The Pinkerton Academy ice hockey squad’s up-and-down 2013-14 season soared toward some definitive high points last week with wins over the Concord High Crimson Tide and, quite surprisingly, the red hot Londonderry High Lancers.
First-year varsity coach Joey Lee’s Astro crew, which has spent a considerable amount of time with its record hovering below the .500 mark this winter, has zoomed back toward that mark to 6-7-2 recently by reeling off a modest, four-game unbeaten streak that included three wins and one tie. And building up a head of steam going toward the Division I tournament is precisely what the team has been aiming to do.
Forwards Ethan Landry and Gio Corsetto played major roles in the Astros’ significant, 7-4 downing of the visiting Concord High Crimson Tide at The Ice Den in Hooksett on Thursday, Feb. 20.
Landry got three goals and assisted on one other and Corsetto was good for two goals both shorthanded and two helpers in helping to push their team’s undefeated streak up to three games (2-0-1) and the divisional record closer to that .500 mark at 5-7-2.
The Crimson Tide slid to 6-10 with the loss.
Pinkerton began the night in exceptional fashion, racing out to a 3-0 lead in the first period, thanks to a goal from Landry (assist to Corsetto) at the 6:11 mark of the first, Landry again five minutes later (from Josh Barton and Mike Bellmore), and Corsetto from Tyler Poole with just 1:13 left in the stanza.
The PA advantage grew to 4-0 a mere 54 seconds into the second period when Bailey Walsh was set up by John Hamilton, but Concord then answered with two markers of its own to slice its deficit to 4-2.
The Astros got those tallies back, thanks to the efforts of Ryan Monte (unassisted) with less than five minutes to go in the second and Landry, again, three minutes later to make it a 6-2 game. Corsetto and sophomore newcomer John Polichetti had the assists on Landry’s hat-trick capper, and it was Polichetti’s first varsity point.
The Tide notched the last goal of the second with just 31 seconds to go, but the host Astros had every reason to feel good about the 6-3 lead they grasped going into the final 15 minutes.
The visitors cut their deficit back to two goals at 6-4 with another goal, but Pinkerton enjoyed the final word where scoring was concerned as Corsetto was set up by Landry.
PA goalie Brendan Murphy made 22 saves in the win, as he and his Astros were free to look toward their big Saturday night rematch with rival Londonderry at the Salem Icenter with hope.
That rematch went about as well as the Pinkerton coach could conceivably have hoped for, and far better than most folks expected, with the Lancers beginning play that evening with a glittering 12-game winning streak raging away.
Murphy made 29 big saves, Poole potted a pair of power-play goals, Landry dished out three assists, and the academy crew collected a superb, 4-2 victory.
“It was a good win tonight,” said Lee. “We played hard for three periods. There have been a number of guys finding their game, and our defensive-zone play has continued to develop. Brendan made a few big saves at the right time mid-way through the game, and our special teams were strong, especially in the third.”
The Astros snagged a 1-0 lead just 1:08 after the opening face-off when Bailey Walsh was set up by Landry and Shamus Doherty. But Londonderry bagged the equalizer four minutes later. And 1-1 was where the score sat when the first period was over.
Pinkerton jumped into the lead for good by tallying twice during the first five minutes of period number two. Bellmore got the first 2:13 in after being set up by Corsetto and Monte, and PA made it a 3-1 contest a mere 2:41 later when Poole buried his first power-play marker, with Corsetto and Landry registering assists.
The Lancers climbed back to within a goal at 3-2 on a tally with 4:57 remaining on the game clock, but Poole potted his second man-up goal a little more than two minutes later, with the assists coming from Walsh and Landry.
Lee’s legion’s job then got considerably easier this past Monday when it headed to Concord to play the Bishop Brady Green Giants, who entered the make-up game with an 0-14 record.
And the Pinkerton icemen did what was expected of them in driving their way past Brady in a 7-0 blowout, and in doing so leveled their divisional record right at the .500 mark at 7-7-2.
Senior Walsh (two goals, two assists) and junior Corsetto (one goal, three assists) each notched four points in the win, and senior goalie Sean Hall contributed 16 saves between the pipes.