The Pelham/Alvirne Avalanche high school ice hockey squad has done precious little winning this winter. But as coach Joey Lee and his Pinkerton Academy icemen found out Monday afternoon, the Avalanche can be one big pain in the neck, even for opponents way above it in the congested Division I standings.
Lee’s Astros bumped their D-I record up to 6-2-1 with their fourth straight divisional win over the Pelham/Alvirne crew at The Ice Den in Hooksett, but the academy squad was fortunate to claim a 2-1 edging of the Avalanche, which saw its divisional record slip to 1-7 with its seventh consecutive loss.
Pinkerton pelted the Pelham/Alvirne net and that opponent’s junior goalie, Curtis Richall, with 47 shots – to the Avalanche’s paltry 20 – but had to snag its win behind just the two goals from senior captain John Hamilton.
And after watching the Avalanche play, Lee was left with few questions on why the squad has given Division I opponents headaches despite winning just one of its eight divisional contests.
“They’ve played some of the top teams close, and now I see why,” said Lee. “They clog up the middle, collapse in scoring areas, block shots, and their goalie played great. But we’ll take the win.”
The Astros thumped 21 shots on steady but far-from-flashy Avalanche goalie Richall, who was only victimized by PA forward Hamilton on a beautiful passing play with line-mates Ryan Monte and Tyler Poole with 8:08 remaining in that opening stanza. And 1-0 was where the score stood at the end of the period.
Pelham/Alvirne knotted the game tally at 1-1 with 5:24 left in the second period, but the Astros potted what would prove to be the winning marker less than two minutes later when Hamilton scored again. Again, Poole and Monte were credited with the assists.
Avalanche goalie Richall finished the game with 45 saves, including a last-second, close-range stop on a shot by Hamilton that nearly gave the PA captain a hat-trick.
PA goal keeper Brendan Murphy had 19 stops to the slim Astro victory.