Londonderry ices Pinkerton in rivalry victory
HOOKSETT - The Londonderry High School hockey team is on a roll and it wasn't about to let rival Pinkerton stop its momentum on Wednesday.
Every time the Astros tied the game the Lancers responded with a goal of their own as they never trailed in a 4-2 win in Division I action at the Ice Den.
"This is a big rivalry," Londonderry assistant coach Matt Davis said. "In terms of pride we really fight to stay on top."
Pinkerton actually put enough pucks in the net to win, five, but had three goals disallowed because of dislodged nets or whistles that stopped play. The two that did count weren't enough as Londonderry made good on all four pucks it put in the net.
"What are you going to do? That's the way it goes," Pinkerton coach Casey Kesselring said. "Ref losses sight of the puck. You like to see those calls go the other way, but nobody's perfect."
The win put the Lancers in good position to get one of the top seeds for the tournament with a record of 12-4-1, while the loss means the Astros will have to host a first-round game next Wednesday and fall to 9-8.
Most of the action came in the third period.
After the teams skated to a 1-1 tie over the first two frames, Michael Donlan scored a quick one in the third period to put the Lancers up 2-1 with 13:36 left to play.
The assist went to Curtis Harper, whose shot from the right side was stopped by Pinkerton goalie Nate Mitchell (29 saves), but the rebound went to Donlan on the left. Donlan kicked the puck to his stick and slapped it in for the score.
It took the Astros less than two minutes to tie it up when Connor Brady scored on the power play with 11:42 remaining to make it 2-2.
The winner was scored on a rush by the Lancers.
A shot by Eric Coburn went just wide to the right of the net, but the big junior forward stuck with the play and somehow got the puck back on the left side of the goal. He fired a shot on a tough angle, back across the net and just inside the right post to make it 3-2 with 6:42 remaining in regulations.
It wasn't over yet. Pinkerton scored what seemed to be an equalizer with 1:52 left, but the whistle was blown to stop play just before it was scored and the goal was not allowed.
Pinkerton pulled the goalie shortly after and got some opportunities, but an empty-net goal by Ryan Griffin iced the game with 11 seconds left.
Londonderry struck first with a goal by John Dunn at 5:35 of the first and Pinkerton tied it up 1-1 when Jake Veilleux beat Lancer goalie Joe McGrath (36 saves) at 10:25 of the second.
"We worked hard to get into into the playoffs when we first got here (four years ago)," Davis said. "Now it's just how high can we go?"