Chelsea and Ann arbor Skyline squared off tonight at the Arctic Coliseum in Chelsea for the Southeast Conference Championship. Chelsea came into the game with an edge in points with 1 but Skyline had been on a roll as of late. But it was the Bulldogs who would take the victory and the SEC championship in a 5-4 battle.
Skyline started fast as they scored about the 10-minute mark. But then less than a minute later Chelsea went on the power play and would tie it up an unassisted goal by Braden Steele. The score would remain tied as Chelsea goalie Aidan Boote made several great saves behind his stingy, hard-hitting defense.
Then with 2 and a half minutes left to go, it was Cooper Mattson taking a rebound and putting the puck in the back of the net for a Chelsea lead going into the break.
With only a minute and a half gone in the second period, it was Chelsea senior defenseman Nate Bero taking a beautiful pass from Brennen Wright and burying the puck in the back of the net for a 2 goal Chelsea lead. This goal led Skyline to swap goalies. But it didn’t make much of a difference because less than 2 minutes later it was defenseman Thomas Steele scoring to help increase the Bulldogs lead.
But Skyline wasn’t rolling over and playing dead. They didn’t get as far as they did this season through luck. The ever battling Eagles came back with a big splurge of their own scoring 2 goals to cut the Bulldogs lead to 4-3 heading into the final stanza of the game.
At the 13:08 mark of the third the Bulldogs increased their lead with a score from Brad Sullivan, with Mattson assisting as he put the puck over the right shoulder of the Skyline netminder, top shelf for a 5-4 Chelsea lead.
But Skyline kept battling and with just 5 minutes to go in the game, Skyline struck from the right faceoff circle in Chelsea’s zone to cut the deficit. Skyline battled hard getting several opportunities but Boote stood tall down the stretch making save after save.
With just a minute and 53 seconds to go, Skyline went on the power play and with a minute left to go pulled their goalie giving Chelsea a 4 on 6 disadvantage but Skyline couldn’t corral the puck or get set up and as the clock sounded sealing the Chelsea victory in the history books, the loyal Bulldog fans erupted in cheers and breathed a sigh of relief as the players dogpiled and slammed into the boards in front of the Bulldogs student section in celebration.
It was a hard fought battle and both teams played their hearts out and left it all on the ice. Now Chelsea awaits to see who it plays next.