POTSDAM - The Home Team decided matters in a shootout after the Away Team pulled even in the final seconds of the 2013 Section 10 Exceptional Seniors Hockey Game at Clarksons Cheel Arena on Thursday.
A total of 24 seniors were split into two teams of 12 with the Home Team, made up of players from the Division II teams and coached by Chris Marshall of Alexandria Central, going up against the Away Team which was comprised mainly of Division I players and coached by Massenas Mike Trimboli.
The Away Team broke through for the first goal of the game when Potsdams Robbie Scott finished off a two-on-one centering pass from Salmon Rivers Naylen Laffin midway through the first 25-minute period.
The Home Team generated the next three goals late in the first period with OFAs Brandon Mullin knotting the score at 1-1 assisted by the St. Lawrence Central duo of Blake Baldwin and Ian Lynch. Lynch the combined with Mullin and his OFA teammate Jake Garrison for the go-ahead goal before Mullin made it 3-1 with an unassisted goal with two minutes left in the period.
The Away Team battled back to tie the game with the next two goals. Salmon Rivers Jarid Gray knocked home the rebound of a shot by teammate Ryan Thomas before Laffin knotted the score at 3-3 when he converted off an assist from Massenas Grayson Phillips with 13:30 left in regulation.
The Home Team regained the lead five minutes later after Alexandrias Zach Waldi, who competed for the Islanders this past winter, finished off a strong rush up the right wing by slipping a low shot past Potsdams Devon Crary for an unassisted goal.
The Away Team pulled Crary with just under a minute left in regulation and after a clutch save by Thomas covering the empty crease, the puck wound up on the stick of Laffin who went in to score a breakaway goal with 11.2 seconds left to send the teams to the shootout where the Home Team pulled out a 2-1 win through five rounds.
Cantons Jay Proulx got the Away Team off to a promising start when he beat SLC netminder Nate McLaughlin with a wicked wristshot into the top right corner but that would be the only goal surrendered by the lanky Larries backstop the rest of the shootout. Baldwin forced the extra rounds of shootout when he slipped a backhander past Crary in the third round. After back-to-back saves in the next round, Franklin Academys Kelsey Head clinched the win for the Home Team when he followed a miss by Thomas by lifting a backhander into the top right corner.
McLaughlin finished with 29 saves working the Home Team crease while Crary handled 16 shots for the Away Team.
Also contributing toward the Home Team win were Jarek Crump, Eric Lynch and Isaac Beckstead from St. Lawrence Central along with OFAs Gian Rufa, and Zac Natali of Alexandria. Rounding out the Away Team effort were Franklin Academys Cameron Daniels, EJ Curtis of Canton and Potsdams Ryan McDonald.