East Providence High School skates to Division III championship in overtime

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PROVIDENCE — The East Providence High School hockey club captured the Division III title Sunday night, March 23, at Brown University's Meehan Auditorium, the third-seeded Townies defeating top-seeded Narragansett, 2-1, in overtime of the third and final game of the championship series.

Jared Estrella, twice earlier this playoff having done the same, potted the game-winning tally for East Providence, which won its second league crown in three years. The title was the third for the Townies in the last 10 seasons.

Estrella's tally came 4 minutes, 52 seconds into the extra session and was assisted by Ryan Costa and Kyle Marquis.

Trailing 1-0 after not playing particularly well through two periods, the Townies finally found their skating legs in the third stanza. Andrew Gordon netted the tying tally for the locals midway through the third.

Connor McKnight, who scored the only goal of the night in Narragansett's Game 2 win on Friday, put the Mariners ahead earlier in the evening.

McKnight's tally would be the only to get past East Providence goalie Marc LaValley, who once again proved stout between the pipes for the locals. The junior made 32 saves Sunday and was chosen as the Most Valuable Player of the championship series, during which he made 88 total stops in the three games.

"It was a great Townie effort tonight. We showed the heart, determination and resiliency of a champion as the kids battled back from a 1-0 deficit entering the third period," said EPHS head coach Kevin Croke, who has led the Townies to their last two titles.

"It's a great victory for our hockey program and the City of East Providence," Coach Croke added.

East Providence, losers to the Mariners in two of their three regular season meetings, opened up the finals with a convincing 4-1 win in Game 1, March 20.

Narragansett, courtesy of McKnight, leveled the series with a last-gasp goal just before the end of regulation in Game 2, March 21.

The Townies finished their season with a 17-6 record in Division III games, including a two-game sweep of defending champ West Warwick/Exeter-West Greenwich in the semifinals.

For Narragansett, which was seeking its second-ever D-III title (2007-08), its winter comes to an end with a 19-4 mark in league outings.

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