Farinacci Scores with 1.7 Seconds Left, Manasquan Stuns St. John Vianney, 4-3, in Dowd Cup

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WALL TOWNSHIP — It ain’t over ’til it’s over.

After St. John Vianney tied it with 37.6 seconds remaining, everyone in the building was counting down to the overtime that seemed inevitable — everyone except Chris Farinacci.

“They chipped the puck past the blue line. I went to go retrieve it and I just heard, ‘Hold the puck, Hold the puck,’ so we could send it to overtime,” Farinacci said. “I just tried to fire it on net, hopefully for a little tip or something and it went right in. I was like, ‘Oh my God, I can’t believe that just happened.‘”

Farinacci’s blast from center ice, with 1.7 seconds remaining, capped an unbelievable cup final, sending third-seeded Manasquan-Point Pleasant Beach to a dramatic, 4-3, victory over second-seeded St. John Vianney in the 17th Dowd Cup championship in the wee hours Thursday night at Jersey Shore Arena in Wall.

Chris Farinacci, here moving the puck up ice, scored the game-winner from center ice with 1.7 seconds remaining, lifting Manasquan to a 4-3 win over St. John Vianney in Dowd Cup Final at Jersey Shore Arena in Wall Township, NJ. 2/20/20 (Tom Smith | tspsportsimages.com)

The goal, in the waning moments of regulation, capped off a run of four goals over the final 6:08 — including a pair of Manasquan goals 47 seconds apart, which gave the Big Blue Warriors a brief 3-2 lead.

But as the old adage goes, “You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.” 

“I saw it go in,” Farinacci said. “The best part was when I saw (Aidan) Wiseman running at me with so much excitement, all my teammates charging at me. Everyone was looking at the puck, I saw them all turn around and start skating at me. Luckily it turned out because the boys played so hard tonight — we really deserved that win.”

“Honestly, I didn’t see anything. I was getting our guys ready for overtime,” Manasquan coach Adam Houli said. “I actually told (Farinacci), ‘Hold it, eat it and let’s get to OT and regroup from there.’ Next thing I knew the puck was in the net.”

Manasquan goalie Connal Dougherty makes one of 22 saves with the blocker during the Dowd Cup Finals at Jersey Shore Arena in Wall Township, NJ. 2/20/20 (Tom Smith | tspsportsimages.com)

After capturing back-to-back Dowd Cups in 2018-’19, Thursday night’s tilt marked a three-peat and it couldn’t have come in more memorable fashion.

All tied at one after two periods of play, St. John Vianney, the defending Handchen Cup champions, took its first lead of the game 25 seconds into the third when Dom Troisi finished the play started by Jeff Ricci.

As precious seconds slipped away in the final frame, St. John Vianney went into a prevent defense forcing Manasquan to skate 200 feet through a wall of defenders standing up at the blue line. But with a faceoff deep in the offensive zone, Manasquan tied it back up on a tic-tac-toe finished off by Mike Farinacci with 6:08 left. Matt Franzoni and Brendan Kearney assisted on the game-tying goal.

Twenty-three seconds later, Ryan Kulaszewski was called for roughing and Manasquan went to work on the power play. Just 24 seconds into the man-advantage, Aidan Wiseman buried one to give the Warriors its second goal in 47 seconds and a 3-2 lead with 5:21 remaining.

St. John Vianney’s Sal Benvenuto is in position to halt Michael Farinacci (9) in close during the SJV-Manasquan Dowd Cup Final at Jersey Shore Arena in Wall Township, NJ. 2/20/20 (Tom Smith | tspsportsimages.com)

“Right before the faceoff I had some fan chirping me,” Wiseman, who won a NJSIAA title with Summit his freshman season, said. “Mike Farinacci gets it on the goal line, sees me back door and makes a perfect pass. It’s a wide open net for me, and honestly, the adrenaline hit me. It was like a goal I’ve never scored before.

“To win this with these guys like that? I really thought we were going to overtime,” Wiseman said. “With five seconds left, coach was shouting at Chris to eat it. He takes it to the middle and blasts it top corner — that happens one in a million games.”

Related: Still Perfect! Manasquan Defends 2019 Dowd Cup with 7-1 Triumph over Middletown North

St. John Vianney’s Jeff Ricci moves the puck across the high slot during the SJV-Manasquan Dowd Cup Final at Jersey Shore Arena in Wall Township, NJ. 2/20/20 (Tom Smith | tspsportsimages.com)

The game was far from over, however, and after a St. John Vianney timeout the Lancers pulled goalie Sal Benvenuto in favour of an extra attacker. The tactic worked to perfection with Colin Gartz tying the game at three with 37.6 seconds left.

“Jeff Ricci threw it in front in a desperate attempt, one last chance to score and I just tapped it in,” Gartz said. “We just crashed the net. We knew we had a chance if we got pucks on net.

“It’s really heartbreaking, but the best way to look at it is it builds character,” Gartz said. “Things happen in life and there’s nothing you can do about it. Just have to keep your head up and live another day.”

Related: Back-to-Back! St. John Vianney Edges Point Pleasant Boro for 2019 Handchen Cup

St. John Vianney’s Colin Gartz celebrates the game-tying goal with 37.6 seconds remaining in regulation during the SJV-Manasquan Dowd Cup Final at Jersey Shore Arena in Wall Township, NJ. 2/20/20 (Tom Smith | tspsportsimages.com)

Houli credited St. John Vianney for a hard-fought game that needed a full 45 minutes to decide it.

“It was a smart move, they made us skate the 200 feet, but it was expected. We knew we were going to have to do that,” Manasquan coach Adam Houli said. “We were just telling the guys, ‘Beat the first guy and beat your man to the net.’ That’s how it happened and the rebound was there. We were ready for that kind of moment. We’d been in tight games before. The bench was great. There was no sense of nervousness. We kept saying, ‘Get a Grade-A (chance) and you’re going to bury it.‘ We talked about it and executed.

“We’ve been on a lot of (the wrong side of) those bad bounces, but we certainly played until the end, executed our game plan, did the little things right and buried in front,” Houli said. “We happened to be right side of that game, but hats off to St. John’s they’re very well-coached. It was just a great game and we came out on top.”

Manasquan’s Michael Farinacci celebrates his goal with 6:08 left in the third period. The goal, which tied the game, 2-2, was the first of four goals over the final six minutes of the Dowd Cup at Jersey Shore Arena in Wall Township, NJ. 2/20/20 (Tom Smith | tspsportsimages.com)

In the end, it all came back to Farinacci and his miracle blast from center. St. John Vianney insisted the play was off-sides, but after officials conferred it was deemed a good goal and the celebration was on.

“I’m not going to blame anyone on anything. We put ourselves in that hole,” St. John Vianney coach Mick Messemer said. “I’m really just proud of the way our team fought back. Obviously, we can’t change the outcome but my team didn’t deserve that ending in that game. They played hard. I feel bad for my team. They’re good kids and this wasn’t the outcome we wanted.”

Farinacci kept replaying the goal over and over in his head.

“I looked at the clock and there was five seconds so I was like, ‘Why not shoot it?'” Farinacci said. “Luckily it went in, especially after the beginning of the season when we played them and it didn’t go our way.”

“It’s an amazing feeling,” Farinacci, who has been a part of all three Dowd Cups, said. “Our team has worked so hard. We’ve been training for this. We really wanted it. I feel like we wanted it more at the last second. We’ve been conditioned. We kept on finding pucks and never gave up because we know anything can happen.”

Manasquan crashes the boards celebrating with the student body after winning the Dowd Cup, 4-3, at Jersey Shore Arena in Wall Township, NJ. 2/20/20 (Tom Smith | tspsportsimages.com)

Jim Dowd, the only New Jersey native to win a High School State Championship, NCAA Championship and Stanley Cup, has seen a lot over the course of 17 NHL seasons with 10 different teams, but even he was at a loss for words after the epic tilt.

“I’ve never seen anything like that. Just the way the whole game went,” Dowd said. “(SJV) ties it up with 30 seconds left and everyone was thinking, ‘OK, overtime.’ Unbelievable — I’ve never seen anything like it, to end a game like that, a championship game — it was just a great championship game.”

“If you would have told me we’d be in a position to three-peat and win three Shore Conferences I would have told you I’d never expect that,” Houli said. “We have a special group. There’s a lot of love on this team, a lot of family on this team so they go the extra mile for each other. Ultimately, that’s where we separate ourselves. They grew up together and it really pays off in tight games we’re able to come out on top. It’s been awesome.”

Scoring

1-0 MSQ Luke McNamara (Matt Franzoni, Anthony Dowd) 3:20-2nd PPG

1-1 SJV S.J. LeComte (unassisted) 1:51-2nd

1-2 SJV Dom Troisi (Jeff Ricci) 14:35-3rd

2-2 MSQ Michael Farinacci (Matt Franzoni, Brendan Kearney) 6:08-3rd

3-2 MSQ Aidan Wiseman (Michael Farinacci) 5:21-3rd PPG

3-3 SJV Colin Gartz (Nick Calao) :37.6-3rd

4-3 MSQ Chris Farinacci (unassisted) :01.7-3rd

Shots: 30-25 Manasquan; Connal Dougherty, MSQ, 22 saves; Sal Benvenuto, SJV, 26 saves

 

Written by John Christian Hageny  @JCCSPORTS 

Special to HockeyClan

 

Photos by Tom Smith  @TSPImages / TSPSportsimages

 

Main Image: Manasquan-Point Pleasant Beach 2020 Dowd Cup winners after a 4-3 triumph over St. John Vianney at Jersey Shore Arena in Wall Township, NJ. 2/20/20 (Tom Smith | tspsportsimages.com)

 

Jim Dowd (at right) with his son, Anthony Dowd (#11) of the Manasquan-Point Pleasant Beach Big Blue Warriors.

 

SHORE CONFERENCE TOURNAMENT CHAMPIONS

2015-Red Bank Catholic
2014-Red Bank Catholic

HANDCHEN CUP CHAMPIONS

2019-St. John Vianney — GAME STORY
2018-St. John Vianney — GAME STORY
2017-Jackson Memorial
2016-Middletown North
2013-St. John Vianney
2012-Brick Township-Middletown South co-champs
2011-Red Bank Catholic
2010-Middletown South
2009-Middletown South
2008-Red Bank Catholic
2007-St. Augustine
2006-St. Augustine
2005-Bishop Eustace
2004-Bishop Eustace
2003-Brick Memorial
2002-Red Bank Catholic
2001-Brick Memorial
2000-Paramus
1999-Ridgewood
1998-Old Bridge
1997-Toms River East
1996-Cranford
1995-Clifton
1994-Hudson Catholic
1993-Indian Hills
1992-Montclair Kimberley
1991-St. Joseph, Metuchen
1990-Clifton
1989-Clifton
1988-Hudson Catholic
1987-Hudson Catholic
1986-St. Peter’s Prep

DOWD CUP CHAMPIONS

2019-Manasquan — GAME STORY
2018-Manasquan — GAME STORY
2017-Wall
2016-Southern Regional
2013-Brick​
2012-Rumson-Fair Haven
2011-Marlboro
2010-Toms River South
2009-Howell
2008-Manasquan
2007-Middletown North
2006-Old Bridge
2005-Red Bank Catholic
2004-Middletown North
2003-Montgomery
2002-Middletown North

 

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