East Providence High hockey club sweeps its way into Division III finals

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WOONSOCKET — The East Providence High School hockey team made quick work of its best-of-three Division III semifinal round playoff series, sweeping defending league champ West Warwick/Exeter-West Greenwich following a 3-2 victory over the Wizards Saturday night, March 15, at Mount St. Charles’ Adelard Arena.

Jared Estrella, who netted the game-winning goal in double overtime to close of the Game 1 win the previous evening, potted the deciding goal Saturday as well. His break-away tally with just 46 seconds remaining in the third period gave the Townies the lead for keeps. The goal was unassisted.

“At the beginning of the play I was able to intercept the pass between the defenseman, then realized I had myself a break-away,” Estrella said of his winning tally. “When it was just me and Ivan I realized he gave me nothing then as I deked to the left, I opened (the West Warwick goalie’s) five hole and put it home with under a minute to go.”

Marc LaValley was once again stout between the pipes for the locals, making 37 saves, including several of the “spectacular” variety according to EPHS head coach Kevin Croke.

“It was a great team effort for us tonight, come to the end of the game we had more stamina than they did, we were in their end most of the night,” said LaValley, the Townies’ junior goalie. “A lot of us came up clutch in the end. It was a great Townie win.”

Josh Letendre, from Ryan Costa, and Tyler Maxwell, from Letendre, accounted for the other two E.P. tallies.

Third-seeded East Providence, which defeated the Wizards 4-3 in double OT Friday, advances to the Division III championship tournament next weekend at Brown University’s Meehan Auditorium opposite top-seeded Narragansett, beginning with Game 1 on Thursday night, March 20, at 8 o’clock. Game 2 is slated for Friday, March 21, at 6 p.m. A third game, if necessary, would take place Sunday, March 23, at 8 p.m.

The Mariners, who won the D-III regular season crown with a 14-2 record, also swept their best-of-three semifinal series against Scituate/Tolman this weekend by the scores of 10-5 and 7-0. E.P. went 1-2 in three games against the Mariners this winter, winning the first game 2-1 before losing the next two by the same 4-1 scores.

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