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Norwood-Norfolk knocks off second-seeded OFA to reach Division II hockey final

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OGDENSBURG - It is very tough to beat the same team three times in an evenly matched series.

That is one of the law of averages of the sporting world.

Third-seeded Norwood-Norfolk was dealing with the probability factor in visiting second seeded OFA on Wednesday for a Section 10 Division II Hockey semi-final game.

So the Icemen used their team speed to stay one step ahead of the law of averages and one goal ahead of OFA for the third time this season in a 2-1 victory.

The Icemen, who played a penalty free game, opened a 2-0 lead on goals by Zeb Brown and Dan Fyckes and then defended a 2-1 margin after the Devils were energized by a Brandon Mullin’s Section 10 high 22nd goal of the season with 5:36 remaining in the third period.

In matchup of sophomore goaltenders N-N’s Brandon Richards handled 21 saves with 10 in the first period and OFA’s David Prudhomme stopped 24 with nine in the first period.

“Norwood-Norfolk is tough matchup for us because they have good quickness up and down their lineup,” said OFA Associate Coach Matt Morley after the 12-8-2 Icemen advanced to meet top-seeded St. Lawrence Central in Sunday’s’ Division II Championship Game (4 p.m. Clarkson Cheel Center) and ended OFA’s season at 10-7-4. “That quickness allows them to put a lot of pressure on us.

According to N-N Coach Paul Durant team speed was also a major asset in the defensive scheme which was centered around containing the explosive elusiveness of Mullin.

“OFA is an outstanding team and to beat them three times and to win twice at the Golden Dome is a great achievement. When we played OFA, our first goal was to neutralize Brandon Mullin as much as possible. He is a great player and a great kid,” said Durant.

“On defense we like to keep someone deep and we did a very good at being aware of where Brandon was. Overall we played a tremendous game and I am just so proud of the guys.”

The Icemen’s forecheck created a sustained scramble which produced the first goal at 5:25 of the first period. Kaden Pickering flipped the puck into a crowd of players in front of the net and it deflected off Brown into the net. Austin Cousineau also picked up an assist on the play.

Twenty-eight seconds into the second period the lead became 2-0 when Dan Fyckes carried the out of the puck out of his defensive zone and scored unassisted on a long wrist shot.

OFA used deligent forechecking to revive their cause when Mullin neatly converted the rebound of a shot from the point by Burke Comeau. Jake Garrison drew an assist by blocking a clearing attempt and passing the puck to Comeau.

“It was playoff hockey at its best. We both hit a few posts and missed a few chances and both Brandon (Richards) and Dave (Prudhomme) made great saves,” said Durant. “Just as he has done all season Brandon Short anchored our defense. Late in the game he stayed on the ice for some extra time and made three great plays.” OFA Coach Jon Frederick spoke about the end a very good season and the fine careers of his seniors.

“Our seniors won a lot of hockey games. They played on a division championship team as ninth graders and on a second place teams the past two years. They got to Cheel twice for the sectional finals,” said Frederick. “Gian Rufa really played a big role for us. He moved to defense after playing forward for his whole career and he was a real leader back there. Jon Tayler played a strong game for us tonight, he made several nice rushes.”

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