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McKenelley's Late Goal Caps Off Comeback Win at Salve Regina

McKenelley's Late Goal Caps Off Comeback Win at Salve Regina

MIDDLETOWN, R.I. – Freshman Jake McKenelley (Middleton, Mass.) scored with 29 seconds remaining in regulation, capping a three-goal comeback as the Wentworth Institute of Technology ice hockey team edged nationally ranked Salve Regina, 4-3, at the Portsmouth Abbey Rink.

With the win the Leopards improve to 6-8-4 overall and 4-5-1 in Commonwealth Coast Conference play while the Seahawks, ranked 14th in the latest USCHO.com Division III Men's Poll and 15th in the latest D3Hockey.com Men's Poll, fall to 10-5-2 (7-2-1) after their two-game win streak comes to an end. The win marked the first time since December 31, 2012, Wentworth has defeated a team ranked in the D3Hockey.com Poll (at Middlebury, 3-2) while it was the first time since defeating Salve Regina on November 30, 2016 (3-2), the Black & Gold has knocked off a team ranked in the USCHO.com Poll.

Sophomore Jake Hallisey (Quincy, Mass.) got the Leopards on the board with a goal 4:01 into the opening stanza as he was set up by freshman Joey O'Leary (Boston, Mass.) and McKenelley. Just over five and a half minutes later, Salve Regina got the equalizer as sophomore Danny Eruzione (Winthrop, Mass.) scored on the power play from sophomore Vincenzo Renda (Westmount, Que.) and freshman Matthew Dillon (Grafton, Mass.) at 9:39.

The second period saw no scoring, however, both teams had chances, including when Wentworth went on a major power play and had a 5x3 situation late in the period. The Leopards, who had an 11-10 shot advantage in the frame, were unable to capitalize leaving the score at 1-all through 40 minutes of action.

A pair of goals 48 seconds apart put the hosts ahead 3-1. Eruzione netted his second of the game from Renda and sophomore John McClean (North Andover, Mass.) to make it 2-1 before Eruzione and Renda set up sophomore Paul Boutoussov (Dana Point, Calif.) making it a two-goal game with 14:34 remaining.

After not scoring on its first five power-play attempts, Wentworth's comeback came all via the power play. At the 9:03 mark, senior Angus Johnston (Calgary, Alta.) scored from classmate Paul Filippone, III (Cranston, R.I.). Just 55 seconds later, junior Nate Chase (Plainfield, Ill.) evened the score when he was set up by McKenelley and senior Ethan Weiss (Troy, Mich.). With the game seeming as if it would be headed to overtime, McKenelley's sixth goal of the season was the biggest of his rookie campaign as he put Wentworth ahead after being set up by junior Adam Tracey (Sleepy Hollow, N.Y.) and Weiss. Salve Regina pulled senior Blake Wojtala (Trenton, Mich.) for an extra attacker with 23 seconds left. However, a pair of Seahawk penalties 12 seconds later ended the extra attacker and the Leopards held on for the win.

McKenelley finished the weekend series with five points, coming on three goals and two assists as he had a goal and an assist on Saturday, coming on the heels of a two-goal performance in Friday's game.

Freshman Ryan Bonnvie (Falmouth, Maine) improved to 3-0 on the season as he made 35 saves. Wojtala made 29 saves for Salve Regina, which had a 38-33 shot advantage. Wentworth finished 3-for-10 on the power play while the Seahawks were 2-for-5.

Wentworth continues CCC play next weekend with a series against No. 12/13 University of New England. Friday night's game will be in Biddeford, Maine, while Saturday afternoon's tilt will be at Allied Veterans Rink.

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