Jason Despard's second power play goal of the game 2:22 into overtime gave the Fermi-Enfield hockey team a 5-4 victory over Suffield-Granby-Windsor Locks in high school action Wednesday at the .
Fermi-Enfield trailed 4-2 before Despard's first goal with 4:51 remaining in regulation time.
In the final minute of the third period, Fermi-Enfield coach Frank Genovese pulled goaltender Aaron Lickwar in favor of a sixth attacker, and the strategy paid off as Cam Korona netted the tying goal with 38 seconds to play.
Suffield's Tommy Padrevita took a hooking penalty at 2:17 of overtime, and Fermi-Enfield capitalized five seconds later on Despard's second goal to earn the victory and a berth in the Division 1 state tournament.
"Jason has really worked his way up," Genovese said. "He has really good hands, he's worked very hard to get to this spot and he certainly helped us today with two big goals."
After Fermi-Enfield's Nick Varner started the scoring with 2:19 left in the first period, Ryan Kertanis tied it for the Wildcats as time expired in the session.
Max Marson pushed Suffield in front early in the second period, then near the end of the period, Ed Motherway stole the puck near the Fermi-Enfield net and tallied a shorthanded goal to give the Wildcats a 3-1 lead at the second intermission.
Brendan Lemire scored on a partial breakaway early in the third period to bring Fermi-Enfield back within one, but Padrevita scored on a screen shot from the left point three minutes later to re-establish the Wildcats' two-goal margin.
"This was one of the most complete games we've played," Suffield head coach Nick Boorman said. "We've been playing really good hockey and we played good enough to win today, but that's not taking anything away from Fermi-Enfield. We wanted them to make the playoffs, they deserve to be in the playoffs - we just didn't want them to do it at our expense."
The win was Fermi-Enfield's eighth of the season, qualifying them for the state tournament, and snapped a four-game losing streak.
"It was one of our goals to reach the state tournament, and we're obviously very excited about it," Genovese said. "We'll be working hard and be ready to go."
Suffield (10-9) has already qualified for the Division II tournament.
Both teams will hold their Senior Day festivities Saturday in a doubleheader at the Twin Rinks. Fermi-Enfield takes on Tri-Town at 2:40 p.m., then Suffield hosts NFA-St. Bernard-Bacon at 5 p.m.
Goals: Jason Despard (2), Nick Varner, Brendan Lemire, Cam Korona.
Assists: Nick Ferracci (2), Adam Macsata, Lemire, Despard, Evan Boissy, Avery Boissy.
Goals: Ryan Kertanis, Tommy Padrevita, Max Marson, Ed Motherway.
Assists: Drew Ash (2), Padrevita, Motherway.
Score By Periods
F-E 1 0 3 1 - 5
S-G-WL 1 2 1 0 - 4
F-E: Aaron Lickwar, 15
S-G-WL: Nick Burgio, 28