Uncasville, CT – For the second week in a row, the New England Black Wolves were tied in the closing seconds of regulation at Mohegan Sun Arena.
This time, though, the winning goal did not come until one minute, 53 seconds into overtime.
That’s when New England’s Chad Culp took a behind-the-back feed from Shawn Evans and beat goalie Matt Vinc to clinch a 10-9 victory over the Rochester Knighthawks before 4,543 fans on Friday night.
“I just saw Evy had the ball over on the right side and my guy was kind of cheating towards him,” said Culp, who had his third straight two-goal game with the Black Wolves. “I just figured I’d stay where I was, watch my guy go and Evy’s a smart enough guy and a really good passer. He just found me once my guy slid to him, and I was able to get a shot off. Luckily, it went in.”
Last Saturday, it was a goal by Kevin Crowley in the closing seconds of regulation that lifted the Black Wolves to a 13-12 victory over the Buffalo Bandits.
Six days later, the Black Wolves (2-3) were in position to pull out another one-goal win in regulation after Culp put his team ahead 9-8 with 3:15 left in regulation. But New England – which allowed an 8-3 second-half lead to slip away, surrendered a game-tying goal with 38.9 seconds remaining.
New England had one last shot in regulation, but could not covert and it was on to overtime.
Shawn Evans (two goals, two assists) and Kevin Crowley (two goals) helped lead the offense while Evan Kirk had a season-high 46 saves. Pat Saunders had one goal and three assists.
“It’s a game of momentum, right,” said Jay Thorimbert, who had 13 loose balls while winning 15 of 22 faceoffs. “Anytime you can put a few wins together, shoulders stay up, heads held high, everybody has a mojo flowing and you’re feeding off the energy.”
Thanks in large part to the strong play of Kirk, who turned away 32 of 33 shots by the Knighthawks (2-3) in the first 30 minutes, New England went into halftime with a 5-1 lead. Rookie Seth Oakes and defenseman Derek Searle each had their first career goals while Culp, Evans and Kevin Buchanan also had first-half goals.
New England will try to make it three wins in a row when it visits Georgia for the second time this season on February 11th. The Black Wolves fell 14-9 at Georgia.