Young PA Hockey Crew Has Ups and Downs in First Games

Hoots and hollers of celebration were followed by frustration for the members of the Pinkerton Academy ice hockey squad in the moments after its first two contests of the young 2015-16 season last week.

First-year varsity coach Ryan Piper and his Astros had every reason to be celebrating in the wake of their season-opening 7-2 throttling of the Salem High Blue Devils during the middle of last week. But three days later there was no celebrating going on in the academy squad’s locker room after the locals allowed seven goals in a shutout at the hands of the Bedford High Bulldogs in that team’s own 2015-16 season-opener.

The defeat of the Salem Blue Devils on Pinkerton’s home ice at The Ice Den in Hooksett Wednesday, Dec. 16 was a spine-tingler for PA fans or simply a lover of the sport of ice hockey.

Following a scoreless first period, both teams scored twice in the second period. But the Astros took the game over in period number three, bagging five unanswered goals to snare the 7-2 victory and give Piper his first varsity win in his first game.

Junior defenseman and co-captain Shamus Doherty led the way for the winners by scoring three times and setting up one other goal. Patrick Hare, Eddie Welch, Brendon Banks and Nick Trask all potted individual goals for the victors, and Chris Gile dished out two assists. Those latter four scorers all netted their first varsity goals in the victory.

“I thought that if we kept our game simple and kept throwing the puck at the net that the goals would come for us, and that’s what happened,” said Piper.

The two teams traded goals in the second period in busting the scoreless tie, with Patrick Hare’s early tally (from Doherty and Jake St. Jean) being answered by Salem, and Doherty’s marker (from Banks) during the middle of the stanza also being answered by the visitors.

But the academy side scored early and often in the third period, with Salem withering under the pressure and having no answer.

Chronologically, the Pinkerton Academy goals came from Banks (assists to Cody Sullivan and Gile), Welch (from Jackson Puzzo and Cam Leborgne), Doherty (unassisted), Doherty again (from Gile), and Trask (from Colin Leighton).

PA goalie Jordan Puzzo stopped 17 shots in helping his side collect the win.

But the Astros’ second game of the season – at home last Saturday night against Bedford – didn’t go  as well for the academy side, which took a 7-0 loss on the chin to move to 1-1.

Pinkerton then took to the road for the first time this winter on Monday, Dec. 21, to take on the host Saint Thomas Aquinas Saints in Dover.

The Astros returned to the winning track with a 3-2 overtime victory, with Jackson Puzzo potting his first varsity goal in becoming the local team’s hero.

Saint Thomas netted the only two goals claimed in the first period of play, but Pinkerton knotted the score by having Brendon Banks score in the second stanza and Trask tally in the third to force the game to an extra stanza. And the locals notched the win on Puzzo’s dramatic marker to fly into celebration mode.