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Massena Central hockey team notches third straight Section 10 Division I title


POTSDAM - After having survived an overtime scare in the semi-final round, the Massena Central hockey team took care of business in regulation against Potsdam Central in the Section 10 Division I Championship Game at Clarkson’s Cheel Arena on Sunday.

“Our overtime game against Salmon River last weekend was an eye-opening experience for all of us,” said senior captain Tyler Young after 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 over a seven-minute, 21-second span that bridged the first and second periods en route to notching a 10-1 decision over the Sandstoners.

With the win, Massena earned a third straight trip to the New York State Division I playoffs. In a rematch of last year’s first round game at the Massena Arena, the Raiders will be going up against uncontested Section 9 champion Monroe-Woodbury this Saturday afternoon 5:15 p.m. at the Sport-a-Rama Rink in Monsey, which is located just north of the New Jersey State border.

“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 watched video of Potsdam’s win over Canton. They played very well but we came up with a plan to beat them. The kids came out playing with a lot of emotion and we did a really nice job of executing the things that we worked on hard on practice all week.”

“We set our goals for the start of the second. 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 semi-finals. We’re hoping to take things to the next step.” While the line of sophomores Patrick Manning (3 goals, 1 assist) and Jordan Robert (1 goals, 3 assists) and freshman Wyatt Wilmshurst (1 goal, 2 assists) combined to produce the majority of the Raider offense against Potsdam, Young and sophomore linemate Ben Sprague keyed the decisive scoring barrage when they combined to produce a pair of goals 35 seconds apart 10 minutes into the game. Manning opened the scoring just 1:10 into the game when he one-timed a pass from behind the net by Robert into the back of the net from the middle of the slot. Wilsmurst picked up the first of his two assists on the play.

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 then put the game further out of reach when Robert knocked home a centering pass from Manning as time expired.

The momentum of the late-period surge carried over to the start of the second period where the Raiders broke out to a 7-0 lead on goals by Sprague, Wilmshurst and Manning in the first 2:17 then further sealed the win with two more over the final 5:51.

A power play goal by Sprague, who finished with two goals and two assists, at the 6:03 mark of the third period closed out the scoring for Massena before the Sandstoners spoiled the shutout bid with just 10 seconds remaining when freshman Corson Green finished off a play set up by junior Logan Ford and classmate Jason Sanchez.

“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,” noted Sandstoners coach Al Benda. “I saw the way they were playing and said to myself, ‘wow, we’re really going to have to step things up against them’.”

“We played our best game of the season against Canton last week and I thought that was a good sign,” Benda added. “We just couldn’t match Massena’s skill and depth today. They really played well.”

Senior defenseman Josh Blair contributed a goal and assist toward the winning effort while Cameron Marsh, Ryan Thomas and Maddox Merry each logged solo helpers.

Senior Connor Paquin worked the Raider crease for 11 saves while junior Zach Boldt started between the pipes for the Sandstoners (11-10-1) and turned aside 11 shots over the first two periods before giving way to sophomore Jake Crary, who recorded another 11 stops in the final frame.

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