New England OT Thrillers
The New England Schoolboy Hockey Championships formerly started in the 1940-41 season (no tournament in 1943 to 1946 due to WWII). The excitement of the tournament brought fans to packed arenas each March to root for their hometown sixes. The R.I. Auditorium held the "New Englands" nineteen times. There is nothing more thrilling than an overtime game and Rhode Island high school teams were apart of several in the tournament. Cranston High School's George Winter scored the very first overtime marker against Dover (NH) in a 3-2 win in round one of the 1941 tourney. Jim White of Burrillville tallied the winner in 1950 in the semis for a 2-1 win against St. Dom's (ME). Jim Ford led La Salle Academy in 1954 to a 2-1 OT win over Walpole (MA) in the consolation game. In 1958 another La Salle iceman, Paul Rizzo, scored his third goal of the game in the second overtime in the consolation game to beat Notre Dame (ME) 4-3. Frank D'Orio scored to beat Melrose (MA) 3-2 in the 1963 semis. Rhode Islanders were not without their heartaches in the tournament. They lost first round OT match-ups in 1950 (La Salle vs St. Dom's (ME) 3-2), 1952 (Burrillville vs West Haven (CT) 1-0) and 1968 (Mount St. Charles vs Berlin (NH) 3-2). But the real heartbreakers were when Burrillville lost twice in the finals; 3-2 in triple over-time to St. Dom's in 1951 and 3-2 to Walpole in 1958. Rhode Island high schools would finally get overtime redemption in the finals as Cranston East pulled off semi-final and final thrillers in 1969. Lloyd Sheehan put the Bolt into the 1969 championship game with a 2-1 semi-final winner over Waterville (ME). East then faced Berlin (NH) who upset them 2-1 in 1967 semi-finals. Doug Smith got revenge at 1:32 into overtime to give Cranston East the New England championship. In 1975 East Providence upended Lewiston (ME) 5-4 on a Randy Wilson goal in the extra period in Lewiston (ME).