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Hitmen Alum Clifton Sparks Bruins Offense to Victory in Opening Game of Stanley Cup Final

By Matthew LaRochelle /, 05/28/19, 12:00AM EDT


The 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs are underway, and over 20 alumni from the United States Premier Hockey League (USPHL), Eastern Hockey Federation (EHF), and their member organizations are battling it out for NHL supremacy.  To see the full listing of alumni, CLICK HERE

Stanley Cup Final Game 1: Boston Bruins - 4, St. Louis Blues - 2

(BOS Leads Series, 1-0)

Facing a two-goal deficit early into the second period, the Boston Bruins stormed back to defeat the St. Louis Blues, 4-2, in Game 1 of the 2019 Stanley Cup Final at TD Garden on Monday night. The Bruins now hold an eight-game winning streak, extending back to their second round series against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

St. Louis, making their first appearance in the Cup Final since 1970, struck first blood just 7:23 into the first period, when Brayden Schenn collected the loose puck in the slot for the quick shot and score to make it 1-0 in favor of the Blues.

Following the first intermission, Blues forward Vladimir Tarasenko would extend their lead, 2-0, just one minute into the second period. Schenn intercepted the puck behind the Boston net, proceeding to pass it to an open Tarasenko for the one-timer and score from the slot.

Needing a spark on offense, the Bruins finally got on the board thanks to Jersey Hitmen alum, Connor Clifton. With 2:16 played in the second period, Clifton charged his way to the crease, redirecting a tough, cross-ice pass from Sean Kuraly into the net to cut Boston's deficit in half, 2-1.

"I saw [a 3-on-2 advantage] and I saw an opportunity to go to the net," Clifton stated following the victory.

Clifton's spark was exactly what the Bruins needed to get rolling again. Ten minutes later, at the 12:41 mark, Charlie McAvoy scored on the power-play to even the game up, 2-2. With Clifton and McAvoy's goals, the Bruins had multiple defensemen scoring in a single Stanley Cup Final game for the first time since 1990 (via NHL Public Relations).

The Bruins would get their first lead of the game, 3-2, at the 5:21 mark of the third period, when Kuraly would score the eventual game-winning goal past St. Louis goaltender, Jordan Binnington. The sequence began when Binnington failed to secure the puck following a shot on goal by Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara. South Shore Kings alumnus Noel Acciari found the rebound in the slot and fed the puck over to Kuraly on the right side of the crease for the shot and score.

Brad Marchand would add an empty-net goal with 1:49 remaining to secure the victory for Boston, 4-2.  

Clifton was named one of the three stars of the game, earning the third star with one goal and a plus-one rating.  Following the game, he spoke to the media on a number of topics.

Game 2 of the 2019 Stanley Cup Final will take place at TD Garden on Wednesday, May 29, at 8 p.m.


Zach Sanford - DNP (Scratched)



Noel Acciari (BOS) - 0G | 1A | 1P | 2 | 3 SOG | 13:53 TOI
Connor Clifton
 (BOS) - 1G | 0A | 1P | 1 | 1 SOG | 13:13 TOI
Charlie Coyle
 (BOS) - 0G | 0A | 0P | +/- 0 | 2 SOG | 14:58 TOI
Chris Wagner
 - DNP (Injury)