Sandwich boys ice hockey upsets top-seeded Norwell, advances to state championship – Cape Cod Times

BOURNE — The Sandwich boys hockey team is on its way to the state championship game for the first time since 2008 after a double-overtime victory Tuesday over top-seeded Norwell.
With 27.3 seconds left in the game, Sandwich goalie Mitchell Norkevicius passed the puck to Jack Connolly as he raced down the left side of the rink with defenders close behind. Connolly had nobody in front of him except Norwell’s goalie Mitch Beltrami when he hit the puck into the top right of the net, notching a 3-2 victory and a trip to the Division 4 state championship.
The Blue Knights emptied the bench and ran onto the ice as they threw their hats and sticks into the air and rushed to hug Connolly. The crowd that filled Gallo Arena went crazy. The team skated over to the Sandwich section of the crowd and showed them love for showing up. 
“My primary move is just to flip (the puck) up top right, so I had the feeling I was going to score,” Connolly said after the game. 
“When it went in, I didn’t even know what to do,” he said. “My teammates and everybody else thought I was going to score.”
Making the Final Four: Sandwich boys hockey dominates Shawsheen in shutout victory
The fourth-seeded Blue Knights upset the number one seeded Norwell Clippers, handing them their second loss of the season. 
Although they got the win, it did not come easy. It was a battle of the goalies as Norkevicius and Beltrami each had 28 shots on goal come their way.
They both made great saves throughout five periods of play. They did whatever was needed to prevent the puck from getting past them. 
“It’s stressful and fun for me as a goalie,” Norkevicius said. “You just have to put the stress and pressure behind you because you have one job to do. You have to do it for your teammates, coaches and all the fans.” 
Early in the game, with just under four minutes left in the first period, Sandwich goalie Norkevicius stopped two potential goals by Norwell back-to-back. That defensive stop led to an offensive attack and the first goal of the game by Connolly off his skate with 3:04 left on the clock. Chris Cardillo provided the assist.
“I kind of angled my skate, but I didn’t think it was going to go in at all,” Connolly said. 
With 4:37 left in the second period, Norkevicius made a stop on a shot by Nowell, but Joe Daly was right there for the rebound goal that tied the score 1-1. The second period ended in a tie.
In the final period, with 11:16 left on the clock, the first penalty of the game gave Norwell a 5-on-4 advantage. Norwell did not waste that two-minute penalty as Kevin Leary scored on an assist from Declan Devin and gave them a 2-1 lead. 
Making the Round of 8: Sandwich boys win 5-2 against Boston Latin Academy in Division 4 Round of 16 hockey
“We had a lot of time left and we all had to buckle down and do our jobs the best way we could, but I felt confident about our team,” Norkevicius said about being down 2-1. 
The Blue Knights shared that confidence and came right back with a goal from Colin McIver with 8:43 remaining to tie the game at 2-2.
“I looked up and saw a little space, but I didn’t get a lot of pressure, so I took a little space and kind of threw up a prayer and I think it hit the post and went in.” 
The score was still tied 2-2 when the period ended. The trip to the state championship game would be decided in overtime. Neither team scored in the first overtime period. The second overtime became a 3-on-3 contest.
Curious Cape Cod: Can you name the magnificent 7 bridges of Wellfleet?
As the clock ticked down on a scoreless second overtime, it appeared the teams were headed toward a shootout until Connolly’s last-second goal ended the game.
When Connolly got the puck from Norkevicius with seconds left in the game, Sandwich coach Jordan Mohre knew he would score.
“When he got that puck between the red and blue line, we knew it was going in,” Mohre said. “Everybody on the bench was ready to celebrate. Jack has ice water in his veins and bullets in his glove. That thing was released, gone and good.”
Sandwich has another tough challenge ahead as they face the second-seeded Watertown Red Raiders on Sunday at TD Garden in Boston at a time to be announced.
“We are right where I thought we would be,” Mohre said. “We’ve played against good teams along the way … As you get into these tough games, you rely on your systems and that’s where your foundation is. When you win, it furthers that foundation even more.”
Contact Courtney Jacobs at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter: @CJ_Journalist.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *