WOONSOCKET -- Jaryd Dulieu couldnâ€™t have picked a perfect time to score the biggest goal of his high school career.
The senior co-captain lit the lamp on a pass from Jake Salisbury 3:51 into overtime to lift the Clippers to a 3-2 triumph over the Rogers/Tiverton/Rocky Hill co-op squad on Friday night in the opening contest of their best-of-three Division II quarterfinal-round series at Adelard Arena.
The Clippers, who two nights earlier, topped their co-op opponent in their regular-season finale to earn the fourth seed in the tournament and Fridayâ€™s home game, improved to 13-4-1 and will try to nail down the series tonight.
The Clippers will have to take their longest bus ride of the season for their 7:30 p.m. duel with the Vikings at the St. Georgeâ€™s School skating facility in Middletown, and if a third and deciding contest is needed, it will be held on Monday night back at Adelard at a time to be announced.
â€śItâ€™s a big win for us,â€ť said Cumberland coach Mark Andreozzi, â€śbut like I told the guys in the (locker) room, Rogers isnâ€™t going to go away. Theyâ€™re not going to fold their tents. Theyâ€™re a good team, and we have to come to play tomorrow, take that long bus ride, and be ready to go.â€ť
Sophomore goalie Leo Lake was certainly ready to go between the pipes for the Clippers in his postseason debut. He turned away 44 shots in a marvelous effort that saw the fifth-seeded co-op team (which only 13 players in uniform) outshoot their hosts in each period and end up with a 46-27 advantage in shots.
Lakeâ€™s biggest save of the night came with 7:06 to play in the middle period and his team holding a 1-0 edge. Vikings sniper Connor Rubin, who was tied for second in the division in goals with 27, broke free on a breakaway, only to be stopped cold by Lake, who made a sprawling right pad save to kick away the puck.
Then in the nearly four minutes of play in overtime, Lake stopped eight shots and made a brilliant diving stick save on a shot by Rubin during a power play by the visitors.
The Clippers grabbed a 2-0 lead in the second period on Andrew Plutaâ€™s goal at 2:26 and Salisburyâ€™s team-leading 15th goal of the year at 8:51, and judging by the way Lake was playing in goal for the first 2Â˝ periods, it looked like Cumberland was well on its way to victory.
But Rubin got his revenge with 6:43 left in the game with a shorthanded goal, as he stole the puck from a Clippers defenseman, skated in on Lake, and beat him with a wrist shot.
Things then went from bad to worse for the Clippers more than a minute later. With 5:42 on the clock, the Vikings found themselves on a 5-on-3 power play for a full 89 seconds, and with 4:31 to play, they tied the score on another goal by Rubin.