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Icemen hold off Larries to end Section 10 Division II title drought

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POTSDAM - A bitter memory spurred the Norwood-Norfolk Central hockey team to sweet redemption on Sunday in the Section 10 Division II final against longstanding rival St. Lawrence Central at Clarkson’s Cheel Arena.

“They beat us by quite a bit in the championship game last year and that loss left a real bad taste in our mouths. Since day one of practice, we’ve used that as a motivating factor for this season,” said coach Paul Durant after the Icemen outlasted the Larries 3-2 to claim their first sectional crown since the 1997-98 season.

Massena posted a 10-1 win over Potsdam in the Division I title game.

With the win, the Icemen completed a sweep of regular season and playoff honors and improved to 17-4 as they get set to make their first trip to the New York State Division II tournament in 15 years. They are slated to begin their quest for the school’s first-ever state championship on Saturday when they travel to Webster to take on Section 5 champion Webster Schroeder.

Sunday’s win over the defending champion Larries, who reached the state semi-finals last winter, saw the Icemen strike for three goals in less than two minutes midway through the first period before the Larries battled back to make it a one-goal game in the opening minute of the third period.

Junior Coby Munson opened the scoring 6:06 into the game when he converted on a centering pass from senior linemate Jeff Mott. Junior Zeb Brown then finished off a play set up by sophomore Shane Cryderman and freshman Kaden Pickering at the 7:43 mark before junior Tristen Harvey completed the decisive scoring burst just 16 seconds later by knocking home the rebound of a shot by Munson. Mott picked up his second assist one what would hold up as the game-winner.

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

Junior Luke Peets wristed a centering pass from the right wing by Arquiett into the back of the net for a power play goal just 41 seconds into the third period. Kocsis also gained an assist one what stood as the final goal of the game.

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. “But our kids fought back to make it a game and we’re proud of that.”

“People think of Norwood-Norfolk as being just a good-skating team but they have good size and strength and they have good depth,” Locke added. “They should represent Section 10 very well at states.”

Junior Brandon Richards posted 13 stops in the winning effort while Nate Burnett regrouped from the first-period scoring flurry by the Icemen to turn aside the 25 shots he faced the rest of the way and finished with 32 saves for the Larries.

“We won the regular season and we didn’t want this to slip through our fingers today,” said Brown.

“We came out flying today. We got the lead but we knew it wasn’t over.”

RAIDERS REPEAT IN D1

Massena 10 - Potsdam 1: The top-seeded Raiders (16-5-1) scored 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. 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.” 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). Goalie Connor Paquin made 11 saves for Raiders now open the state tournament on Saturday on the road against Monroe-Woodbury of Section 9.

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