Teddy Cahill, Special to The Plain Dealer | January 05, 2013 | Cleveland.com
ROCKY RIVER, Ohio – Holy Name coach Tim Sullivan drills two tenets about overtime into his players’ heads. The first is the game will be decided in either the first or last minute of overtime. The second is to put the puck on goal any chance you get, just in case it goes in.
In a Red North East game against Rocky River on Saturday afternoon, Holy Name showed it has been paying attention to Sullivan. Holy Name won the opening faceoff of overtime and junior forward Joe Meehan shot at the Rocky River goal. His shot was blocked by senior goalie Jake Nicholson, but sophomore forward Tyler Albitz pushed the rebound past Nicholson to give Holy Name a 4-3 victory just 23 seconds into overtime.
“It’s exactly what we tell the kids in overtime,” Sullivan said. “Put everything on net. It doesn’t have to be pretty, it just has to be in.”
Saturday was the fourth time Holy Name (15-5-1, 3-0-1) has played an overtime game this season.
“I feel that there’s no more pressure since I’ve been in so many,” Albitz said. “I feel that I’m used to it.”
Holy Name had a chance to avoid overtime Saturday after taking a 3-2 lead on a goal by junior forward Troy Mazzera with 4:25 left in the third period.
But the Pirates weren’t done yet. With just 30.9 seconds left in the game and playing with an empty net, Rocky River tied the game thanks to a goal by senior forward Bobby Perez, his second of the game.
Though Rocky River (14-3-1, 3-2-1) struck twice in the first period, Meehan kept the game tied with two first-period goals of his own.
“They did catch us a little bit off-guard,” Sullivan said. “We tried to slow them down in the second period – they were all over us – and I think we did that well in the third period.”
The Green Wave’s adjustments worked. Despite outshooting Holy Name, 19-11, in the second and third periods, Rocky River was held scoreless for 33 minutes before tying the game at three.
The victory extended Holy Name’s unbeaten streak to eight games, dating back to a 6-1 loss to Shaker Heights on Dec. 20. The Green Wave is now in a three-way tie for first place in the division with Rocky River and Walsh Jesuit.
For Rocky River, the loss came on the heels of tying Hudson on Friday night, leaving the Pirates with just one point from two division games this weekend.
“Our division’s pretty tight right now so every point that’s out there, we need to grab,” coach Chris Cogan said. “Tonight just didn’t work out in our favor.”
Teddy Cahill is a free-lance writer in Cleveland Heights.