Mellen OT goal sends Wildcats past RFA

WG hockey now 15-0 after tense 1-0 classic

— “That kid’s a warrior,” Colabufo said. “He thrives in this kind of moment. He gives you everything he’s got.”

Mellen played great, but goaltender Henry Burns continuously blocked shots to keep the Wildcats alive. He was aided by some sloppy shooting on RFA’s part, but still kept his composure in a game where one goal would decide the winner. Burns finished with 20 saves, the same total as Hart.

“It’s kind of nerve-wracking when you know if you make one mistake, you’re going to lose the game,” he said.

But Colabufo said he’s always comfortable with Burns in the net. “He’s very efficient,” Colabufo said. “He gets in position, he controls his rebounds, that’s who he’s been all year.”

Burns made two phenomenal saves in the third period. With 11:57 left, RFA’s Justin Hussey ripped a shot at the top right side of the net, causing all the RFA players and fans to cheer as if the puck hit the back of the net.

But Burns said he heard the puck hit the top crossbar despite not even seeing the puck, saw the referee signal “no goal,” found the puck, and promptly kicked it away to keep the game 0-0.

An even better save came in the waning seconds of regulation. As the clock ticked down, RFA’s J.T. Entelisano had a great one-on-one opportunity against Mellen. Entelisano got the shot off, but Burns saved it with eight seconds to go in the game, effectively sending it into overtime.

“I saw it in the last second,” Burns said, “and I just felt it under my armpits so I tried to just squeeze it as tight as I could.”

It was yet another nail bitter in a heated West Genesee-RFA rivalry, and it provided more heartbreak for the Black Knights, who not only had chances thwarted by Burns, but saw three other shots careen off various posts in regulation.

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