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Dineen Cup Finals: Junior Bruins engineer four-goal comeback for 6-3 win; force Game 3

By Joshua Boyd / USPHL.com, 03/31/19, 6:45PM EDT

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The Boston Junior Bruins scored four unanswered goals in the third period to engineer a massive comeback inside of 10 minutes remaining in the third period for a 6-3 win.

The Junior Bruins had their backs against the wall, as the Connecticut Jr. Rangers, winners of Game 1, held a 3-2 lead and were gunning for their first-ever Dineen Cup title on Sunday night.

Instead, Game 3 will take place on Monday at 2 p.m., back at the New England Sports Center in Marlboro, Mass.

“I think it was huge for us. Game 2 is always been the biggest game of the series,” said Junior Bruins forward Robby Griffin, who had two goals in the victory. “We have a lot of momentum going into tomorrow.”

“It says a lot about the group we have, a special group with a lot of character and resiliency,” added Riley Prattson, who scored one goal and added one assist. “Last weekend was big for us, and there’s no reason we can’t do it again tomorrow.”

At the 12:58 mark of the third period, Griffin (a Northeastern commit) made a nifty spin move away from a check and off the wall for a well-placed shot for what was then a 3-3 tie. Just less than two minutes later, Ryan Lovett batted in a bouncing puck for what stood up as the game-winning goal.

But the Junior Bruins weren’t done yet. One goal up wasn’t enough, they wanted to keep this party going. Lovett and Mulera went on a breakaway at the 17:53 mark, and with 34 seconds remaining, Riley Prattson popped in the empty-net goal from his own zone to seal the deal.

“We talked before the game today that we didn’t want yesterday to define our season,” said Junior Bruins head coach Mike Anderson, whose team forced a second Game 3 in one week. “We left a lot on the table [in Game 1]. It wasn’t one of our better efforts at all. I think everyone understood that we wanted an opportunity to get back out and be better. It didn’t look that way for a while, but everything we did was better.”

The Connecticut Jr. Rangers appeared to be the better team early on that Sunday afternoon. They held a 2-0 lead into the early stages of the second period. The Rangers started with a goal that looked a lot like their opening goal from Game 1 - a hard point shot that found its way about 65 feet from the blue line across the Junior Bruins’ goal line, off the stick of Sam Milnes.

Some nice tic-tac-toe passing between Brad Ong, Samuel Timonen and Ole Andersen led to a power play goal by Ong at the 3:19 mark of the second period for the 2-0 lead.

The Junior Bruins were not resting on their laurels however. Just 1:36 after Ong’s goal, the Junior Bruins were on the board. A centering pass from Griffin found the stick of Matt Allen, who scored the B’s first at 4:55. About three minutes later, Luke Rowe made a neutral zone cross-ice pass to Griffin, who rifled it from just above the left faceoff circle for the tie score.

The tie lasted 6:15 before Noah Strawn sent the game to the third period with a 3-2 Jr. Rangers lead. In the end, of course, it just wasn’t their night.

“It was not even close to our effort from yesterday. It’s a best of three, so we’ll be ready for tomorrow. We’ll have to be more aggressive tomorrow,” said Rangers head coach Jim Henkel. “Yesterday, we went gas pedal to the floor. Today, we were tentative. It took us until the second half of the first period to really get ourselves going.”

“We’ve heard all about it all year, how good their offensive players are,” Henkel added, of the Junior Bruins. “You give them time and space and they’ll create.”

“We feel good. We know we have a lot of offense that showed in the last 10 minutes,” said Prattson. “We need to start at the puck drop tomorrow like we finished the third period today, and we’ll be in good shape.”