JAMESTOWN, N.Y. – If anyone was destined to score the overtime winner, it was Jason Newel.
Snake-bit on the offensive side since coming back to the Metro Jets from the NAHL’s Aberdeen Wings nearly six weeks ago, Newel’s goal at 7:57 of overtime lifted the Jets to a 2-1 and series sweep of the Southern Tier Xpress in the opening round of the NA3HL divisional playoffs Saturday night at the Jamestown Savings Bank Arena.
The Jets now get set to play the Pittsburgh Vengeance in the East Division finals after Pittsburgh swept the Toledo Cherokee in their first-round matchup.
For Newel, he said getting the chance to be the hero is something he never expected.
“We went into overtime knowing what was at stake and that we needed to work as a team to give us the best opportunity to win,” Newel said. “We dumped the puck to try to get some offensive pressure. (Alex) Holm picked up the puck behind the net and passed it to me all alone in the slot. This was a huge series for us to win. We expect to win games as long as we are all buying in. We are happy with the series win, but all focus is on the next game.”
Evan Wilson opened the scoring for the Jets at 8:24 of the first period before Victor McCutcheon tied it for Southern Tier in the second at the 3:29 mark.
Jets’ goaltender Kam Limburg (pictured) stopped 30 shots in goal for his second win of the series.
“Going into the OT, we all had some nerves, but we're a team that's been in that situation before and knows how to get it done,” said Limburg. “We were just taking the game one shift at a time and just gave it our all. It's huge to win this series for our organization. We have great coaches and a great group of guys who deserved a big win. Now we're just looking to keep on winning.
“The way we need to regroup for the next round is to just keep doing what we've been doing. We prepare each week during our practices to get ready for the weekend and we always come to play. We're all very excited to be moving on.”
“I’m just so proud of our guys,” added Metro head coach Justin Quenneville. “We knew it was going to be a tight game on the road and I just told them to stick the game plan. We had several chances, but their goalie (Cody Gibson, 38 saves) played great tonight. You need to be lucky to be good and good to be lucky. We will enjoy this for the next 24 hours, but come Monday, we are right back to work to prepare accordingly for our opponent."
The Jets will host Game 1 on Wednesday, March 11 at 7:50 p.m. at Lakeland Arena and Game 3 (if needed) on Sunday, March 15 at 12:50 p.m. at Lakeland. Game 2 will be on the road and has not been finalized as of Saturday night.