PA Hockey Wins One, Ties One, Drops One to Start the Season

After playing its first two official games of the 2014-15 Division I season last week, the Pinkerton Academy ice hockey team found itself still hunting for its first victory.

Varsity coach Joey Lee’s icemen had to settle for a deadlock in Salem in their first contest of the campaign, and in their second they wound up on the down side of a lopsided decision against the Bedford High Bulldogs on the road.

The Astros had to be satisfied with a 2-2 tie with the tough Salem High Blue Devils in their season-opener at the Salem Icenter Wednesday, Dec. 17.

The Astros had plenty of reasons to be pleased that they only trailed by a 1-0 count after one period had been completed, because it could have easily been 3-0 or 4-0, were it not for fine work in net by goalie Brendan Murphy.

Pinkerton’s play was lackluster in the first period, and the host Blue Devils dominated the action. But keeper Murphy – a transfer from Minnesota prior to the 2013-14 season – made nine stops to keep his side in the fray.

Each team enjoyed two power-plays in the second period, but the score didn’t change from 1-0 despite high-speed action from both sides.

The academy side finally got its first goal of the campaign 54 seconds into the third period when Tyler Poole ended a great flurry of pressure on the Salem net by rifling a shot home. Steve Leonard and Gio Corsetto had the assists.

With 11:06 to go in regulation time, Pinkerton was assessed a five-minute major penalty for a hit from behind, and their host was given a chance to snag the lead again. But the Astros fought off that long power-play and snagged a lead of their own with 5:41 to go when forward Ryan Monte scored with assists from Ethan Landry and Tim Cronin.

Salem knotted the score back up at 2-2 on a man-up goal with just 1:17 showing on the game clock, and that score didn’t change through the remainder of regulation time or the overtime stanza.

Goalie Murphy registered 26 saves in the hard-fought tie, and Lee was left happy with about two-thirds of his team’s regulation-time performance.

“I liked our performance in 30 of the 45 minutes. We played well in the second and third periods, but the first period wasn’t representative of what we can do,” said Lee.

And his team’s ability to battle its way out of man-down situations – with keeper Murphy taking the lead – throughout the game pleased the coach as well.

“Our best PK guy was number 35 (Murphy), and you like to be able to say that,” said Lee.

But very little went well for the Astros in their 5-1 loss to Bedford at Saint Anselm College last Saturday, Dec. 20.

The host Bulldogs led 2-0 after one period and 5-1 after two periods had been completed.

Gio Corsetto killed Bedford’s shutout hopes with 6:03 left in the middle stanza after having been set up by Leonard to make it a 4-1 contest at that juncture.

Pinkerton goalie Murphy turned aside 22 Bedford shots in the decisive defeat.

But game number three was the charm for the academy icemen, who bagged their first victory of the young season in a 4-0 blanking of the visiting Saint Thomas Aquinas Saints at the Ice Den in Hooksett this past Monday night.