OFA Associate Coach Matt Morley called Wednesdays 5-4 overtime victory over the Islanders (Thousand Islands, Alexandria Central School) at the Newell Memorial Golden Dome A Grinder.
But a very important and gratifying victory for the 10-4-2 Blue Devils (9-2-1 NAC) who rallied from a 3-1 deficit take a one-point lead over 9-2-0 St. Lawrence Central, which lost to Potsdam 4-1 on Wednesday, in the NAC Division II Hockey race.
Because of the warm weather it was pretty hot in the Dome and the ice was soft. Both teams worked extremely hard and we were proud of the way our guys kept working and working, said Morley after the Devils defended their number 12 state ranking.
The goals in the comeback reflected the work ethic.
Jon Tayler cut the 3-1 deficit to 3-2 with 45 seconds remaining in the second period by netting the third rebound chance in an extended scramble where Drew Costigan and Zach Barr assisted. Brandon Mullin tied the score at 3-3 27 seconds into the third period, with his 19th goal, of the season, by shovelling the puck over prone Islanders goalie Cole James into an empty net to convert the rebound of a close range shot by Tayler.
The determined Islanders (29-1 NAC, 5-10-2), who scored three straight goals to erase a 1-0 deficit, regained the lead when Sean Shepard took a lead pass from Evan Dier and converted a break-away opportunity while colliding with Devil goalie Dave Prudhomme who posted 19 saves on the night.
Defenseman Joe Giglio tallied his second goal of the game and the Devils second equalizer of the third period, with 5:01 to play, which eventually forced overtime. Taking a power play backpass from Mullin, Giglio wristed a shot through heavy traffic which rattled the back of the net.
The Devils secured their game-winner 2:59 into overtime after James made three outstanding stops to complete a stellar 35-save outing. Drew Costigan ended the contest by redirecting a short shot by Giglio after the defenseman made a quick move with a pass from Zach Barr.
Giglio opened the scoring 2:53 into the game with a hard wrist shot after a solo rush down the right wing. The Islanders answered with close range connections by Caleb Wills, Dier and Colby Hunter, at 5:35 of the first period and 1:11 and 3:59 of the second period. Sheppard, Dier, Ryan Charlebois and Wills drew assists in the scoring flurry.
Both teams played very hard tonight and their goalie had a great game, said OFA Coach Jon Frederick.
Our red line of Jon Tayler, Drew Costigan and Zach Barr really played well. They worked and worked and they never gave up on any play and Joe Giglio had his best game of the season on defense.
OFA will play in the Islanders- Tournament this weekend facing Norwood-Norfolk in a non-league game 6 p.m. and facing John Jay on Saturday.
Potsdam 4, SLC 1: The Stoners (12-4, 8-0 NAC) killed off six power plays enroute to a nice win against two state ranked teams. Logan Ford scored first from Josh Locey in the first period for Potsdam while Robbie Scott connected from Chad Varney in the second for a 2-0 lead.
Devon Euto finished off a short pass from Ian Lynch for the Larries on a power play in the third at 5:54 but Trevor Keleher quickly answered from Varney at 7:08. Locey put the game away with an unassisted goal at 10:38.
Nate McLaughlin was extremely busy in the crease for the Larries with 30 saves. Devin Crary stopped 15 shots for Potsdam.
Canton 1, N-N 0: Andrew McCormick took a lead pass from E.J. Curtis then skated into the zone against a lone defender and wristed a shot into the top corner just 51 seconds into the second period and the Bears (6-9-2, 4-3-2) recorded their third straighrt shutout.
Their goalie played a phenomenal game tonight, said coach Paul Durant after freshman Jon Stone turned aside all 38 shots. Our guys played well and worked hard all game but we just couldnt get one past their kid.
Brandon Richards posted 15 saves working the N-N crease. N-N fell to 8-7-1, 6-5.
NCCS 5, Malone 1: The visiting Cougars (7-7) scored three times in the third period to pull away from a 2-1 lead. Alex Duffy, Jordan LaMere, Nick Palmer, Dayton Roberts and Josh Rabideau broke through for the goals while Cody Young turned aside 16 shots backstopping the win.
Tanner Studlack pulled the Huskies (7-9-1) to within 2-1 just 21 seconds into the middle frame with a power play goal assieted by Cameron Daniels and Brandon Powers had 20 saves.
Massena 3, Salmon River 1: Two third period goals broke a 1-1 deadlock as Anthony Cortese scored from Patrick Manning at 7:43 of the third and Ian Wilson converted from Jordan Hart at 11:28 for the game-winning and insurance goal for Massena (10-5-1, 7-2-1). Nathan Smoke scored from Ty Terrance for Salmon River (1-13-2, 0-8-2) which answered Massenas Ryan Moffitts unassisted goal in the first.
Connor Paquin made 10 saves for Massena and Corey Garrow handled 25 shots for Salmon River.