New Haven - The NFA-St. Bernard-Bacon Academy cooperative hockey team was plum tuckered out after the first overtime Tuesday night.
The last thing the weary Saints needed was a second overtime played four-on-four. It was the equivalent of putting jet packs on a fresher Bolton-Coventry-Rockville- Lyman Memorial team.
BCRL's Kevin Morton scored off his own rebound three minutes into the second overtime to beat the Saints 2-1 in the CIAC Division III semifinals at Ingalls Rink.
"We didn't have the depth that they had," Saints sophomore goalie Jonah Beauton said. "I thought that was what it came down to. We were rolling with two lines toward the end of it and I think that's what killed us."
BCRL coach Chris Stevenson said: "That was the first thing we said (after the first overtime), that we're not afraid of four-on-four. We had enough legs, and I had about eight kids that could go in."
The No. 2 Saints finished 10-12. It's the second straight season they were knocked out in the semis.
"It's a mixed feeling tonight," Saints coach Rich Steele said. "At the halfway mark (of the season), we were 3-7. So for us to get this far, there's a bit of satisfaction. But being so close, we could see Saturday right in front of us. It's disappointing."
Beauton said: "You can't be upset. We were 3-7. Nobody expected us to be here."
It was the third time in as many meetings that No. 3 BCRL (19-1-2) beat the Saints. It will play defending champion Newington-Berlin-Manchester in Saturday's final at the same site (1:30 p.m.)
The top-seeded Indians beat Masuk 4-1 in the second semifinal.
"They're a team that's not flashy, but they make no mistakes," Steele said of BCRL. "They get solid goaltending, solid defense and timely scoring.
"They certainly have a shot to win, no matter who their opponent is."
Senior Eric Brown scored for the Saints with sophomore Ben Thompson getting the assist.
Beauton kept the Saints alive when his teammates' legs were shot. Sixteen of his 35 saves came in overtime.
"Joey (Mitchell), Denzel (Dickerson), Jason (Steele), everything I did today was for (the seniors)," Beauton said. "To just give them another chance to play a game of high school hockey; give them another chance to win a state title."
The Saints played from behind for most of regulation as Nate Tonzi scored five minutes into the game.
"The first five minutes, we were very tentative," Steele said. "They were just chipping the puck to one another. They looked like they wanted to be here, but they didn't want to be here.
"Once we got through that first five minutes, they played well for the rest of the game."
Brown tied the game early in the third period on an oddball shot. He was parallel to the right of the goal pipe and looked like he might have been past it when he shot the puck.
"The goalie (Cam Earle) was a really good goalie," Brown said, "so we needed shots and shots on net."
Rich Steele said: "It was ugly, but we'll take it."
There were several moments in the first overtime where it looked as if BCRL was about to score. Each time Beauton found a way to stone it.
BCRL outshot the Saints 12-5 in the first overtime.
"I can't say enough (about him)," Stevenson said. "I felt like we had ended it about six or seven times. ? He was unbelievable to watch.
"He has no shame in his game. He should be proud of himself, and everyone on that team should be proud of what they did."