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Raiders Fall In OT Of State Title Game

When Jamestown scored with 38 seconds left Sunday afternoon, it felt like the vibes were in the Raiders’ favor.

Eden/Lake Shore/Pioneer/Springville had other ideas.

Lake Shore junior Nate Smith completed a hat trick just 27 seconds into a 4-on-4 overtime period as ELPS beat Jamestown 4-3 in the championship game of the AAU New York State High School Club Hockey League Mixed Division tournament at Northwest Arena.

“We know he’s a great player. We held him on Super Sunday, and they had a couple of others who took his role,” Jamestown head coach Jimmy Bergman said. “He didn’t do too much through the state tournament here, but he saved it up for today’s game.”

Things looked dire for Jamestown a short time earlier, but the Raiders’ top line went to work. After a timeout, Jamestown pulled goaltender Stahi Theofilactidis in favor of an extra attacker. Jameson Walsh won the faceoff to the right of ELPS goaltender Colton Hornquist and Jamestown’s Liam Nickerson carried the puck below the goal line. Before getting behind the ELPS net, Nickerson flipped the puck to Walsh in tight and the Southwestern senior was able to jam home a shot that glanced off Hornquist and barely crossed the goal line, sending the large crowd — including the student section behind the ELPS goal — into a frenzy.

Walsh gained an opportunity to win the game just before the buzzer to end regulation, but Hornquist was able to turn the shot away.

In overtime, Jamestown elected to play three forwards with one defenseman and had possession first, but once ELPS gained control, Smith used his speed to isolate a Jamestown defender before getting in alone on Theofilactidis and beating him over his blocker shoulder for the title-clinching marker.

“You get that revived feeling back,” Bergman said of the tying goal. “They have a couple of good forwards. Going 4-on-4 or 3-on-3, I had the confidence to throw one defenseman out there with our forwards. … It’s a game of bounces sometimes.

“With the line we had out there, against their line, you could flip a coin and it would go a different way each time,” Bergman added.

ELPS struck first at 4:03 of the first period when Max Huttenlocker fed Gabriel Kempf for the 1-0 lead.

Jamestown answered just over a minute later as Meyer Talbett worked behind the net and then fed Walsh in the slot for the tying goal.

ELPS made it 2-1 at 14:07 of the second period. With Jamestown on a power play, Smith intercepted a pass near the top of the offensive zone and then split a pair of defenders before getting to his forehand to beat Theofilactidis.

“We were running the umbrella. You do or die with the umbrella,” Bergman said. “Once again, it was a bad bounce going the wrong way.”

Again, Jamestown answered. With ELPS’ Kyle Huttenlocker in the penalty box for roughing, Jamestown scored on the power play as Nickerson fed Brandon Smith in front of the net for a crafty deflection goal to make it 2-2 with 1:14 remaining in the second period.

Less than five minutes after the ice was cleared for the start of the third period, ELPS scored the go-ahead goal when a shot from a bad angle was not cleared out of the Jamestown crease and Smith banged it home for his second goal of the game.

Jamestown was unable to sustain much pressure for the remainder of the third period, until Walsh and Nickerson hooked up in the final minute.

“They’ve exploded here in the last three weeks of the season. If one of them was down, the other two would pick it up,” Bergman said of his top line. ” … They were taking turns. They were tough no matter who was out there against them.”

Unfortunately, that would end up being the final goal of Jamestown’s season.

“I was thinking we would be lucky to hit .500 this year and we did that in our league. It’s been a night-and-day difference, especially these last two weeks,” Bergman said. “This weekend was our best hockey. We were peaking at the right time. Unfortunately, it was just that one goal.”

NOTES: Jamestown beat Half Hollow Hills 4-3 in their morning semifinal. Joseph Castellano scored a pair of first-period goals for Half Hollow Hills with Peter Menexas adding an assist en route to a 2-1 lead. For Jamestown, Bergen Nelson scored from Brandon Smith and Mason Lobb. Jamestown tied the game in the second period on Nickerson’s goal from Walsh. In the third period, Walsh gave Jamestown a 3-2 lead from Nickerson and Brandon Smith, but Half Hollow Hills answered when Jett Lucas scored from Castellano and Menexas. Walsh scored the game-winning goal from Nickerson and Talbett with 3:51 remaining.

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