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Top-seeded Larries advance past FA into Division II hockey final


BRASHER FALLS - The St. Lawrence Central hockey team may not have gotten off to the start that coach Mickey Locke had hoped for against Franklin Academy on Wednesday but the Larries came up with the finish that they needed to advance to the Section 10 Division II Championship Game.

“We came out and play hard for the first five or six minutes and I thought we had the edge territorially in the first period but give them credit, they played tough defense and we came up empty. I’m just very pleased with the way our kids didn’t get frustrated. They stayed on task and kept their focus and came up with a big win,” said Locke after the Larries turned back the Huskies 5-2 at Tri-Town Arena.

The top-seeeded Larries will now get set to take on Norwood-Norfolk in the title game this Sunday at Clarkson’s Cheel Arena starting at 4 p.m. The Icemen advanced by holding on for a 2-1 decision on the road over second-seeded OFA.

“We won our two games against Norwood-Norfolk but we know it’s going to be a tough matchup for us on Sunday,” Locke added. “They are very skilled and they are just so fast that they can make things happen in a hurry. It’s going to be a great game.”

Unlike the two regular season meetings between the two teams which saw the Larries jump out to decisive first-period leads en route to posting convincing wins, the Huskies broke through for the first goal in the post-season rematch when eighth-grader Kyler Head slid a loose puck from the top of the goalmouth into the back of the net just 1:59 into the second period.

The Larries started to turn the momentum midway through the period then a strong forecheck by Blake Baldwin produced a loose puck behind the Huskies goal where it was quickly gathered up by Devon Euto who centered it from the right side of the net to the top left of the slot where it was one-timed past FA netminder Joey Brown by Nathan Stickney at the 8:23 mark.

The Larries continued to used their forecheck to create sustained pressure in the offensive zone. The pressure led to the first Huskies penalty in the 11th minute and SLC took advantage when Ian Lynch lifted a shot into the top right corner from the right slot for a power play goal with 3:08 left in the middle frame. Baldwin again drew an assist.

“The first goal for us was big but the power play goal was the one that really got us going,” noted Locke.

The Larries, who had a potential third goal waived off late in the second period, were able to carry the momentum of their power tally going to start the third where they broke the game open with a pair of goals in the first four minutes. Baldwin earned his third assist of the night when he set up the eventual game-winner by Lukas Arquiett just 59 seconds into the final frame. Kody Kocsis made it 4-1 at the 3:58 mark when he connected from Ian Lynch and Arquiett.

The Huskies slowed the SLC surge three and a-half minutes later when Tanner Studlack fashioned an unassisted goal but the Larries answered less than two minutes later when Lynch connected from Arquiett with 6:45 left in regulation.

“I thought all our lines played well but Blake Baldwin and Luke Arquiett really had strong games for us up front,” said Locke after his squad improved to 15—4-1 heading into its third sectional final in four years.

Nate McLaughlin had another strong outing between the pipes for the Larries, turning aside 21 of the shots he faced while Brown, an eighth-grader, made 39 saves in the final game for veteran coach Chuck Dievendorf as the Huskies closed out their season at 9-11-1.

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