February 15 2016
The ending to Saturday night's Elmira College men's ice hockey game against Utica College was like something you would see in a movie. Game tied in overtime, puck on the senior captain's stick, one-on-one versus the goaltender, a raucous crowd on its feet. Brian Depp '16 wrote the final lines, depositing a wrister past Utica goaltender Michael Fredrick on the penalty shot to lift the Soaring Eagles to a come-from-behind 3-2 victory over the Pioneers on Class of 2016 Recognition Night.
For the second consecutive night and three straight overall, 60 minutes of regulation was not enough to determine a winner. With just under two minutes remaining in the extra-session, Carter Shinkaruk '16, who also wrote an important chapter of his own during this thrilling contest, lifted an area pass from his own end into the neutral zone. Depp skated onto the puck and had a step on the Pioneers defense, as he charged to the goal. The EC captain was hauled down by Utica's Hayden Hanson just as he was about to release a shot, as the pair went crashing into the cage. The referee signaled for a penalty shot.
After a bit of a delay to explain the call on the ice to both benches, Depp was given the go-ahead for the final play of the game with the clock resting a 1:38 left in overtime. He weaved deliberately into the Utica end, before snapping a sinister wrist shot over the blocker of the Pioneers' netminder, popping the water bottle from its perch on top of the goal. Seconds later he was mobbed by his teammates, six of which were joining Depp in playing their final regular season home game during their celebrated careers.
Just as they did 24 hours earlier when another senior, Michael Collins '16, netted a late goal to force overtime, Elmira again found itself staring down another one-goal deficit late in the game on Saturday. Entering the period tied at 1-1, Utica's Trent Samuels-Thomas sent home a goal off a rebound to give the Pioneers a 2-1 lead with 9:06 remaining. However, just as Collins did last night, another member of the Class of 2016 came through with a clutch goal.
With Utica sitting back in a trap, making the neutral zone a quagmire of bodies, Elmira was able to dump a puck deep into the attacking end. Shinkaruk used his wheels to cut off Utica's attempt to clear the zone down in the left wing corner. From behind the end line, he flipped an innocent looking backhander towards the cage. However, Fredrick was cheating off the post and the puck was able to squeeze between the body and the post, deflecting off of the side of the Utica goaltender and into the cage to tie the score with 3:55 remaining.
Shinkaruk's goal marked the second deficit that Elmira was able to bridge in the contest. Similar to last night, it was Utica that would draw the first blood, as Shawn Lynch lifted the visitors to a lead at 12:54 of the first period.
It was none other than the eventual overtime hero who had the first answer for the Soaring Eagles. EC knotted the game at 1-1 late in the second period syncing up on a beautiful tic-tac-toe passing play. Blake O'Neill '19 hit Mitch Atkins '19 with a pass from the right point down at the bottom of the right circle. The EC freshmen quickly whipped it cross ice to Depp who has cutting toward the far post for a backdoor feed. The captain, who is commonly referred to by his teammates as Big Goal Depp, deposited the shot into the twine. Little did everyone in attendance know at that point, but the "big goal" was still yet to come.