Astro Icemen Tripped By Salem, Rebound vs. Hanover

The Pinkerton Academy ice hockey squad balanced a frustrating overtime loss to the powerful Salem High School skaters with a solid victory over a struggling Hanover High crew last week to leave its Division I record 7-3-1 coming into this week.

After having won its four previous Division I games heading into its Wednesday, Jan. 28 home game against the undefeated Salem High Blue Devils, the Pinkerton hockey squad felt good about what it might be able to accomplish against veteran coach Mark McGinn’s Salem crew.

But when that contest was completed – with the Blue Devils winning 6-5 in overtime after PA held four leads – the academy bunch faced a dose of frustration.

Pinkerton grasped a one-goal lead in the first period, one and two-goal advantages in the second stanza, and another one-goal lead in the third period before the Blue Devils managed to bag the 6-5 victory.

And PA coach Joey Lee led the Pinkerton frustration during the span following the contest.

“Well, I’m disappointed, to say the least,” he said. “I really thought we played well enough to earn the two points tonight, but bounces didn’t go our way. Needless to say, there were lots of errors on the ice tonight from both teams, and 11 goals don’t happen by accident. And hockey is a game of who makes the least amount of mistakes. Unfortunately, we made the last one.”

Pinkerton potted the first goal of the night just 1:28 after the opening faceoff when Gio Corsetto set up Ethan Landry for the first of that senior forward’s three goals of the afternoon. Tim Cronin also snagged a helper on that tally.

But the Blue Devils knotted the score at 1-1 on a power-play goal with 5:54 left in the first, and 1-1 was where the game tally stood between the first and second periods, despite the fact that the locals put 14 shots on Salem’s star senior goalie Sam MacDonald.

The Devils had eight shots on PA standout senior keeper Brendan Murphy.

Pinkerton went up 2-1 with 7:30 left in period number two when Ryan Monte scored on a rebound, with Tyler Poole notching an assist. However, Salem tied the score 12 seconds later.

The academy icemen drove out to a 4-2 lead by potting two tallies in a span of just a minute when senior forward and captain John Hamilton redirected a rolling puck in the crease right in front of the Blue Devils’ net (assists to Poole and Monte) with 5:38 left in the second, and exactly a minute later Landry was set up by Corsetto and Cronin again to put PA up by two markers.

But the visiting Blue Devils scored with 2:46 left and then again with 18.2 seconds to go to knot the score at 4-4.

Pinkerton regained the lead at 5-4 a mere 2:35 into period number three when Landry scored for the third time, this time on assists from Hamilton and Monte.

However, Salem tied the game tally yet again with 8:40 remaining in regulation time, and the visitors ended the contest just 49 seconds into the eight-minute sudden death overtime period.

The Astros pelted the Salem net with 44 shots, but Blue Devils’ goalie MacDonald turned 39 of them aside. PA keeper Murphy finished with 25 stops.

“Credit to Salem, to come back four times shows their grit and determination,” said Lee. “Hopefully we can learn a lesson from this game and cash that lesson in come playoff time.”

Lee then saw his guys get themselves back on the winning track Saturday, Jan. 31, with a 4-1 downing of a host Hanover High Marauders’ squad that has now won just one of its nine D-I contests and posts a 1-8 record.

The visiting Astros potted the lone goal of period one late when Colin Philippon was set up by John Hamilton, and Gio Corsetto potted what would prove to be the winning goal on a power-play mid-way through the second period with the assists going to Tim Cronin and Tyler Poole.

The host Marauders sliced their deficit in half with just 2:27 to go in that middle stanza, leaving the score at 2-1 going into period three.

However, Poole potted an unassisted insurance marker with 5:41 remaining in the contest, and freshman Reese Popkin netted his first career varsity goal with the Hanover net empty with just 23 ticks of the clock remaining – with Landry claiming the lone helper – to make the final score 4-1.

Pinkerton goalie Jordan Puzzo contributed 17 stops to the successful PA cause.