The Pittsburgh Vengeance leaped to a 1-0 series lead over the Metro Jets with a 4-3 overtime victory last night at the Alpha Ice Complex.
Metro started strong, outshooting the Vengeance 18-3 in the first. The Jets opened the scoring 7:31 into the period, as they capitalized on a nifty tic-tac-toe play that resulted in Mattias Tellstrom sliding the puck under Vengeance goaltender Joel De Simone. Pittsburgh was able to capitalize later in the first, as defenseman Martino Picariello took advantage of a turnover in the Jets zone and sniped a quick wrister bar down on Jets goalie Jake Gwillim.
The score remained tied at 1-1 until Austin Martz once again capitalized on a Jets turnover, picking off the puck and firing a wrister beating Gwillim on the glove side 8 minutes into the middle frame. The Jets continued putting the pressure on, throwing another 14 shots on De Simone in the second and finally evening the game with two minutes remaining in the period.
Metro took its first lead of the game 9 minutes into the third, as Jason Newel threw a puck to the front of the net that deflected off a Vengeance defender and fluttered over the shoulder of De Simone. The Vengeance started throwing more rubber at Gwillim, but were unable to capitalize until the dying seconds of the period. With De Simone on the bench for the extra attacker, Picariello was able to slam home his second of the game, evening up the score with 7 seconds remaining in regulation.
De Simone remained strong in net for the Vengeance, stopping 51 of 54 shots in his 68 minutes of icetime. 8 minutes into the extra frame, Pittsburgh turned a Jets opportunity into an odd-man rush the other way, as Vinny Casale found Spencer Smith in the slot for the initial shot on net. Gwillim stopped the Smith chance, but kicked the rebound to Casale who buried the loose puck to clinch the Vengeance victory.
Pittsburgh and Metro are traveling back to Fraser for the remainder of the series. The puck will drop on game 2 tonight at 7:30, and game 3, if necessary, will start tomorrow at 12:45. Follow along on HockeyTV!