WOONSOCKET -- Jaryd Dulieu couldn’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 Friday’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. George’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.
“It’s a big win for us,” said Cumberland coach Mark Andreozzi, “but like I told the guys in the (locker) room, Rogers isn’t going to go away. They’re not going to fold their tents. They’re a good team, and we have to come to play tomorrow, take that long bus ride, and be ready to go.”
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.
Lake’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 Pluta’s goal at 2:26 and Salisbury’s team-leading 15th goal of the year at 8:51, and judging by the way Lake was playing in goal for the first 2½ 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.