HALLOWELL – Matt Brooks thought about coming off for a line change but then changed his mind.
“I was originally coming off but then I got a good pass off the boards and decided to shoot it,” the Brunswick sophomore forward said.
It was a good decision – at least for No. 5 Dragons.
Brooks scored a minute into double overtime to give Brunswick a 3-2 victory over No. 4 Cony in a wild Eastern A quarterfinal game Tuesday night at the Bank of Maine Ice Vault.
The goal catapulted the Dragons (11-7-1) into the regional semifinals Saturday at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston.
Cony, which forced overtime when Tyler Leet scored with 23 seconds left in regulation, finished 11-5-3.
“I thought in OT we had our chances,” Cony coach Chad Foye said. “We just couldn’t finish. These guys worked so hard all year. It’s tough to see them like this now.”
The Rams were accustomed to erasing third-period deficits, particularly down the stretch this season.
They staged another rally before a lively crowd at the Vault when Leet scored from out front, but this time it wasn’t quite enough.
Cony rallied from a 2-0 deficit to tie Brunswick 2-2 in a regular season game Jan. 21.
“We knew it was going to be close,” said Brunswick coach Mike Routhier, whose team improved to 4-0-1 in overtime. “We were a little sloppy in the first overtime, and we thought we needed to get a jump on them in the second one.”
The Dragons did just that.
Brooks took a pass from, Kyle Woodruff and, with a defender in front of him, beat Cony goalie Tommy Small with a shot over the pads from the top of the circle.
“I was trying to get the puck between the (defenseman’s) leg and put it right on net,” Brooks said. “When it went in, I didn’t even know what to do.”
Brooks sent the Dragons home a winner when he beat Cony goalie Tommy Small with a low shot to the
Leet, a senior, scored with 23 seconds left in regulation with goalie Small pulled in favor of the extra attacker to send the game into overtime.
“We just didn’t panic,” Foye said. “We kept coming back.”
The teams were tied 1-1 after the first period before Woodruff gave Brunswick a 2-1 lead when he scored early in the second period.
The sophomore forward took a pass from Ryan Maciejewski and beat Small with a high shot to the far post.
Brunswick opened the scoring midway through the first period when Maciejewski collected a loose puck in front of the net and, with defenseman Zach Gagne on him, was able to knock the puck through the pads of Small.
It didn’t take long for Cony to answer.
Dallas Clark tied it when he roofed a shot past Alexander to the far post from below the right faceoff dot with 6:17 left in the period.
Sean Zubrod set up the goal, which came just under two minutes after the Dragons had gone ahead.
“I’m really proud of the way the guys played,” Foye said. “We gave it our best shot.”