PORTSMOUTH, RI – Three goals in the third period sent the Johnson & Wales University men's ice hockey team to the semifinals of the Commonwealth Coast Conference tournament. Nicholas Gray scored with 6:33 remaining and the sixth-seeded Wildcats held on to beat No. 3 Salve Regina 4-3.
Johnson & Wales: 11-11-4
Salve Regina: 14-8-4
JWU: Joey Ballmer - 38 saves, 3 goals
SRU: Blake Wojtala - 20 saves, 4 goals
Tied at 1-1 after two periods, JWU got a quick 2-1 lead when Ben Brouillard (Somerset, Mass.) scored just 14 seconds into the third period. But just as fast as the Wildcats scored, the Seahawks answered 11 seconds later.
Brouillard set up Gray (Stafford, Va.) on the power play halfway through the third period to put JWU back on top, 3-2. However, two minutes later Salve Regina answered to knot the game at 3-3. Johnson & Wales took the lead for good at the 14:27 mark when Gray scored his second goal of the game.
From there JWU senior goalie Joey Ballmer (Kalamazoo, Mich.) took over. He stopped the final six shots he faced to seal the victory. Ballmer made 38 saves as the Wildcats were outshot 41-24. JWU was 2-3 on the power play while the Seahawks were 1-2.
Johnson & Wales moves on to face top-seeded Endicott on Wednesday at 7 p.m.