CHEEKTOWAGA — Dunkirk finished the regular season 2-13-0 with just nine goals scored in those 15 games.
With their season on the line Monday night, the Marauders found the back of the net five times.
Their reward was a Section VI Class B1 playoff victory.
Greg Orcutt Jr. made 20 saves and the Marauders made four of their five shots in the penalty shootout to send No. 17 Dunkirk to a 2-1 victory over No. 16 Cheektowaga.
“I’m very proud of these boys. They’ve worked very hard all season,” third-year Dunkirk head coach Zachery Meadows said. “This is proof of that hard work.”
The Marauders will now travel to Youngstown to take on No. 1 Lewiston-Porter today at 3:30 p.m.
“I know the team were are playing next is the No. 1 seed,” Meadows said. “I told the boys, ‘let’s go in there and play them like we played Cheektowaga tonight. Play with heart and fight for a win. Let’s not let them have it easy.”
Cheektowaga’s Kenet Villalobos-Rubio opened the scoring Monday in the 21st minute off an assist from Sergio Ordonez.
“I told them, this is a game against a team having the same struggles as us,” Meadows said prior to the game. “They won the same number of games. We have to play strong, play smart, attack the ball. We can go out there, play hard and win this game.”
Lewis Cruz was then fouled inside the 18-yard box in the first minute of the second half and Brady Corbett converted a penalty kick to tie the game.
“As soon as we got that goal, the boys were fired up,” Meadows said. “We fought and tried to put a couple in the back of the net. We had some close calls and ended up getting the outcome we all wanted.”
After a pair of 15-minute overtime periods, the teams went to a five-round penalty shootout.
Corbett made the first shot for Dunkirk before Cheektowaga tied the shootout. Anthony Piede then missed a kick and the Warriors converted to take a 2-1 lead in the shootout. But Cruz and Bradon Gustafson converted the next two chances and Cheektowaga missed both of its tries to leave the game on the foot of Peter Felt.
The sophomore with no goals on the season found the back of the net to send the Marauders into today’s prequarterfinal against the Lancers.
“We charged the field,” Meadows said. “We were all excited. It was a great feeling.”