POTSDAM - Late-period goals sparked contrasting wins for the Massena Central and St. Lawrence Central hockey teams in the Section 10 championship games on Sunday at Cheel Arena.
In the Division I final, top-seeded Potsdam Central carried a 2-1 lead into the final minute of regulation before the defending champion Raiders tied the game with 23 seconds left then completed a stunning 3-2 comeback win just 53 seconds into overtime when freshman Patrick Manning one-timed a short range shot into the back of the net.
For top-seeded SLC, the pivotal goals were delivered just 47 seconds apart by sophomore Lukas Arquiett in the final minute of the second period and the Larries were able to relay their momentum into the Division II championship with a convincing 6-1 decision over Norwood-Norfolk.
Both sectional champions will now gear up to host New York State quarter-final round games this Saturday with Massena slated to take on Section 9 champion Monroe-Woodbury at the Massena Arena starting at 7 p.m. and the Larries facing off against Webster Thomas of Section 5 at a time that was yet to be determined.
Massena 3, Potsdam 2 (OT): After an evenly played first period that saw the Raiders produce the only goal when Dylan Stone knocked home the rebound of a shot from the left point by Josh Blair for a power play tally at the 4:11 mark. Manning also drew an assist on the opening goal.
The Sandstoners tied the game just 43 seconds into the second period with a transition goal that began with a clearing pass from behind the endline up the from Mason Bartell to Trevor Keleher, who controlled the puck just outside the Potsdam zone then rushed it down the right wing before sliding a pass across the top of the slot to Robbie Scott who made no mistake depositing it into the back of the net.
The early goal set the tone for the rest of the period as Potsdam outshot the Raiders 12-6.
The Sandstoners continued to control the game to start the third and took advantage of a Raider penalty to take the lead at the 8:20 mark when Scott backhanded a rebound from the left slot after a shot from the right wing by Josh Locey. Keleher also helped set up the go-ahead goal.
But the Raiders began to generate some late chances and shortly after having pulled netminder Connor Paquin, Grayson Phillips controlled the puck at the top of the left face-off circle in the Potsdam zone and blistered a shot toward the upper glove side of Potsdam keeper Devon Crary, who got a piece of the puck before it fluttered over his left shoulder and came to rest just across the goal line before he reached back to cover it with just 23 seconds left, sending the game into overtime.
After the short intermission, the Raiders wasted little time completing their comeback in OT with Manning finishing off a centering pass from the right corner by Ryan Moffitt for the game-winner.
The puck was in the corner and I kind of duffed on my first pass. I was lucky to get the puck over to Ryan on the other side then I just skated toward the net. I dont know how I got so wide open. When I saw the puck go in, I just said to myself, Did I just score the winning goal? Its just a great feeling, Manning recalled.
Paquin stood tall working the crease for 29 saves in the win as the Raiders (14-6-2) earned a second straight trip to the state tournament by knocking off the NAC regular season champion Sandstoners.
We came out very strong in the first period but we had a major letdown in the second period, said Massena coach Mike Trimboli. We let the game get away from us.
Give Potsdam credit. Theyre a very good hockey team. We just never quit. Connor made some big saves and we didnt let them get the third goal. It really is tough to beat a team three times, he added.
Crary finished with 19 saves for the Sandstoners, who went 15-7 on the season.
Ive been coaching 20 years. Ive coached a lot of different sports. Ive been coaching at the high school level and Ive coached at the college level. This is the toughest loss Ive ever had as a coach, said Al Benda afterward. Give credit to Massena. I thought we played really well and we had the better of the game but they hung in there.
St. Lawrence 6, Norwood-Norfolk 1: In the nightcap at Cheel, the teams skated to a 1-1 tie through the first 29 minutes before back-to-back goals by Arquiett in the closing minute of the second period propelled the Larries past the Icemen.
I was pleased with the way we played defensively in the first period but I wasnt happy with our offense. We werent handling the puck very well and we were playing our game, said coach Mickey Locke after the Larries advanced to the state tournament for the first time in four years. Once we started to get the puck deep and work our forecheck, we started to get some pressure in the second period.
The pressure eventually led to the decisive scoring outburst by Arquiett, who put the Larries ahead 2-1 with 48 seconds left in the middle frame when he fired home a loose puck from the top of the slot after a collision of players knocked N-N sophomore netminder Brandon Richards out of position. Kody Kocsis drew the lone assist.
While Arquietts first goal held up as the game-winner, his second proved to be the back-breaker as wristed home a shot from the right face-off circle into the back of the net with just one-tenth of a second remaining. Blake Baldwin and Ian Lynch drew assists.
The game was tied 1-1 and we thought thats what the score would be going into the lockerroom for the second intermission. Giving up those two goals late just killed us, said coach Paul Durant, who guided the Icemen to a 12-9-2 record this winter.
You could see our kids started to get down on themselves and St. Lawrence didnt let up in the third period, Durant added.
The Larries went ahead 4-1 when Nate Stickney netted a power play goal from Baldwin and Eric Lynch with 8:15 remaining. Ian Lynch struck for his second of the game just 20 seconds later from Arquiett then completed his hattrick when he converted on a lead pass from Jarek Crump with 3:17 left.
Ian Lynch opened the scoring assisted by Arquiett 8:47 into the game before Dan Fyckes pulled the Icemen even when he finished off a play set up by Troy Kovach and Brandon Cousineau just over two minutes later with the teams skating 4-on-4.
Senior Nate McLaughlin had 20 saves backstopping the win as the Larries, who captured the NAC Division II regular season banner earlier this month, improved to 16-5-1 with their third win in as many tries against the Icemen. Richards turned aside 18 shots in the losing cause.