Dempsey's OT goal downs Pittsburgh

WATERFORD, Mich. – Matt Dempsey’s goal at 8:38 of overtime gave the Metro Jets a thrilling 6-5 win over the Pittsburgh Vengeance Wednesday night at Lakeland Arena in Game 1 of the NA3HL East Division finals.

The Jets held a 4-3 lead late in the third period, only to allow the tying goal by Adem Arifi on a power play at 15:21.

That set the stage for the sudden-death overtime where Dempsey emerged as the hero.

“I just think it’s cool to get the win for the team,” Dempsey said. “It didn’t really matter who scored, just as long as we got the win. The puck kind of bounced off my stick after someone took a shot and it bounced off the goalie or someone else and right to me and I just shot it at the net.”

Ryan Bloom scored two goals for Metro, while Alex Holm and Max Vance added single goals. Dempsey and Graham Day each went for a goal and an assist, Jacob Drinkard added two assists and goaltender Kam Limburg stopped 27 shots, including two in overtime.

Arifi and Nils Markgren each had a goal and an assist for Pittsburgh and Jacob Stack finished with 28 saves in goal.

“That was playoff hockey,” Jets’ head coach Justin Quenneville said. “It was back and forth, momentum swings from goals and calls, but at the end of the day, it’s the ‘W’ that matters most and I’m proud that the guys were able to persevere tonight.”

Game 2 of the best-of-three series is Friday night at 6 p.m. in Pittsburgh.

“A win like this raises the confidence a lot and gives us good energy going into the second game,” added Dempsey. “We know what we have to do and we know we just have to play our game.”