way and the two teams would head into sudden-death overtime.

It ended quickly into the extra session. A scramble in Packman’s crease saw him unable to tie up the puck, loose towards the near post it was Boschetto there for Boston and just like that, the game and season was over. Boschetto flipped the puck in and was mobbed by his teammates off the bench.

Denver native and goalie Dylan Lawrence was part of the Jr. Rangers, while Utah native Aidan Bleyl (Midway) also contributed to the championship season.

Forward and MVP — Anthony Viola — Jr. Rangers
Forward — Max Morris — Jr. Rangers
Forward — Layne Brubaker-Egner — Avalanche
Defenseman — Luke Yubeta — Jr. Rangers
Defenseman — David Hassell — Avalanche
Goaltender — Mitchell Taylor — Jr. Rangers

Photo/Dan Hickling/Hickling Images

— Tyler Aragao

(April 7, 2022)

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