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Potsdam, Canton girls advance to Section 10 hockey final


MASSENA - After going winless through the final four games of the regular season, the Potsdam Central girls hockey team opened the post-season by knocking off Massena Central on Wednesday.

“Both teams played a solid first period and Massena was playing well defensively. We got that late goal in the second period then we were able to pop in a couple of quick ones to start of the third and the girls worked hard to keep Massena from getting back in the game,” said coach Joe Stark after the third-seeded Lady Sandstoners gained a 3-0 decision over the second-seeded Lady Raiders in the first round of the Section 10 playoffs at the Massena Arena.

With the win, Potsdam improved to 11-4-3 overall and earned a chance to defend its sectional crown this Saturday on the road against top-seeded regular season champion Canton Central at the Canton Pavilion. The Lady Golden Bears advanced to the title game via a 7-0 win over fourth-seeded Salmon River in the other semi-final round matchup on Wedneday.

The sectional final is slated to start at 7 p.m.

“They pulled away from us our first game against them then we had the scoreless tie in the second one so I’m sure it’s going to be another close one,” said Stark, looking ahead to Saturday’s rematch. “We had a little trouble scoring goals down the stretch but all that matters now is that we’re 1-0 in the playoffs.”

The winner of Saturday’s title game advances to the first-ever NYSPHSAA sanctioned girls hockey tournament which is slated for February 7-8 at the Clayton Civic Center and will feature the four sectional champions from around the state.

Potsdam 3, Massena 0: After trading missed opportunities through the first period and most of the second, the Lady Sandstoners broke through for the opening goal when freshman Jayden Young intercepted a clearing attempt deep in the Massena zone then dropped the puck back to senior Ally Miller who made no mistake wristing a shot into the top right corner of the net with 41 seconds left in the middle frame.

The Lady Sandstoners started the third period by picking right up from where they left off in the second and quickly pushed their lead to 3-0 with goals just seven seconds apart in the opening minute. Some tenacious forechecking by senior Jenny Tardelli produced a loose puck in the Massena zone and she controlled it over to sophomore Paige McCabe, who sent a shot on goal from the right slot but was denied by Lady Raider netminder Maddi Dillabough. The rebound went right across the goalmouth to Young at the far post and she made no mistake knocking the puck into the back of the net 28 seconds into the final frame.

“Jenny Tardelli really worked hard to make that goal happen and Jayden Young did a nice job of being in the right spot,” noted Stark.

On the ensuing face—off after the second Potsdam goal, sophomore Kalie Grant sent the puck up the right wing where it was controlled quickly by Miller who raced in to score a breakaway goal just seven seconds later.

“Both teams played hard the whole game and our girls battled right to the end but Potsdam took the momentum with that late goal and they carried it over to the start of the third,” said Massena coach Jenn Gray after her squad closed out the season with a 15-4 record. “Potsdam definitely didn’t make it easy for us tonight.”

“This was our seventh season and 15 wins is the most we’ve ever had,” she added. “We should have quite a few players coming back next year and I’m looking forward to working with them next season.”

Freshman Sidney Molnar turned aside all 18 shots she faced working the crease for the shutout while Dillabough recorded 28 saves in the losing cause.

Canton 7, Salmon River 0: At the Canton Pavilion, the Lady Golden Bears (13-4-1) skated to a 3-0 lead by the end of the first period and Elizabeth Burke handled the seven shots she faced to backstop the shutout.

Blake Orosz scored the first two goals of the game, netting the eventual game-winner 2:33 after the opening face-off assisted by Natalie Giglio and Margret Troiano, then finishing off an assist from Mimi Husinec just over four minutes later. Troiano closed out the first-period scoring at the 10:50 mark assisted from Orosz, who completed her hattrick just eight seconds into the second period with an unassisted goal.

Troiano finished with three goals and two assists while Giglio tallied a goal and two helpers as the Lady Bears doubled their lead in the second period before going on to produce the lone goal of the third. Mary Kait Mace contributed a solo assist toward the winning effort.

Becca Leroux posted 27 saves working the crease for the Lady Shamrocks.

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