First-year varsity coach Joey Lee and his Pinkerton Academy ice hockey squad are intent upon doing some important and productive work as the 2013-14 regular season winds down.
And the PA crew got some vital work done last week, bagging a big win and coming back for a significant tie as well.
The Astros’ Wednesday, Feb. 12, road contest against the Nashua High North icemen at the Conway Arena in the Gate City was a big game for both squads, but particularly for Pinkerton. The match-up pitted 3-7-1 PA, which had lost four of its last five games, against a 7-6 North contingent that had dropped three of its previous four decisions.
So, Lee’s academy crew had a chance for upward mobility in the Division I standings if it could beat a struggling opponent that sat above the Astros in those standings. And Lee’s legion got the job done in pleasing fashion in a 4-2 victory.
The hosts bagged the evening’s first goal with 6:11 remaining in the first period, but Pinkerton knotted the score two minutes later when Ryan Monte potted a shot after taking a pass from Mike Bellmore.
The first period ended with the score right there at 1-1, but the Astros took a lead they’d maintain with 4:49 left in the second period when Tyler Poole rapped home his own rebound from in close to the Nashua net.
Pinkerton bumped its lead up to 3-1 on a breakaway goal tallied by Brady Walsh with 11:20 remaining in the game and a mere 19 seconds after the Astros killed off the first of three North power-plays in the period. Shamus Doherty and Gio Corsetto notched the assists.
The academy side killed off the Nashuans’ second man advantage as well, but North sliced its deficit down to 3-2 with 4:36 left on the game clock as a result of its third power-play of the period, and it was fingernail-nibbling time for Pinkerton and its fans.
But the visitors snagged a huge insurance goal with 1:11 left in the game – with North looking to pull its goalie for the extra skater – when Walsh scored his second goal of the evening on a rebound. Josh Barton and Ethan Landry claimed the assists.
PA goalie Brendan Murphy made 24 saves his contribution to the important PA win.
“We looked at this game as potentially our catalyst, our trampoline, toward the stretch run of the season,” said Lee. “We’re taking the lessons learned from those losses and ties early in the season and turning them into wins now.”
And Lee also had reasons to be proud of his charges last Saturday, Feb. 15, at the Ice Den in Hooksett when it rebounded from two goals down to tie up the 7-4-3 Manchester Memorial Crusaders in a 3-3 deadlock.
The now 4-7-2 Astros rebounded from a 1-0 deficit at the 10:15 mark of period one when Ryan Day scored, with John Hamilton and Bellmore claiming the assists.
The visiting Crusaders then answered by scoring twice in the first nine minutes of the second stanza to collect a 3-1 lead, but Pinkerton then claimed a second period marker off the stick of Day (from Bellmore and Monte) to make it a 3-2 match. And Tyler Poole’s big third period tally knotted the score at 3-3 (from Steve Leonard), with 3-3 where the score would remain.
Astros’ netminder Murphy made 31 big stops his contribution to his team’s tie.