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Massena, N-N skate to Section 10 titles

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POTSDAM — Massena Central surged its way to a third straight Division I title, and Norwood-Norfolk held on to end a 15-year Division II drought in the Section 10 hockey championship games played at Clarkson University’s Cheel Arena on Sunday.

Both teams set the tone for their wins with dominant first periods, but Massena was even more impressive in the second en route to downing Potsdam Central, 10-1, The Flyers, meanwhile, built a quick 3-0 lead before turning back defending champion St. Lawrence Central, 3-2.

MASSENA 10, POTSDAM 1

The top-seeded Raiders (16-5-1) got the early lead then took most of the drama out of the Division I final by scoring six goals in 7 minutes, 21 seconds that bridged the first and second periods.

“Our overtime game against Salmon River last weekend was an eye-opening experience for all of us,” said senior captain Tyler Young, who sparked the decisive barrage with back-to-back goals, assisted by sophomore Ben Sprague 35 seconds apart.

Young finished with two goals and an assist while the line of sophomores Patrick Manning, Jordan Robert and freshman Wyatt Wilmshurst combined to produce the majority of the Raiders’ offense.

Young scored the eventual game-winner at 9:56 on perfect centering pass from Sprague before pushing the lead to 3-0 at 10:31 after being sprung for a breakaway on a lead pass from the defensive zone by Sprague. The Raiders put the game further out of reach when Robert knocked home a centering pass from Manning as time expired.

Manning finished with three goals and an assist while Robert tallied a goal and three assists and Wilmshurst generated a goal and two helpers. Sprague wound up with two goals and two assists while senior Josh Blair accounted for the other goal.

“The game against Salmon River was a wake-up call and I thought we responded very well to that as a team today,” Massena coach Mike Trimboli said. “We came out playing with a lot of emotion.”

“We set our goals for the start of the season. The first step was winning the regular season. Winning today is the second step,” he added. “Two years ago, we went to states but we didn’t get past regionals. Last year, we got past regionals and made it to Utica but lost in the semifinals.”

The Raiders saw their bid for the shutout spoiled when Corson Green finished off a play set up by Logan Ford and Jason Sanchez with only 10 seconds left in regulation for Potsdam (11-10-1).

“If you go back and look at how Massena played the last couple of weeks, you see that they’ve already been in playoff mode,” Potsdam coach Al Benda said.

Red Raiders goalie Connor Paquin made 11 saves.

The Raiders now open the state tournament on Saturday on the road against Monroe-Woodbury of Section 9.

NORWOOD-NORFOLK 3, ST. LAWRENCE CENTRAL 2

The Division II final saw the Icemen strike for three goals in less than two minutes midway through the first period before the Larries battled back to cut the deficit to 3-2 in the opening minute of the third period.

“We won the regular season, and we didn’t want this to slip through our fingers today,” junior Zeb Brown said after his squad erased the disappointing memory of a lopsided loss to SLC in last year’s sectional final.

“That game has been our main motivation all season,” Brown added. “We did not want to let that happen again.”

Coby Munson opened the scoring 6:06 into the game from Jeff Mott. Brown then finished off a play set up by Shane Cryderman and Kaden Pickering at 7:43 before Tristen Harvey completed the scoring burst 16 seconds later.

After weathering the first-period barrage, the Larries got on the board just 1:16 into the second when Kody Kocsis wristed home a pass from Lukas Arquiett. Joe DiMatteo also logged an assist on the only goal of the middle frame.

The Larries took advantage by connecting for a power play goal just 41 seconds into the third with Luke Peets scored.

After being thwarted on a late power play of their own, the Larries saw their hopes of defending their sectional title fade when they were called for a penalty for having too many men on the ice with 1:02 left.

“We just didn’t have very good puck management on offense or defense in that first period,” SLC coach Mickey Locke said after his squad went 11-2 over its final 13 games to finish at 14-7-1 on the year.

Brandon Richards posted 13 stops in the winning effort while Nate Burnett finished with 32 saves for the Larries.

The Icemen (17-4) get set to make their first trip to the state tournament since 1998. They are slated to head to the Rochester-area on Saturday to take on the Section 5 champion.

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