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High school hockey: Massena, SLC earn regional victories

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The Massena Central and St. Lawrence Central hockey teams both relayed home-ice advantage into 3-1 wins in the quarterfinals of their respective New York State tournaments on Saturday.

Massena 3, Monroe Woodbury 1

At the Massena Arena, an unassisted goal by Anthony Cortese 5 minutes, 5 seconds into the third period held up as the game-winner, but a 28-save performance by junior netminder Connor Paquin turned out to be the difference as the Red Raiders outlasted the Crusaders (7-8) of Section 9 to gain a bid into the Division I semifinals.

“Connor came up huge for us,” Massena coach Mike Trimboli said. “We had a solid first period but I think we started to get caught up in the moment again and we started to have some lapses against their breakout.

“Connor played his role great. He was a huge factor in the game tonight.”

The Raiders (15-6-1) will now gear up to face Section 5 champion McQuaid of Rochester next Saturday at the Utica Auditorium starting at 5 p.m. McQuaid beat Section 3 champion West Genesee in triple overtime earlier in the day.

In their win over the Crusaders, who had earned a bid to the state tournament as the lone Division I team in Section 9, the Raiders opened the scoring when Tyler Young one-timed a pass from behind the right of the goal from Zach Robert with just 22 seconds left in the first period.

But the Crusaders didn’t allowed the momentum of the late goal to carry over into the start of the second period, when they used their outstanding team speed to a pair of quick breakaway chances in the opening two minutes.

On the first, John Dunn was denied when Paquin made a sliding pad save to his right on the second, Dylan Stephanik was thwarted when Paquin extended his leg pad to the left.

“Their goalie was the first star of the game, no doubt about it,” Crusaders coach Paul Bacsardi said.

“This was a good, clean, hard-fought high school hockey game. We weren’t quite sure how we’d match up but I’m very proud of the way our kids played. We showed we belonged here. We did everything we needed to except for the number one thing, we didn’t put the puck in the net when we had our chances,” he added.

The Crusaders outshot the Raiders 11-7 in what turned out to be a scoreless second period.

Massena went ahead 2-0 at the 5:05 mark when Cortese stopped a clearing attempt along the right boards inside the blue line and then ripped a rising shot toward goal that appeared to be redirected before it ended up into the top right corner of the net.

The Crusaders made it a one-goal game again just over a minute later when Mark Tooma converted on a pass from behind the net by Dunn. But the Raiders were finally able to put the game out of reach with 1:09 left when Grayson Phillips wristed home a centering pass by Young from the left wing.

“Both teams missed opportunities but once again, our kids showed a lot of heart and a lot of grit and they did what they had to do to win,” Trimboli said. “It was great to be able to play at home. Our fans our great and we were happy to have them as our seventh player out there tonight.”

Senior goalie Dan Vobroucek made 16 of his 29 saves in the first period for the Crusaders.

ST. LAWRENCE CENTRAL 3, WEBSTER THOMAS 1

The Larries are headed back to Utica for the first time in five years, and the winning goal came from an unlikely hero.

Sophomore Luke Peets and his red line only saw three shifts, but they made the most of an opportunity after an unsuccessful Larries power play scoring the winning goal in the Larries’ win over Webster Thomas that had only one loss on their record.

Coach Mickey Locke, who employs five forwards on his power-play unit, needed a respite with the bulk of his fist two lines after an unsuccessful power play and a face off deep in the Titans’ zone.

Peets got the puck in the faceoff circle and fired a wrister that beat Webster Thomas netminder Steve Speis, who had shut out seven opponents this season, short side.

“I just got the puck and shot it. I wasn’t aiming. I just trying to get it on net. I saw net move, and I just went nuts,” the sophomore forward said.

Linemate Nick Kowalchuk drew the lone assist on the game-winner. “Nick did a good job of tying up their center on the draw, and the puck was just lying there,” Peets added.

The Titans, Section 5 champions, quieted the crowd just 30 seconds into the game when a puck bounced off an official and created a perfectly executed two-on-one break that saw Nick Tipping fire a Teddy McCabe feed past Larries netminder Nate McLaughlin.

Senior Blake Baldwin tied the score midway through the second period a minute into a Larries’ power play off a scramble. A shot from the corner rolled off the goalie’s shoulder and onto the goal line, and the Larries senior forward pushed the puck over the red line at 6:52.

The go-ahead goal by Peets, his first of the season, gave the Larries an extra boost of energy heading into the third period.

Webster Thomas poured on the pressure in the latter stages of the third period and moved the puck well on a man advantage when the Larries were whistled for a too many men on the ice call with 3:14 to go in regulation time. But the Larries, behind strong play from McLaughlin, were able to kill off the penalty as the Titans made a frantic push with the goalie pulled to tie the game at 2-2.

McLaughlin was credited with 30 stops.

Ian Lynch scored the Larries’ final goal into an empty net in the game’s waning seconds.


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