Pinkerton skaters remain in the NHIAA hockey playoff hunt
Concord's Adam Godbout attacks Pinkerton Academy goaltender Matt Marchman in the first period of the NHIAA Division I boys hockey tournament at the Ice Den in Hooksett on Wednesday. (THOMAS ROY/UNION LEADER)
The defending state champion Astros cruised to an 8-4 comeback win in first round play of the NHIAA Division I boys' ice hockey tournament Wednesday at the Ice Den. The No. 7 Pinkerton squad will face No. 2 Manchester Central Saturday at 6:30 p.m.
No. 10 Concord led 2-1 after one period and 3-1 early in the second before Pinkerton exploded for six unanswered goals.
"I think it had more to do with how Concord was playing. They played well and took it to us," said Pinkerton coach Casey Kesselring. "After the first period, we thought we were lucky to be down one and we tried to settle our guys down and said 'listen, we've been down before. We've got to start picking up our play and good things will happen.'?"
The Astros (11-8-0) comeback began at 8:50 of the second period when sophomore defenseman Steve Leonard's shot from the left point made it through a screen and past Tide freshman goalie Ben Nelson.
Pinkerton tied the game at 3-3 at 13:48 of the second when sophomore Devin Moore banged home a rebound off Giovanni Corsetto's initial shot. Just over a minute later the Astros had their first lead of the game at 4-3 on junior Connor Brady's rebound put-back.
"For two periods it felt like we dominated," Concord coach Duncan Walsh said. "It felt like we should have had the lead going into the third. That last couple minutes of the second really hurt us. Too many goals where they didn't have to work hard for it."
The fifth Pinkerton goal came just 33 seconds into the third period to make it 5-3. Leonard's slap shot from the left side went wide of the net on the left side, but the puck bounced right to the tape of Brady parked at the right post for the goal.
"Getting that fifth goal to get the two-goal cushion, you could kind of see their kids skating to the bench like the wind was out of their sails," Kesselring said.
Pinkerton poured it on from there, extending to 6-3 at 5:54 on sophomore Ethan Landry's goal from deep on the left side. The lead pushed to 7-3 with a power-play goal from Dominic Corsetto at 7:32.
Concord (6-11-2) made it 7-4 at 9:04 when senior Harrison Murphy beat goalie Matt Marchman with a rebound shot, but the Astros put the game away with a rebound power-play goal from sophomore Ryan Day at 11:21.
"Coming into the third, we said that it was far from over," Kesselring said. "We've got a lot of guys that have won the state championship and guys with experience. We've got to go out and try and finish them off."
Concord led 1-0 with the first goal of the game at 4:27 of the first period. Stefan Kazmouz sent Godbout ahead on a breakaway and Godbout beat Marchman with a wrister stick-side. Pinkteron tied the game less than a minute later when Dominic Corsetto got a breakaway of his own and backhanded a shot five-hole.
Godbout scored again at 14:43 of the first, banking a one-timer off a Mitchell Hayes pass. Godbout completed his hat trick at 1:16 of the second period, but it was not enough in the end.