POTSDAM - The Potsdam Central boys hockey team bounced back from a pair of tough weekend losses to Massena by pulling away to a 6-1 NAC decision over Norwood-Norfolk at Pine Street Arena on Wednesday.
With the win, the Sandstoners improved to 9-2 in the Division I standings, one point behind Massena which closed out its regular season with a 9-2-1 record. Potsdam will look to claim sole possession of the NAC Division I banner in its regular season finale on Friday at home against OFA starting at 7:45 p.m.
We came out and had a great first period then I thought we had a bit of letdown in the second but overall, this was a nice win for us, said coach Al Benda. We put ourselves in position to win the league but we know its going to be a tough game against Ogdensburg.
The trio of Trevor Keleher, Chad Varney and Robbie Scott produced the majority of the offence in the win over the Icemen. Keleher scored three of the four goals fashioned by the Sandstoners in the first period then struck for a fourth late in the second to spark the win while Varney finished with a goal and four assists after closing out the scoring off an assist from Scott with 1.7 seconds left in the middle period. Scott wound up with four helpers as well while Connor Warden accounted for the other goal for the Sandstoners assisted by Cody Compeau and Josh Locey.
Austin Cousineau netted the lone goal for N-N at 9:35 of the second period assisted by Brandon Short and Zeb Brown, cutting the deficit to 4-1 before Keleher and Varney put the game out of reach with their goals in the final 18 seconds of the middle frame.
Keleher opened the scoring just 4:33 into the game from Scott and Varney then connected from Varney a minute later for what would hold up as the game-winner.
Devon Crary handled 24 shots backstopping the win while Brandon Richards recorded 23 saves in the loss.
The Sandstoners improved to 13-6 overall heading into their showdown against OFA while the Icemen (9-8-2, 7-7) are slated to close out the season on Saturday on the road against Division II rival Tupper Lake.
SALMON RIVER OUTLASTS CANTON
The other NAC boys hockey action on Wednesday saw Salmon River notch a 4-3 overtime decision at home over Division I rival Canton.
Jared Gray ended the see-saw battle 2:33 into the five-minute overtime when he converted on an assist from Naylen Laffin as the Shamrocks earned their second straight NAC win in three days.
We forced them to turn the puck over in their own zone. Jarid walked in and picked out the top corner for the game winner, explained Salmon River Head Coach Tim Cook. This is our first Division one win against a Division one team this season. It feels good to put back-to-back wins together, continued the Shamrocks coach.
The visiting Bears (7-10-2, 5-5-2) opened the scoring 5:53 into the game when Sean Rodee finished off a play set up by Tanner Sanderson. The Shamrocks pulled even at the 10:26 mark on a goal by Ryan Thomas that was set up by Skylar Thomas. Ron Boots gave Salmon the first of two one-goal leads when he connected from Brady Mitchell with 1:30 left in the first period.
The Bears pulled even at 2-2 at the 13:28 mark of the second period after Nate Gibson connected from Cody Moore and Adam Lawrence but Ryan Thomas countered just 18 seconds later assisted by Mitchell and Austin Leroux to put the Shamrocks ahead 3-2 heading into the third period where a power play goal by Rodee tied the game with 8:45 left in regulation. E.J. Curtis and Josh Parker drew assists on the equalizer.
Cory Garrow handed 17 shots working the crease for the win while Jon Stone posted 21 saves in the losing cause.
The Shamrocks improved to 3-13-2 overall and 2-8-2 in their NAC finale. They are slated to compete at a tournament hosted by Massena Central this Saturday and Sunday where they will skate against non-league rivals St. Josephs and Pelham.