Central holds on
Central skaters hold on to beat Nashua South
Manchester Central's Colin Pacheco, left, facing, celebrates his goal with teammates Devon Sprague, center, and Jake Clark(21) vs. Nashua South in the second period of their game played at JFK Coliseum in Manchester Monday. (Mark Bolton/Union Leader)
South (0-5-2) fell behind 6-1 but mounted a furious comeback as Central (5-1-0) emptied its bench in the third.
The Little Green pushed the lead to 5-1 at 4:18 when freshman Bowen Bilodeau snapped a shot off South goalie Alex Bender's glove and in.
And then things got crazy.
South sophomore Bryan Connolly scored on a wrist shot from the right circle at 6:53. Less than three minutes later, Arya Saliany scored on a breakway off a designed play from a faceoff when Owen McNulty sent him away with a breakout pass off the left boards.
Then with 48 seconds remaining and South's net empty for an extra attacker, Purple Panther Steven Saucier banged home a shot from the slot off an Alkim Dato feed and suddenly it was a one-goal game.
"It was a wild finish. They put in their backup and we put in our backup. We were finally able to get a little momentum going and some shots on net," said South coach Eric Momnie. "Their starter is a phenomenal goalie and he didn't give us much. Once we got a couple bounces and got a couple to go in, our spirits lifted and we gave them a game there at the end."
Momnie said he felt Central's lack of energy as well and knew his team missed an opportunity to get on the Little Green in the first frame.
South got its lone goal on Beliveau with 18 seconds remaining in the second when freshman defenseman Tony Columbus' shot from the right point hit traffic in front and deflected inside the left post, leaving the score 3-1 after two periods.
"I know they were one of the teams I picked to be at the top. You always want to beat teams like that," Stone said. "We've got to come play and give an effort like we had Saturday (against Memorial) to beat them."