Try as it might, the Pinkerton Academy ice hockey squad proved unable to get untied from its first two opponents in the 2015 Blue Devil Holiday Tournament at the Salem Icenter recently, and then dropped the third game 8-2.
The academy skaters ended up with 1-1 ties in games against opponents from Maine and Massachusetts this past Saturday and Sunday, and rolled into their final game of the annual tourney this Monday, only to lose to the Lewiston, Maine contingent.
The Astros began their involvement in the tournament on Saturday morning, Dec. 26 with a somewhat disappointing performance in a 1-1 tie with the Scarborough (Maine) High Red Storm.
Senior goalie Jordan Puzzo put forth a superb performance and was the main reason Pinkerton didn’t lose the game. And it could conceivably have been a pretty lopsided loss were it not for Puzzo’s 39 saves.
“Jordan definitely kept us in it, but we definitely need to focus on our back end,” said PA coach Ryan Piper. “We have lots of inexperienced defensemen, and some of them have only played three or four varsity games.”
The Mainers ended up with a 9-7 advantage in shots on net in the first period, but Pinkerton potted the one and only goal with 3:29 left in the stanza on a power-play marker.
Mike Francis got credit after zipping a shot from the blue line in the Scarborough zone past the opposing keeper. Chris Gile and Cody Sullivan got the assists.
But the visiting side knotted the score at 1-1 on its own power-play tally with 3:27 left in the second period.
Scarborough enjoyed a 13-5 advantage in shots on net during those 15 minutes, but Puzzo was up to stopping 12 of them to keep the score at 1-1.
And 1-1 was where the game tally would end up after a third period that finished with the Mainers claiming a 10-3 advantage in shots on net.
Scarborough smacked eight more shots on Puzzo during the eight-minute overtime stanza, with Pinkerton only managing three shots. But none of the 11 total blasts broke the 1-1 deadlock.
In its second tourney game against the Belmont, Mass., icemen the next afternoon, Pinkerton came out strong and scored on a first period power-play, with Patrick Hare getting the tally and Nick Trask collecting the lone assist. That marker came at the 9:39 point of the period.
Belmont bagged the equalizer with 8:58 to go in the second stanza, and the score landed at 1-1 where it would remain.
“Freshman goalie Dakota Robinson played very well for us and kept us in the game throughout,” said Piper.
The young goalie was credited with 33 stops for the local squad.
The Astros then played their third and final game of the holiday tourney this past Monday against the Lewiston, Maine crew.
But the Astros’ involvement in the tourney came to a disappointing end with an 8-2 loss in that contest.
The locals came out strong and stayed with the very talented Lewiston team for two periods.
Nick Trask and Patrick Hare scored the Astros’ goals in the second and third periods respectively, with Brendon Banks assisting on the first of those. Hare’s tally was unassisted.
Lewiston continued its aggressive attack into the third stanza, which proved too much for the Astros. The Mainers scored five times in the final 11 minutes of play to get to the lopsided final score.
PA returns to regular season play on Wednesday, Jan. 6 at Concord.