Wed. Quarterfinal Schedule Updated
Here is the updated (noon, Mon.) schedule for Wednesday. The Thayer at Andover game has been moved to a 4:00 pm starting time, and two more Div. II matchups have been assigned venues and starting times. No further changes are anticipated, but if there are any, we will have them for you here.
#4E Tabor at #1E Cushing, 5:00 pm
#3E Thayer at #2E Andover, 4:00 pm
#4W Pomfret at #1W Avon, 3:30 pm
#3W Taft at #2W Salisbury, 3:30 pm
#8 Kent’s Hill vs. #1 Proctor (at Phillips Exeter, 3:30 pm)
#7 Brunswick vs. #2 Pingree (at Pomfret, 4:30 pm)
#6 Brooks at #3 St. George's, 4:00 pm
#5 Brewster vs. #4 South Kent (at Eaglebrook School, 4:00 pm)
Division II Semifinal:
Iannucci Lifts South Kent in OT
Salem, NH – A goal by Pat Iannucci at 4:33 of OT lifted South Kent over defending Div. II champion Proctor Academy here today. On the winning goal, sophomore LW Tony Morrone curled behind the net and passed it out front to Iannucci, a junior from Muttontown, NY. Iannucci just tapped it past Proctor goaltender Kevin Robar for the 4-3 win.
South Kent came out hard in OT , outplaying and outshooting Proctor.
In an action-packed first period, South Kent got on the board at the 15 second mark when senior Andrei Uryadov, who’d turn out to be the best player in the game, walked out of the corner to pick up a rebound and lift it over Robar.
Proctor got it back several minutes later when sophomore Ian Flanagan held the puck nicely before sliding a perfect pass to Nick Pruett who put it past South Kent goalie Jeff Hill.
South Kent went up 2-1 when Morrone picked up a blocked shot at his own end and, with speed, took off down the ice, burying it at the 5:52 mark. The goal was unassisted.
At 10:45, Proctor tied it up when Flanagan broke in alone after picking up a loose puck.
In the first period, Proctor’s defensemen had difficulty containing South Kent’s forwards down low, but escaped from the period with a 2-2 tie.
In the second, Proctor took a 3-2 lead when Jay Anctil one-timed a nice pass out of the corner by Joe Lyle.
South Kent tied it up in the third, when a Mike Pompa slapshot from about 40 feet hit Robar’s blocker and went into the net.
That goal came at the 3:42 mark. The rest of the period was scoreless, and the game went into OT where Iannucci came through with the game-winner.
The Proctor loss robs heads coach Mike Walsh of a shot at his fifth straight Div. II crown. Proctor went into the tournament as the #1 seed.
Proctor star Josh Robertson had no points in today’s game.
Division II Semifinal:
Guthrie, St. George’s Advance
Salem, NH – A third period goal by junior center Shea Guthrie lifted St. George’s to a 3-2 win over #2 seed Pingree in the second Div. II semifinal here today.
On the game-winner, sophomore forward David VandenBerg picked up the puck off a turnover, shot it, and the rebound came out to Guthrie, who buried it just 1:27 into the period.
Early on, Pingree led 2-0 as Chris Higgins notched a pair of goals, the first just 16 seconds into the game and the second, a tap-in of a Mike Corbelle point shot, coming at 6:51.
Before the end of the first period, St. George’s would score a pair of goals and tie it up. Mike Soros put St. George’s on the board when he took a pass from VandenBerg and snapped it past Pingree goalie Andrew Ricci at 10:01.
Twenty-eight seconds later, VandenBerg snapped one home from in tight to tie the game at 2-2. That’s where things stood when the two teams repaired to the dressing room.
In the second period, there was a lot of end-to-end action, good chances at both ends of the ice, and some quality shots, but both goalies were up to the task and the game moved on to the third period, where Guthrie would score the game winner.
VandenBerg (1g,2a), Soros (1g,2a), and Guthrie (1g,2a) figured in all three of St. George’s goals. Matt Dickson had a strong game in net for St. George’s.
Division I Semifinal:
Lenes, Kolb Lead Tabor Past Taft
At 15:15 of the third period, with Tabor and Taft tied at 2-2 and overtime looking like a distinct possibility, Taft defenseman Jack Christian pulled down speedy Tabor forward Peter Lenes. It proved costly because, on the ensuing powerplay, Lenes flipped a rebound over the shoulder of Taft sophomore goaltender Alex Kremer to give his team a 4-3 lead they weren’t about to give up.
Less than two minutes later, Tabor wing Steve Silva would add an empty-net goal to make the final margin of victory, 5-3.
The game was the last behind the bench for Taft coach Mike Maher, who will be taking over as the Berkshire School’s new headmaster this summer.
While Lenes was a major catalyst throughout the game, giving Taft fits with his speed, Holy Cross recruit Brian Kolb was the big scorer, notching a hat trick and adding an assist.
Kolb’s first goal came 9:03 into the contest, when he banged home the rebound of a Dan Maturi shot.
Taft tied it up at 10:05 of the first, with center Kurt Hertzog snapping home a rebound in front of Tabor goalie Stephen Ritter to make it 1-1.
Tabor came right back at the 12:49 mark when Kolb converted an excellent pass by Silva to make it 2-1 Tabor.
At the 8:19 mark of the second, Taft tied it at 2-2 when defenseman Will Reycraft hit converted forward Tom Maldonado with a beautiful stretch pass, sending him in alone on Ritter. Maldonado beat Tabor’s goalie high to the glove side.
Tabor answered quickly, getting it back just nine seconds later when Kolb got the puck at the hash marks, stopped and let the covering D slide on by, then slid a low wrister past Kremer.
Tabor took a 3-2 lead into the second intermission. In the third period, the Seawolves held that lead until the 6:40 mark when a Tabor turnover in their own end led to a goal by junior wing Jake Davis.Suddenly, the game was tied at 3-3 and Tabor, which had been employing a short bench, seemed to be running out of gas.
Taft exploited it, carrying the edge territorially for a chunk of the third, but couldn’t solve Ritter. A key point in the game came when, with 3:32 remaining, Ritter came up with a big save on Alex Meintel to hold Taft at bay.
With 2:08 left in regulation, Lenes, as we wrote above, delivered the big goal, sending Tabor into tomorrow’s final.
Division I Semifinal:
Avon too Deep for Andover
While the day’s first three games featured an almost constant barrage of lead changes and wide-open, up-and-down action, the day’s finale, a 4-1 win by Avon Old Farms over Andover, was pretty dull in comparison.
While Andover got on the board early, courtesy of a Steve Rolocek goal just 43 seconds into the game, Avon would quickly take over, with their depth being the major difference between the two teams.
At the 4:17 mark, junior Rob Tesar, on a 2-on-1, backhanded the rebound of a Pat Percella shot past Andover star goalie Cory Schneider, who had no chance after making a butterfly save on the original shot.
With 51 seconds left in the period, Avon LW Chris Davis, who looked like he may have been in the crease, pulled the puck out of a scrum and into the net – the eventual game-winner -- to make it 2-1 Avon, which is how the first period ended.
In the second, Avon goaltender Jon Quick stopped Andover wing Rolocek on a breakaway. Foley, trailing the play, rolled the rebound just an inch or two outside the far post.
At the other end, Schneider came up with several big saves to keep the game close, and the second period ended with Avon holding on to a 2-1 lead. By then it looked like Andover, which is extremely thin up front for a final four team, might not be able to score another goal.
The goal which salted the game away for Avon came at the 6:31 mark of the third period. Chris Davis battled for the puck along the boards and, with a little help from a pick sent by Pat Percella, was able to take it out from the wall and toward the net, where he passed it to Augie DiMarzo, who fired it home to make it 3-1 Avon.
Avon would add an insurance goal when John Mori made a nice pass to Sean Backman in the high slot. Backman fired it past Schneider at the 14:07 mark.
With the loss, the storied prep career of Andover goalie Cory Schneider comes to an end.
Avon advances on to face Tabor at 3:00 pm tomorrow.
All games at Salem, NH.
10:30 am: Seniors Game
12:30 pm: Div. II Title Game: South Kent vs. St. George’s
3:00 pm: Div. I Title Game: Tabor vs. Avon Old Farms
DiMarzo OT Goal Gives Avon Div. I Title
Salem, NH -- Junior Augie DiMarzo scored off a Tabor turnover 1:43 into OT to give Avon Old Farms a 3-2 win and the New England Div. I prep title here today. After gathering up a loose puck near the blue line, DiMarzo sped straight down the slot, and snapped a high forehander past Tabor junior goaltender Stephen Ritter.
The start of overtime was delayed several minutes because of water on the ice, and perhaps it should have been delayed a little longer because, on the winning goal, the puck appeared to stick on a wet area just below the blue line -- a puddle, really -- causing the Tabor defenseman, whose momentum was carrying him up ice, to overskate it. Suddenly, it was sitting there and DiMarzo, a quick, waterbug type of forward, was on it in a flash -- and off to the races.
It was a tough way to lose, but certainly did nothing to take away from Tabor’s great late-season run which netted them the #4 seed in the east. On Wednesday, they went up to Cushing and won, 8-7, yesterday they took on Taft and won, 5-3, and today they took a deep Avon team to overtime.
After a scoreless first period, Tabor got on the board first, as big defenseman John Burns carried the puck down the right wing boards into the Avon zone, curled behind the net and got the puck out front to Steve Silva who snapped it past Avon junior goaltender Jon Quick at the 4:09 mark.
Ritter made two big saves in the second, one on Avon’s Chris Davis and the other on Pat Forshner.
Right after the save on Forshner, Avon broke through against Ritter as Tobias Salmelainen fired it from the left wing faceoff circle, the puck appearing to deflect off the skate of Ritter and into the net to make it 1-1. Rob Tesar picked up an assist on the play.
Late in the period, Avon’s Sean Backman and John Mori, who played all weekend with a torn tricep and is undergoing surgery on Tuesday, were buzzing hard in the Tabor end.
Avon goaltender Quick made a big save on Tabor’s Matt Cook shortly before the buzzer.
The teams went to the second intermission tied at 2-2.
If there’s anybody who didn’t know about tiny but fast and super-skilled Tabor junior forward Peter Lenes before this week, they surely do now. A constant threat throughout the game, Lenes finally struck at the 4:03 mark of the third when, with the teams skating 4-on-4, he took it around the net and went back door on Quick, beating him stick side and giving Tabor a 2-1 lead.
At the 11:26 mark, Avon tied it up when senior Pat Percella chased a puck which was bouncing like a baseball right down the slot toward Ritter. It was hard to tell if Percella even touched it with his stick. Nonetheless, it was a tie game with 6:34 left in regulation.
Percella had a good chance to put Avon up with a little over two minutes left, but Ritter stopped him. Ritter followed that with an excellent save on Avon’s Mike Arciero, and yet another big one on a Chris Davis shot.
Quick came up big for Avon when, with about five seconds left in regulation, he stopped Cook on a point-blank shot.
The game went into overtime, where DiMarzo cashed in on his opportunity and gave Avon head coach John Gardner a record fourth prep title (1989, 1993, 2000, and 2004). No other school has more than two.
Afterward, Gardner, who also picked up his 500th career win this season, said, “There was a lot of ebb and flow to the game. Each time they scored we came back and answered their goals. In the third period I was getting worried because Tabor was doing a great job of bottling things up. But in overtime the right guy got the puck – he’s pretty shifty – and he got in close and went high glove side. I thought he might put a deke on Ritter because of the way Ritter had been robbing us up high.”
Asked about the season, Gardner said, “We took our lumps last year. This year, we got better as the season went along, but when you get down to the final eight, everyone is good. Pomfret took us to two overtimes.on Wednesday.”
“The three captains – Cucci, Salmelainen, and Arciero -- gave us greatsenior leadership, each in their own way. Plus we have a lot of kids that go hard.”
Tabor coach Gerry Dineen said, “Both teams played well and had great goaltending. It came down to one little break, which they capitalized on. Give them credit. We had plenty of chances to win it.”
“I’m really proud of our team, though. We had a great second half. Avon is a great team, but we proved over the last month and a half that we are, too. Our seniors have just been outstanding. And Ritter was great today. It was a great run.”
South Kent Wins Div. II Title
Salem, NH -- South Kent, behind goals from Pat Iannucci, Mike Pompa, and Pat Melillo and a pair of assists from Tony Morrone, won the Div. II title here this afternoon.
For South Kent it was payback, as they were beaten by St. George’s, 5-2, in the semis last season. In that game, Shea Guthrie had three goals and an assist for St. George’s.
Today Guthrie, who was closely watched by South Kent defenseman Stanislav Vylet, and centers Ross Grubin, Melillo, and Pompa, was kept off the board. South Kent did the same thing yesterday with Josh Robertson. Keeping those two players to a combined zero points was the major factor in South Kent’s title-winning weekend, their first ever – and last, too, as the school will be moving up to Div. I in the fall.
South Kent broke out to an early lead, as Morrone, a sophomore, curled behind the St. George’s net and got it out front to Pat Ianucci, who fired it by St. George’s junior goalie Matt Dickson at the 2:04 mark.
In the second period, on the powerplay, a Mike Pompa blast from the point put South Kent up 2-0 at the 10:12 mark. On the play, Morrone picked up his second assist of the day.
Less than a minute later, at 11:04, St. George’s junior forward Shawn Cox jumped on a loose puck in the slot and fired it past South Kent goalie Jeff Hill. The goal, which was unassisted, gave St. George’s a spark, as the Dragons were buzzing for the rest of the period.
In the third, South Kent stretched it to a 3-1 lead when Melillo took a nice pass from talented Russian-born winger Andrei Uryadov and beat Dickson with a soft shot to his stick side.
With 1:15 remaining in regulation, St. George’s made things interesting when David VandenBerg dug the puck out of the corner and fed Mike Soros in front to make it a one-goal game.
South Kent then made it even more interesting by taking a holding penalty with 55 seconds on the clock. St. George’s pulled their goalie, giving them two extra skaters, but not until there was about 17 seconds left on the clock.
St. George’s outshot South Kent in the first period, 13-8; and the second period, 12-8, but South Kent had the edge in the third, outshooting St. George’s, 9-6. For the game St. George’s outshot the winners, 31-25.
After the game, South Kent coach Geoff Marottolo tipped his hat to his senior goaltender, Jeff Hill, “I can’t say enough about him,” Marottolo said. “His save on Guthrie in the second period was huge, and he had another big save in the third. In the fall, I told him, ‘We'll go as far as you go.' He was ready for the challenge all year.”
St. George’s coach Rich Dempsey said, “We didn’t have our jump or play our best but despite that we were still there at the end. South Kent,” he added, “is a good team. They work hard, they’re gritty, they transition well and they have good offensive talent.”
“We had a great weekend. We played as a team all week long. We just came up a goal short.”
Snow, Jackmuff Each Notch a Pair in Seniors Game
Salem, NH -- In the Senior's Game held this morning, the West topped the East, 6-4. Brandon Jackmuff (2g), Anthony Randazzo (1g,1a), Torrey Mitchell (2a), and Greg Genovese (2a) led West scorers. Greg Holt, Garrett Daigler, and Carter Lee each added goals. For the East, Nick Snow (2g), Mike Greeley (1g,1a), and Brian McGuirk (1g) led the way.
3/5/04 Updated Sat.
Senior All-Star Game Rosters
The senior all-star game will be held Sunday at 10:30 am at the Icenter in Salem, NH.
The rosters for this game are always subject to last-minute fine-tuning, so expect some additions and subtractions.The latest additions are goaltender A.J. Scola and D Will Boardman to the West roster. For the East, goaltender Chase Goodrich replaces Dan Beauregard.
Goaltenders: Chris Mannix (Belmont Hill); Mike Coskren (St. Sebastian’s); and Chase Goodrich (Bridgton). (Thayer).
Defensemen: Matt Hall (Bridgton); Kyle Koziara (Cushing); Michael Kravchuk (Hebron); Bryant Harris (KUA): Nick Jones (St. Paul’s); Arthur Fritch (St. Sebastian’s); Mike Greeley (Thayer); and Shane Masotta (Tilton).
Forwards: Matt D’Andraia (BB&N); Shawn Houde (Brewster); Ryan Hayes (Exeter); Brian Gallagher (GDA); Brian McGuirk (GDA); Phil Farrow (Holderness); Joseph Keane (Lawrence); Ryan Monaghan (NMH); Adam Marino (Nobles); Nick Snow (St. Paul’s); and Ted Brzek (St. Sebastian’s).
Goaltenders: Trevor Pieri (Pomfret) and A.J. Scola (Worcester Academy).
Defensemen: Paul Baier (Deerfield); Jacob Marcus (Rye Country Day); Shane Lennox (Hotchkiss); Steve Bruch (Hotchkiss); Jamie Fritsch (Canterbury); and Will Boardman (Deerfield).
Forwards: Ryan Mero (Millbrook); Brad Gager (Millbrook); Greg Holt (Gunnery); Travis Bokina (Gunnery); Garrett Daigler (Pomfret); Greg Genovese (Pomfret); Matt Lowell (Pomfret); Torrey Mitchell (Hotchkiss); Brandon Jackmuff (Hotchkiss);Carter Lee (Canterbury); Dan Pencinger (Trinity-Pawling); and Anthony Randazzo (Trinity-Pawling).
Wednesday's Prep Quarterfinals:
#2E Andover 4, #3E Thayer 1
#3W Taft 3, #2W Salisbury 2
#1W Avon 5, #4W Pomfret 4 (2 OT)
#4E Tabor 8, #1E Cushing 7
#4 South Kent 6, #5 Brewster 2
#1 Proctor 6, #8 Kent's Hill 2
#3 St. George's 6, #6 Brooks 1
#2 Pingree 5, #7 Brunswick 3
Here are the matchups for the semis on Saturday March 6 at the Icenter in Salem, NH. The finals will take place on Sun. March 7, also at Salem. Here are the schedules for those days.
Sat. March 6 (Icenter; Salem, NH)
11:00 am -- DII Semi: Proctor vs. South Kent
1:15 pm -- DII Semi: Pingree vs. St. George’s
3:30 pm -- DI Semi: Tabor vs. Taft
6:00 pm -- DI Semi: Avon vs. Andover
Sun. March 7 (Icenter; Salem, NH)
10:30 am -- East-West Senior Game (rosters to be announced later in the week)
12:30 pm -- DII Final
3:00 pm -- DI Final
Driving Directions to the Icenter: From Boston, Take Route 93 North. Right after crossing the Mass/New Hampshire border, take Exit 1 (Rockingham Park Boulevard). After exiting, you will see a sign for Mall Road, which will take you up on an overpass. When you come to a traffic light, take a right. This is Mall Road (you will see the race track on your right). Very shortly thereafter, it comes to a T, take a left there (Rt. 38 South), go straight through two sets of lights, and you'll see the Icenter about a half-mile down on your right.
New England Prep Quarterfinals:
Schneider, Foley Lead Andover Past Thayer
Andover, Mass. --Goaltender Cory Schneider kicked out 29 shots and senior center Mike Foley notched a hat trick as host Andover defeated Thayer Academy, 4-1, here today.
The game was essentially a 2-1 game as Andover’s final two goals were both empty netters.
The story of the game, as has been the case so often with Andover this season, was Schneider. Once again, his team was outshot, this time 30-20, and once again they emerged victorious.
Now, they’re going up Route 93 to Salem, NH to face Avon Old Farms Saturday in the prep semis.
For the first half of today’s first period, little offense was being generated by either team, but, at about the ten minute mark, Thayer started swarming the Andover end, outworking, outhitting, and outskating their opponent, and forechecking hard.
Thayer freshman wing Max Gratchev had a couple of good shots, but couldn’t solve Schneider.
Early in the second period, Schneider made a nice save on a shot in tight by Thayer’s Greg Collins. At the other end, Andover was still having a hard time generating any offense as Thayer was putting the body on them every time they touched the puck.
At the game’s midpoint, it appeared that Thayer was going to be the team to break through and get the day's first goal.
But they didn’t. Instead, Andover junior RW Steve Rolocek carried the puck with speed into the Thayer end, cut around a defender, and slid a nice pass to Foley who buried it to put Andover up 1-0 with 3:22 remaining in the period.
Andover, after Schneider made a big pad save with seconds left in the period,took a 1-0 lead into the second intermission.
In the third period, Thayer again came out hard and tied the game up at the 1:43 mark when defenseman Ryan Joyce fired one from the point. It didn’t appear that Schneider saw it, as several Thayer players camped on the edge of the crease were screening him.
Losing the lead appeared to be a wake-up call for Andover, as they lifted their game a notch, playing their best hockey in the third period. Less than four minutes after Thayer tied it up, Foley scored a bad angle goal from below the left faceoff dot at the 5:06 mark. Artie Mittnacht and Hunter Thunell picked up assists.
Thayer fought back, taking it to the net hard, eschewing finesse in favor of generating traffic in front and hoping for some second-chance shots. The problem was, Schneider wasn't allowing much in the way of rebounds.
Thayer kept trying to get that tying goal, but couldn’t. Finally, Tigers coach Larry Rooney pulled goaltender Dan Beauregard in favor of the extra attacker, but with 44 seconds left Foley scored to complete his hat trick and then Rolocek added one with 17 seconds left.
Schneider stoned Thayer’s Matt Harrington on a breakaway with three seconds left.
After the game, Andover coach Dean Boylan said "Cory played well -- he's some kind of goaltender -- but the kids did a good job getting the puck out of the zone. We tried to cut down on quality shots."
"Thayer," he added, "played very, very well, In the first period, they were coming at us in waves."
Andover will meet Avon, a 5-4 double OT winner over Pomfret today, in a 6:00 pm Saturday semifinal.
-- In the day’s big upset, Tabor, the #4 seed in the east, went up to Cushing, the #1 seed, and went home with an 8-7 win and their ticket punched to Salem, NH, where they will play Taft, a 3-2 winner over Salisbury this afternoon, at 3:30 on Saturday.
The offensive hero for Tabor was Peter Lenes, who had five points (3g,2a) and his linemates Chris Potts (2g,2a) and Matt Cook (3a). The Brian Kolb-Dan Maturi-Steve Silva line was also very good.
Junior goaltender Stephen Ritter allowed seven goals, but he also faced a lot of shots and was excellent in the third period.
Defensively, Cushing struggled. A neutral observer commented that the Penguins looked out of sync and flustered by Tabor, who played better as a team. In addition, at least two goals came off Cushing turnovers. Tabor also had success going high on Cushing goaltender Keith Longo.
While Tabor went into the game as a pronounced underdog, they have actually been playing very well the past six weeks, going 10-1 since losing at KUA on Jan. 17. The one loss since then was to Cushing, 4-2, a couple of weeks ago. In February, Tabor also had a week in which they posted consecutive wins against Holderness, Thayer, and Andover. Today's win was an upset, for sure, but Tabor is no pushover that happened to get lucky.
Tabor had good fan support at the game, as two buses went up from the shores of Buzzards Bay. It was a doubleheader day as the Tabor girls hockey team was also playing Cushing, though the Penguins came out on top in that one.
-- Avon Old Farms, the #1 West seed, got a scare from #4 seed Pomfret, though the Winged Beavers eventually prevailed 5-4 in double overtime.
Pomfret actually had a 4-3 lead going into the third period, but tied it up on a John Mori wraparound at the 3:28 mark. The game held there through the remainder of the third, through an 18-minute OT, and on into the second OT – a stretch of 36 minutes – before Avon got the game winner when Sean Backman broke down the left side, drew the D toward him, and sent a tape-to-tape pass to Mori about 10 feet from the crease. On a bang-bang play, Mori knocked it home 5-hole on Pomfret goalie Trevor Pieri, who had 41 saves for the day.
Avon will meet Andover in the 6:00 pm game on Saturday.
-- For the story of the Salisbury-Taft quarterfinal, see below.
New England Prep Quarterfinals:
Third Period Comeback Propels Taft
Salisbury, Conn. --The Taft hockey team is not happy that they are losing their coach, Mike Maher, so Wednesday afternoon they made sure he’d stay for at least one more game by upsetting Salisbury, 3-2, in the quarterfinal round of the New England Prep School Tournament.
Maher, of course, is leaving Taft at the end of the school year to become headmaster at the Berkshire School.
Senior Forward Matt Smith uncorked a blinding wrist shot with just over two minutes left in the game to score the winning goal.Smith came in on the left side, hesitated at the top of the circle, and put the puck over Salisbury goalie Jeff Mack's left shoulder.
Mack apparently never saw the shot, which was too bad, because the Salisbury goalie was the star of the game, keeping his team in front of Taft for all but the last twelve minutes of the game when Taft reached back and tied the game 5:32 into the third period, then scored the game winner with 2:11 remaining.
"I told the guys just before the start of the third period that practice Thursday would be at 3 p.m.," Maher said after the game, bolstering his team's confidence that they could come up with a comeback win."It was just a gritty performance.They believed they could come back after the second period.They also gave me the opportunity to coach another game."
It was a fast-paced game. Salisbury got on the scoreboard first just over a minute into the game when freshman Chris Atkinson fed his brother Mike Atkinson a nifty pass from behind the goal. Mike took the pass just outside the crease and poked the puck pass Taft goalie Alex Kremer.
That 1-0 lead held up for the rest of the first period as Salisbury goalie Mack turned back shot after shot by Taft -- several of them from point blank range in front of the net. Taft outshot Salisbury 17-6 in the opening period.
In the second period, Salisbury began to take control of the game. Their cause was helped when they scored a fluke goal against Kremer, who tried to scoop the puck up at the side of his net with his catching glove. Instead he flipped the puck behind him into the open crease,and was not seemingly aware of where the puck was.Junior Andy Estes jumped on the puck in the empty crease and pushed it into the goal at 8:41 of the period, to give Salisbury a 2-0 lead.
Salisbury dominated the second period (they were to outshoot Taft 16-8), but Taft was finally able to get on the scoreboard with 4:29 left in the period when Taft had a power play after Jeremiah Cunningham was sent off for delay of game for dislodging the net. Senior Todd Johnson, who was camped in front of the goal, deflected a pass between Mack's legs.
With a 2-1 lead, Salisbury came out in the third period more cautiously, and for the first half of the period Taft seemed to follow suit.The game ranged up and down the ice, but neither team was unable to mount any serious scoring efforts, until Taft sophomore Luke Popko took the puck in towards the Salisbury goal from the right side. Popko bored in on Mack and was able to put the puck through the five hole.
That set the stage forSmith's last minute winning goal.
But the game wasn't totally over. It appeared that Salisbury forward Jerry Pollastrone tied up the game with seconds left in regulation but the referee waved it off, claiming he'd lost sight of the puck.
For the game, Taft out shot Salisbury 31-28.
The Salisbury arena here was packed with fans from both Salisbury and Taft;the mood of the crowd swayed back and forth with the tempo of the game. In the end, it was the Taft fans who got to make a long, happy ride home.