Standing with his fellow Greece Coaches, Pat Wade enjoyed mixed emotions during Saturday's game with host OFA in the finale of the Brian Wade Jr. Memorial Tournament.
Emotions that was were all extremely positive as the tournament concluded with OFA (8-6) prevailing 4-3 by scoring three equalizers and then netting a dramatic game-winning goal by Drew Hilborne with just 1:02 remaining in the game.
"I just wanted it to be a good game and it was a very good game. And a great win for OFA," said Coach Wade who is a former OFA hockey, football and track-and-field standout and the brother of the late Brian Wade Jr.
Greece, which blanked Thousand Islands Central 6-0 on Friday, emerged as the tournament champion by the point system while the Blue Devils, who were nipped by Saranac Lake 2-1 on Friday, celebrated a win over the Lightning (7-5-2) who currently lead Division I of the Monroe Country League and won a New York State Division I Championship two years ago.
A win which OFA Coach Jon Frederick felt could have far-reaching effects as his reigning NAC Division II champions head into the home stretch of the regular season on Friday night with a major test at St. Lawrence Central.
"We had to weather the storm in the first period and Andrew LeBeau did a great job in goal keeping us in the game. Then we played with confidence, kept coming back and showed what we can do when we put everything together against a very good team like Greece," said Coach Frederick. "We played with a lot of heart today which is symbolic of Brian Wade and the Wade family. We have to play like this if we want to finish the regular season strong and advance in the playoffs."
LeBeau, who made 13 of his 28 saves in the first period and stopped all seven Greece shots in the third period, earned All-Tournament selection along with Eric Barr who tallied one goal and one assist for the Devils. Brandon Hutchinson, the leader of a corp of smooth skating Greece forwards, was honored as the Most Valuable Player and was joined by two teammates in forward Tyler Mattle and defenseman Michael Briganti on the All-Tournament Team. Rounding out the all-star squad were TI forward Drew Kellog and Saranac Lake goalie Tyler O'Neill.
Kellog scored twice as TI won Saturday's consolation game 3-0.
OFA defenseman Trey Lawrence scored the prettiest goal of the final game, securing a 2-2 tie with a shifty solo rush up ice for an unassisted shorthanded goal where he outflanked a defender and then converted his own rebound.
"Momentum is so important and we got a lot of momentum on Trey's goal," said Coach Frederick.
The Lightning countered when Mattle scored on a 2-on-0 rush on LeBeau after a turnover at 9:50 of the second period. The Devils regrouped to outshoot the Lighting 11-7 in the third period where Barr netted a tying goal from Grant Prudhomme at 2:06 and netted the game-winner with 1:02 to play when Drew Hilborne jammed home a rebound as Lawrence and fellow defender Ryan Bouchey drew assists.
Another defenseman, Cody O'Marah, erased a 1-0 Greece lead at 4:50 of the second period with a shot from the point which was assisted by Barr and Prudhomme. Justin Simonelli scored the first Greece goal from close range at 9:03 of the first period and Mike Lucarelli scored on a similar play at 7:39 of the middle stanza. John Clark, Anthony Fedele, Jarod Tam Grimshaw, Brandon Hutchinson, Mike McNeil and Eric Hostetler all drew assists for the Lightning who received 25 saves from Andrew Simonelli.
AROUND THE NAC SATURDAY
Potsdam 3, New Hartford 2: The Stoners improved to 8-4 on the season with a non-league victory over New Hartford (1-9-1) keyed by two first period goals. Trevor Keleher, Jeff Pignona and Robbie Scott all scored for the Stoners with Sam Miller making 18 saves. Joe Holmes and Michael Rich scored for New Hartford. Joe Fariello had 15 saves for New Hartford.
Rome Free Academy 4, Salmon River 2: Max Bartell scored twice and Kyle Williams and Nick Tardugno each logged singletons to lift RFA past Salmon River. Storm Adams scored twice for Salmon River 8-3-1.
NEC 4, Tupper 2: Three goals from Northeastern Clinton in the second period keyed the championship game win.
Ben Leduc, Nick Guay and Matt Letourneau all scored singletons in the second period for the Cougars. John Bujold connected for Tupper Lake in the third which was answered by Dylan Carter of NEC. NEC's' Bobby Marks was chosen as the tournament's Most Valuable Player.
Rounding out the All Tournament team were : Tupper Lake goalie Marcus Richer, who made 71 saves in two games; defensemen Mike Studlack from Malone and Letourneau from NCCS; and forwards Tanner Studlack of Malone, Atkins from South Glens Falls and Chris Crouse from Tupper Lake.
Malone 4, South Glens Falls 2: Mike Studlack produced a hat trick (three goals) and Tanner Studlack scored once to help the Huskies win the consolation game. Kurt Atkins and Zack Ziele scored for South Glens Falls. Andrew Lucia stopped 18 shots for the Huskies, who finished with a 39-20 shot advantage.