Hauppauge, N.Y.-Peter Fosso and Daniel Potter stopped a combined 69 shots against the N.J. Hitmen, but the Suffolk offense was unable to power the team to victory.
Michael Leone staged a third period comeback with a goal at 9:11 of the third period. The goal, his 11 of the season, pulled the Juniors within two. The team fell to an early three goal deficit during the first period.
"We didn't play as well as we would have liked in the first period and we all knew it heading into the locker room," said Leone. "We came out in the second and really limited their chances and created some of our own."
Neither team scored during the second period, but Suffolk took the momentum into the third stanza.
"We came out strong in the third period with two quick goals from Leone and Michael Martino," said head coach Ed Galiani. "We couldn't quite close the gap, if we play a full 60 minutes like we did the last 20, I couldn't ask for more."
The Hitmen stonewalled the Juniors during Sunday's matinee, turning away 25 shots. Nicholas Mangone avoided the shutout with an unassisted power-play goal at 14:27 of the third period.
"I saw an opportunity and I took it," said Mangone. "The game was a lot closer than the score would indicate."
Suffolk took 36 penalty minutes in the contest, but held strong, going 5-5 on the penalty kill.
"We just have to stay focused," said Galiani. "Our special teams played well and our goalies stood on their heads. We just have to keep the pressure on and not let our emotions get in the way."
Suffolk is currently ranked 10 in the KRACH rankings with seven regular season games remaining. The Empire Junior Hockey League Sweet 16 competition will be held March 14-17 at the Ice Vault in Wayne, N.J.