Skyline finished their regular season on Saturday night against the Milford Mavericks with a 5-3 win, finishing with a record of 18-5-0. Tommy Letke and Brendan Cobb shared duties in net to get the win for the team.
Senior captain Ryan VanDiepen (assisted by Luke Lippert) got the Eagles on the board first as he put back a rebound about midway through the first period to make it 1-0. Milford scored late in the period to tie it up at 1-1 on a bang-bang play that beat freshman goalie Tommy Letke just as the Eagles had killed a penalty, and this was the way things would go throughout the game as neither team could pull away from the other.
Second period action saw the Mavericks take the lead when they capitalized on a 2-man advantage to make it 2-1. Later in the period, Skyline had its own 2-man advantage and made quick work of it when Luke Lippert (assisted by Henry Hescheles) scored to knot the score at 2-2.
The third period saw Skyline once again bear down and outlast their opponent. Sophomore defenseman Henry Hescheles (assisted by Zach Roberts and Noah Bradburn) scored a beauty on the powerplay with 10:31 left to play when he picked up a rebound in the high slot and sent a rocket into the upper right corner to get the lead back 3-2.
Try as they might, however, Skyline just couldn’t get the 2-goal lead, and Milford tied it up at 3-3 two-and-a-half minutes later with a quick wrap around that fooled Cobb, who had replaced Letke midway through the second period so each player could see some time between the pipes.
The score remained tied until Noah Bradburn (assisted by Ryan VanDiepen) beat the Maverick netminder to put the Carolina Blue up 4-3 with less than 3 minutes remaining.
Then with only 1:22 left, Bradburn took a penalty, which forced Skyline to play shorthanded the rest of the game, giving Milford a golden opportunity to tie the game back up. In order to get more attackers on the ice, the Maverick goaltender was pulled, which gave them a two-man advantage in the waning seconds of the game.
Just 20 seconds into the powerplay, however, Ryan Schmunk corralled an errant breakout pass as Isaac Lippert pressured the Maverick puck carrier deep in their own zone. Schmunk made no mistake as he confidently shot the puck into the open net to get that elusive two-goal cushion. Skyline was able to ride out the remaining minute and seal the victory.
The Eagles start the playoffs on Monday at 7 p.m. against Pioneer at the Coliseum in Chelsea. They beat Pioneer earlier in the season in overtime.
Story by Tim Bradburn