Bauer Hockey Classic: Trinity skates to crown
Backed by another stellar performance in net by tournament Most Valuable Player Ryan Slatky, the Pioneers knocked off Manchester Central 3-2 to win the Bauer Christmas Hockey Classic at JFK Coliseum on Saturday.
"It was a good two days," Trinity coach Mike Connell said. "Both games were very physical. It took a lot out of us."
On Friday night, Trinity beat Manchester Memorial 3-0 to earn a spot in the championship. The Pioneers took advantage of the berth with a tough win in a physical game.
The Pioneers (3-1) never trailed. They were paced on offense by two goals from Cam Brown and Kyle Valliere had the other. Slatky finished with 25 saves including a couple in the last minute to put the game away.
"We have two very good goaltenders," Connell said. "I know Slatky gets a lot of attention, but (Jacob Zimmerman) played very well for us the first two games."
The Pioneers' tandem gave up just seven goals in four games during the tournament.
The squads exchanged early goals.
First it was Trinity that struck with a shorthanded goal by Valliere.
Central's Austin Sprague misplayed a puck at the blue line and Valliere raced to pick it up in the neutral zone. He then went in alone on Little Green goalie Ian Beliveau and beat him to make it 1-0 at the 2:42 mark.
It didn't take long for Central (2-2) to strike back. Cole Anderson tied it up 1-1 when he scored on the power play less than a minute after the Pioneers took the lead.
Trinity then scored two unanswered, both by Brown, to get the 3-1 advantage.
The first came with 2:33 left in the first period during a scramble in front of the Central net. And the second came on a shot from the point through traffic to make it 3-1 early in the second.
The score was still 3-1 at the break and, when the teams came out in the third, the Little Green looked energized.
They went on the power play early and got to within a goal when Sprague scored with 11:19 left to play.
He moved in from the left circle. Slatky made the initial save with his pad but Sprague tapped in the rebound to make it 3-2.
Central stayed on the offensive and had a few chances to tie it up, including a partial break by Trevor Malmgren with about a minute left. Slatky stopped everything thrown at him, however, to help his team earn the title.
The Little Green came into the game shorthanded, with three of their regular players on the bench with injuries. Captain Mitchel Fortin is out with a broken arm, Andrew Kehas has a sprained shoulder and Ian Low is banged up as well.
"We came out really slow," Central coach Brian Stone said. "Turning it on for seven minutes in the third doesn't work. We've got to play a full 45."
Members of the all-tournament team were Valliere, Anderson, Brown, Dom Valluzzi of Merrimack, Brendan Sullivan and Bryan Syrene of Memorial and Slatky.
Manchester Memorial 3, Bedford 2: Andrew Putney scored the game winner when he poked in a puck in the crease to finish a play started by Colin Williamson with 1:35 left in the second to give the Crusaders the consolation game win.
Memorial (3-1) was coming off a 3-0 loss to Trinity of Manchester a night earlier and trailed 1-0 and 2-1 to Bedford (2-2).
Jacob finished with 26 saves for Memorial and Stevan Tempesta had 21 stops for Bedford...