The OPRF Hockey Club closed out its regular season on Sunday night with a 5-4 win over St. Charles East.
The game was a back-and-forth affair that featured four ties and three lead changes, with Jack Brofman’s shorthanded goal with 1:24 remaining finally deciding OPRF’s fate. St. Charles East scored on its first shift of the game, but the Huskies quickly answered back with two power play goals to take a 2-1 lead.
Andy Dirgo took a pass from Zach Smith and blasted a slap shot through traffic from just inside the blue line to tie the score, and Matt McDonnell scored 40 seconds later to put the Huskies in front 2-1. McDonnell won a face-off in the St. Charles zone, skated to his right, and beat the Saints’ goalie with a wrist shot. However, the Huskies (5-15) seemed to relax at that point, and St. Charles East came back with two goals of its own to take a 3-2 lead at the end of the period.
Brett Newman, Kenny Javor, and Dean Rogers helped the Huskies tie the score early in the second period when they poked the puck into the net during a scramble in front of the Saints’ goal. Newman was credited with the goal, with Javor and Rogers picking up assists. St. Charles East scored a similar goal three minutes later to go back in front before McDonnell tied the score at 4-4 with his second goal of the night. Taking a pass from Kevin Meegan in the Huskies’ zone, McDonnell skated up the right boards, beat a defender, and scored on a high wrist shot from a tough angle.
The score remained tied for the remainder of the second period and most of the third thanks to Bob Grayson’s outstanding goaltending. Grayson (31 saves) stopped a St. Charles East breakaway late in the second period and then made a huge save on a point-blank shot with 4:19 remaining in the game.
The situation looked grim for the Huskies when they were whistled for a penalty with 2:54 to go, giving the Saints a 5-on-4 advantage, but the penalty only set the stage for Brofman’s heroics. Brofman skated the length of the ice, faked a low left-side shot to get the Saints’ goalie down, and then buried the puck in the open right side of the net for the game winner.
A press release contributed to this report.