MIDDLETOWN – Three goals in the final two minutes of a rivalry bout between High School North and South allowed the Eagles to secure its second consecutive Mayor’s Cup victory by a 5-3 decision.
Though the Lions snapped a stalemate in the opening minute of the third period by way of a John Miranda power play tally, the Eagles sustained offensive zone pressure with under three minutes remaining in regulation, as Michael Volpi accepted a pass from Andreas Forand during a four-on-four situation and registered his second goal of the game to knot the contest once more at 3-3.
“After we scored that one late to even things up, I just knew we were going to come out on top. We were on the power play after that, and all year our power play has been our best attribute. With a man advantage, I just knew something was going to happen, and it was going to be special,” said Volpi, the Eagles senior captain and second leading scorer with 18 points on nine goals and nine assists.
Following Volpi’s marker, Middletown South continued to attack with a man advantage, sending Aidan Cavendish to the front of the net where the junior jostled for position and redirected a Nate Block wrist shot past Lions keeper Justin Dickinson – who made 21 saves – for the eventual game-winning goal with 1:19 remaining.
Just 20 seconds later, Cavendish forced a neutral zone turnover and slid his seventh goal of the season into an empty net.
“They were beating us up pretty good during the first and second period, but even when we were down in the third, we felt like we had things under control,” Cavendish said. “Everyone had good energy, we were ready, and we knew we could come back. It’s a great moment for our program, and feels great to do it for our seniors.”
Forand opened the scoring 90 seconds into the second period off a set up on the power play by Volpi.
But the lead was short-lived as John Betz cleaned up a rebound on an odd-man rush, and Jimmy Mullarney put the Lions up a goal by poking home his team-leading fourth of the season.
The Eagles evened the score at 2-2 with 35 seconds remaining in the middle frame, when Volpi fired through a screen from the right point.
“I thought (North) was carrying the play a lot, beating us to pucks. We had some self-inflicted wounds early on and needed to improve our attention to detail entering the third. But really it came down to, you have 15 minutes left in the Mayor’s Cup. You have to put it all on the line here,” Eagles coach Andrew Rosenbloom said. “You have to give this everything you’ve got for the five seniors we have on this team, and everyone in this locker room.”
With the victory, the Eagles improve to 3-0-2 in the last five Mayor’s Cup meetings.
Middletown North’s last Mayor’s Cup win came in 2015-16, when the Lions finished the year 19-3-1 and fell in the state semifinals to Ramsey.