The “two-minute offence” may most typically be a gridiron tactic, but it found its way inside the glass on Tuesday afternoon (Feb. 6) at the Patriot Ice Center in Newark, Del., where the Newark/Tatnall Yellow Hornets tallied three unanswered goals in the final two minutes to defeat the St. Mark’s Spartans, 6-5, in a non-league matchup.
Down by two goals with 2:55 to go, the Newark/Tatnall side—tops in the eight-team Delaware High School Hockey League (DHSHL) with an 11-1-1 record—dug deep, crashed the net, and maintained a strong presence in the low slot through the final few shifts to erase the Spartans’ lead. After starting the flurry of Hornets productivity with a breakaway goal with 1:55 to go, second-leading scorer Drew Iannucci iced the comeback win for Newark/Tatnall, establishing himself by the left corner of the crease and redirecting a Lain Singer chance from the right point past St. Mark’s goalie Billy Pierce with just 14 seconds remaining.
It was a back-and-forth affair from the outset, with both teams alternating goals through the first two periods before the floodgates opened. St. Mark’s broke the 2-2 tie early in the third period and jumped out to a two-goal lead after Will Ralsten beat Newark/Tatnall goalie Ty Hutchinson with a pair of second-chance scores off rebounds directly in front of the crease in the first five minutes of the final frame. Gabe Jensen brought Newark/Tatnall to within a 4-3 margin with exactly six minutes to go, crashing the net for a rebound chance of his own before Kelly Stroik returned the Spartans’ lead to two with 2:55 remaining after recording assists on three prior St. Mark’s goals, including both Will Ralsten tallies as well as a Graham Kline goal in the second period.
The fifth St. Mark’s goal was their last of the afternoon, and their final chance in the attacking zone. Following Iannucci’s first goal and 18th of the season, the Hornets successfully pulled Hutchinson in favour of an extra attacker. Luke Headman connected in front of the crease with 49 seconds remaining to bring the Hornets into a tie on a third separate occasion of the game. After coach Mark Cardillo elected to use his timeout following the equaliser, Newark/Tatnall controlled the ensuing faceoff, worked into Spartans territory, and Iannucci was able to tap in the game-winning goal after working inside for position.
Hutchinson earned the win for Newark/Tatnall with 42 saves on 47 shots, while Pierce saved 25 of 31 shots he faced.