The Pinkerton Academy ice hockey team has rolled into a nice groove, and coach Joey Lee’s Astros kept right on grooving last week with victories over Bedford and Manchester Memorial in moving their Division I record up to a respectable 9-3-1.
The Astros avenged a 5-1 loss to the Bedford High Bulldogs in just their second regular season game on Dec. 20 by thumping those same Bulldogs by a 5-1 tally at the Ice Den in Hooksett on Wednesday, Feb. 4.
Lee’s icemen snared their sixth Division I victory in their last seven divisional matches that afternoon, upping their D-I record to 8-3-1 while handing 9-2 Bedford its second consecutive divisional defeat.
PA senior forward Gio Corsetto enjoyed a four-point output (one goal, three assists) in the win, and sophomore front-liner Tim Cronin was good for one goal and two helpers for three points.
Corsetto potted the lone goal of the first period – with Cronin and Ethan Landry registering the assists – and the hosts held that 1-0 lead until the first minute of period two, when Cronin netted what would prove to be the eventual game-winning tally.
Bedford trimmed its 2-0 deficit in half two minutes later, but the Astros went back up by two tallies with 4:22 left in the middle stanza when Landry scored with Corsetto and Zach Pendenza garnering the assists.
And when team captain John Hamilton tallied a power-play goal with 2:11 to go in the second (assists to Corsetto and Cronin), Pinkerton grasped a 4-1 advantage.
Tyler Poole put the final touches on the victory 3:59 into the third period, set up by Corsetto and Reese Popkin, to reach the final score of 5-1.
PA goalie Jordan Puzzo contributed 26 saves to the impressive win.
Junior keeper Puzzo then got his third consecutive start Saturday night, Feb. 7, at Manchester’s JFK Coliseum, and helped his squad to a 3-0 shutout of the host Memorial Crusaders by turning aside all 27 shots the now 6-6-1 hosts pelted at him.
Not only was it Puzzo’s third win in those three starts since stepping in for senior goalie Brendan Murphy, it was Pinkerton’s seventh victory in its last eight divisional contests.
“It’s a fantastic problem to have when you have two strong goalies, and Jordan is challenging us to make a change with his play,” said Lee. “But if it isn’t broken, you don’t fix it.”
The Astros did all of the scoring they’d need to do to beat Memorial in the first period when Corsetto potted a power-play goal just 1:26 after the opening faceoff (assist to Hamilton) and then when Poole busted down the ice for a breakaway and scored on Crusaders’ standout senior goalie Brandan McKenzie with 6:06 left in the first.
Hence, it was 2-0 after 15 minutes of action, but McKenzie kept his crew in the game by stopping all of Pinkerton’s 14 other shots in the stanza, including a couple of stunning stops that appeared to be as good as goals when they were shot.
The second period was scoreless despite 13 more PA shots labeled at McKenzie, but the academy icemen ended the scoring by tallying once more with just 3:38 to go in the game when Reese Popkin was set up by previous goal-scorers Corsetto and Poole.