By Mike Dougherty
BREWSTER – There was no longer a reason to worry once Frank Gavigan locked in on a loose puck in the neutral zone.
In a matter of seconds, Yorktown had some breathing room.
“I’ve been watching Frank do that for three years now,” Huskers forward Liam Donnelly said of the short-handed goal with 4:58 to play that propelled the Huskers to a 6-4 win over Carmel on Sunday at Brewster Ice Arena. “He puts a smile on my face every time.”
A minute after going ahead 4-3, Yorktown committed an untimely turnover and was promptly whistled for a pair of infractions while attempting to dead-end a Tyler Alfonzetti breakaway.
Gavigan jumped a lazy pass when play resumed and was by the Rams’ defensemen in an instant. He finished in front with a nasty wrist shot and was greeted by a swarm of relieved teammates. The Huskers went on to kill the penalties and extended the lead to 6-3 when Shaun Benson deposited a rebound with 3:48 to play.
It was a heartbreaking stretch for Carmel.
“That was a tough spot,” said Gavigan, who finished with two goals and two assists. “It’s a real close game, and right after we score to go ahead, it’s 5-on-3, but we stuck it out and I was lucky enough to put in the dagger. I just picked it up and was so relieved to get one there because they were coming, they were getting a lot of good chances.”
Yorktown (7-3) lost by five in an early-season meeting with the Rams.
“There’s a lot of chemistry on this team we haven’t had in the past, so we’re really working well together,” Donnelly said.
And there are role players making contributions.
“Everybody across the board, they’ve all got a job to do and they know that,” Huskers coach Bob Fritche said. “Even our third line, get out there and push the puck, give the other guys a minute to rest.”
An improved Madison Drezek made 21 saves in the win.
“It’s a huge confidence boost for us to know we have someone who can back us up when we put pucks in the net like we did tonight,” Gavigan said.
Carmel (4-2-1) was chasing the entire game, but was confident after Michael Gamby knotted the score 3-3 with 8:52 to play. Gavigan stole all the momentum back with his short-hander. Gamby also came up with a power-play goal with 24 seconds remaining.
“Every game has been like this one,” Donnelly said. “It’s good to see the boys come together in a spot like that. We don’t give up, and that’s what’s special about this team.”