Astros state their caseBy ALEX HALL
New Hampshire Union Leader
February 19. 2018 10:32PM
HOOKSETT — Pinkerton Academy of Derry boys’ hockey coach Sam Littlefield has been pleased with his team’s power-play unit this season. The Astros’ performance on the man advantage led them to a 3-2 triumph over Bedford on Monday night in front of a jam-packed crowd at the Ice Den.
Pinkerton scored two goals, including the game-winner, on the power play en route to the win.
The victory moved the Astros to 13-3 and secured them a regular-season series sweep of two-time defending Division I champion Bedford (13-4). Pinkerton defeated the Bulldogs, 8-4, on the road on Jan. 20.
The Bulldogs were on a seven-game winning streak during which they had outscored their opponents, 39-10, entering Monday’s contest.
Littlefield said his players came into Monday’s contest with energy considering how important the win would be for Pinkerton in the standings. Hanover, Concord, Pinkerton, and Bedford sit in the top four spots in the division and each team has 13 wins.
Bedford and Pinkerton combined for 12 penalties in Monday’s contest.
Littlefield said Pinkerton moved the puck well, kept possession and showed patience with its shot while on the man advantage.
“In the past, we’d get the puck in and we’d just try to go right to the net and rush that shot,” Littlefield said. “But today we took our time and set up and got the puck to the points and got good shots from out there and our (defensemen) took some really good shots and they paid off for us.”
Colin Leighton was among those Astros defenseman who tested Bedford goaltender Conner Laurendeau with promising shots on the power play. Leighton, a senior defenseman, assisted on Pinkerton’s first power-play tally and scored what proved to be the game-winning goal from the high slot while the Astros had a man advantage with 6:15 remaining.
Bedford cut the Astros’ advantage to 3-2 a power-play goal from senior Zack Bayer with 2:44 remaining but could not draw even.
“It was definitely intense at the end,” Leighton said. “We really didn’t want to have to go into OT (overtime) but we just (bore) down and ended up winning.”
The Astros knotted the score at 1-1 with a power-play goal during a second period that featured two penalties on each team. Nick Trask redirected a blast from Leighton 6:52 into the middle frame.
Pinkerton broke a 1-1 tie 4:29 into the final period when senior captain Pat Hare scored from the doorstep following a centering pass from Ty Riviere.
Bedford opened the game’s scoring with a power-play goal from Jack Sylvain with four minutes remaining in the first period. The junior’s tally came on the Bulldogs’ first man advantage of the game.
Laurendeau (17 saves) prevented Pinkerton from striking first 5:20 into the contest when he made a sliding pad save on Leighton’s shot from the doorstep.
Pinkerton junior netminder Dakota Robinson made 24 saves.
“It’s been a good season for our power play overall. Some games are better than others,” Littlefield said. “Luckily, tonight was a good game for them.”