Semi Finals of the Founders Cup as Neuqua Valley takes on crosstown foe, Naperville Central. The Redhawks beat the Wildcats in both regular season meetings, but that means the Wildcats will be looking for revenge.
The Wildcats come out firing right out of the gate. 15 seconds in, Michael Viola throws it on net and Dean Dudzik slams home the games 1st goal with his 17th in conference play.
5 and a half to play in the 1st. The Redhawks get some action on net, Jack Blanchard makes a save, but Michael Szczesniak is there for the rebound to send this one to the 2nd period even at 1.
20 seconds into the 2nd, Central dumps the puck in. Blanchard plays it, but he gives it up and Matthew Wadwha beats the netminder back to the crease. Redhawks lead 2-1.
A few minutes later the Wildcats have a man advantage. Jake Haggerty wins a battle for the puck and kicks it to Marco Rovito. He goes top shelf on Cam Moore and this game is tied at 2.
The Wildcats have a 5 on 3 power play and that allows them to spread the puck out. Michael Viola finds Charlie Rutherford with the snipe past Moore and Neuqua takes the lead 3-2.
A few minutes later, the Wildcats are gifted with a 7 minute power play, but it’s the Redhawks that go on the attack. A Neuqua turnover gives Central a 2 on 0 break. They get some action on net, and Brendan Whelan slides it past Blanchard to tie the game at 3.
Final minute of the 2nd, a Wildcat turnover gives Jordan Spitz a breakaway. He makes a nifty move to the backhand to give the Redhawks a 4-3 advantage heading to the 3rd period.
5 minutes into the 3rd, the Wildcats even the game up. Dean Dudzik hits Matt Hill on a breakaway. The captain goes to the backhand to beat Cam Moore and this game is tied at 4.
The Wildcats with the momentum now and just a few moments later Cody Houlihan takes advantage of a turnover and buries it past Cam Moore. However, Central does tie it up at 5 which sends this game to a shootout.
No score in the bottom of the 3rd. Max Conway snaps it stick side on Blanchard to put Central up 1-0.
It’s 1-0 Redhawks in the top of the 5th which means Matt Hill must score to keep the Wildcats season alive, however he once again goes to the backhand to finish it off. That sends us to sudden death.
Top of the 6th it’s Quinn Farnaus in his 1st game back from injury and he snaps it past Moore to make it 2-1 NV.
That means Frank Novak must score to keep this one alive for Central, but Blanchard makes the save to send Neuqua Valley to the Founders Cup Championship against Oswego.