Late Goal Lifts OFA In DII; Massena Rebounds In DI
Updated: Mar 5
BY DAVE SHEA
POTSDAM - After every OFA Hockey game, senior defenseman Nolan O'Donnell presents a blue and white construction helmet to a deserving player and writes an instagram blog which recounts game along with a touch of roast, satire and humor.
"It's been great for team chemistry, Nolan does a great job and everyone looks forward it." said OFA Coach Jon Frederick outside of a jubilant locker room on Monday night at the Clarkson Cheel Center. The second seeded Blue Devils had gained their second Section 10 Division II title and state tournament berth in three years with a 1-0 victory over first seeded, NAC Division II champion and defending Section 10 Champion Norwood-Norfolk.
In the Division I title game Massena followed up an NAC Division I title with a 5-1 victory over third seeded Canton and reversed the outcome of last year's finals.
The Devils (15-6-2) will enter state play on Saturday at 3 p.m. against Section 6 Champion Webster-Thomas, which downed Canandaigua 4-2 in its sectional title game, at RIT's GPC Center.
O'Donnell will have a great deal to blog about and may have to paint up a few extra hard hats after the Devils used a signature well-rounded team effort against the Iceman in a duel of two teams playing with extreme will and effort.
He scored the only goal of the game from Karson LaRose and Nolan Woods with 2:19 remaining in game on the Devils' second power play opportunity in the game which was played close to the vest with only three penalties.
The goal came just 16 seconds into the power play which developed in transition after sustained N-N (12-10-1) pressure, led by Bobby Voss and Cade VanBuren. The OFA defense prevented any close range deflections or open good looks from the front of the net and Mark Barr controlled the puck for a quick break-out and drew a tripping penalty call on a diving break-up attempt by a trailing Iceman.
"Karson LaRose made great rush and carried the puck behind the net. He threw it out front, Holden Woods was right in front of the goalie. The puck came right to me and I a had a lot of open net to shoot at and I put it in. I was playing up front on the power play," said O'Donnell.
Asked about his anxiously awaited blog entry by his teammates and the team's fans, O'Donnell said "I'll have some fun with the guys but the biggest thing for me was the way we came together as a team," he said with all seriousness looking back on how the Devils started 0-3 and then went on a vaunted 10-game winning streak.
"This game was just like the whole Division II season. Most of the games could have gone either way," said Coach Frederick speaking for himself, Associate Coach Matt Morley and Assistant Coach Jim Howard.
"We were opportunistic in scoring against a very good team and we had the league MVP in the net. Kelson Hooper showed it again tonight getting a shutout in the championship game after playing so well against Salmon River in the game that went to a shootout."
Hooper finished with 26 saves and for the second straight game prevailed in an outstanding goaltending duel.
N-N keeper Thomas Cafarella finished with 32 saves admirably backstopping a disciplined effort by the Icemen who feature the latest group of Madrid-Waddington student-athletes in one of the successful and sustained sports mergers between neighboring schools.
"This win is obviously very special because it came in the championship game. We figured it would be low scoring and it was. And my defense played well again in front of me," said Hooper who was honored after the game as the NAC Division II MVP and for the second straight year with the WMSA Radio Outstanding Division II Goaltender Award.
"They kept the shooters wide and when they do that I think I will stop 99 percent of the shots. They did that well tonight."
Bobby Voss of N-N received the Northcountrysports.net Award as the NAC Division II scoring leader.
MASSENA TAKES CONTROL IN DIVISION I GAME
Massena showed resiliency on defense and patience on offense in scoring five straight goals after Canton generated a series of threats early in the first period and broke through on a goal by Trey Bessette at 3:14. Bessette buried a shot off a short pass from Dan Mahoney who controlled a loose puck and cut in front of Massena goalie Ben Rogers.
The Raiders took the lead with two goals in the first period and scored three times in the third.
They pulled even at 4:41 when Nicholas Morrell sniped a wrist shot past Canton goalie Hayden Todd. Mickey Kuhn produced the only lead change of the day a sliding a rebound redirect under a diving save attempt by Todd. Garrett Engstrom and Aiden Rufa drew assists on the play.
In the third period scoring Pat Barclay set up a Zack Monacelli goal, Rufa gained his second assist of the game setting up Caleb D'Arienzo and Barclay netted an unassisted tally with 1:58 to play.
Rogers finished with 31 saves for Massena and Todd stopped 21 shots for Canton.
Massena will advance into state tournament play meeting Section 9 Champion Monroe Woodbury on Saturday at the Newburg Ice Time.
Massena's Nicholas Morrell shared the NAC Division I MVP Award with Potsdam goalie Cole Eakins who also received the WMSA Radio Division I Outstanding Goaltender Award. Will Varney of Potsdam was honored with the Northcountrycports.net Award as the Division I Scoring Leader.