February 5, 2011
Resilient Golden Eagles
Power play goals, Broyles’ saves help to knock off Hamilton 4-2
A good night on the power play and some strong goaltending meant good things for the Cortland-Homer hockey team Friday night at the J.M. McDonald Sports Complex.
The Golden Eagles were successful on two of their four extra-man situations in the game while junior netminder Cory Broyles made 20 saves in a 4-2 Senior Night win over Hamilton.
C-H is now 8-2 in games against fellow Division I teams, good for a tie for fourth with Rome Free Academy ahead of a visit to that same Black Knights squad this evening. Both have already clinched post-season berths, with the top four DI finishers earning first-round home games in sectionals.
Coach Don Armstrong’s squad is now 8-3 in Division IB of the CNYHSHL, tied with RFA for first, and 8-7 overall.
“These kids are pretty resilient,” Armstrong said. “We’ve had our ups and downs, but they know that they can come back and that, when the other team comes back and ties it, they can still respond and win.”
That’s what happened Friday night.
The Golden Eagles got the only goal of the first period when senior defenseman Nick Potter tipped home a rebound in front for his third goal of the season with 3:59 left, the assists on the power-play tally going to junior left wing Aaron Zimmerman and junior right wing Zack Daniels.
“We had maybe one good scoring chance before Nick put it in, and they had three or four,” Armstrong said. “But Cory answered the bell for us, so when we got the first one it was a big lift.”
It didn’t take the Emerald Knights long to answer in the second, as junior forward Alex Brink, who came in having scored 21 goals (with five assists) in the last five games and who leads all Section 3 goal-scorers, put a shot over Broyles’ left shoulder from the right-wing circle just six seconds in.
The game remained deadlocked until eighth-grade forward Danny Turck converted a pass from sophomore right wing Casie Garrison low in the slot for his fourth goal of the season with 6:06 left in the middle stanza, junior forward Leo Riley also picking up an assist on the play.
The eventual game-winner came 1:26 later — five seconds after C-H went on the power play — as Daniels notched his seventh of the season off assists from Garrison and Potter to make it 3-1 after two.
DANIELS SEWED THINGS up with his second goal of the game, and eighth of the season, with 9:02 left in the game off assists from Zimmerman and junior center Tim Walsh. Brink closed out the scoring with his second of the game and 39th of the season with 6:21 left off a feed from senior forward Alex Foster.
Hamilton kept the pressure on, and pulled junior goalie Brady Carroll (who made 14 saves as the visitors had a 22-18 shot advantage) with 2:32 left after coach Murray Decock called a timeout. Carroll came back in for the final 29 seconds when a faceoff was called deep in Hamilton’s defensive zone.
“Brink is kind of a man among boys out there,” Armstrong said. “We knew we had to try to get to him before he got up a full head of steam, and make his route to the net tougher.”
As for his two goals, Daniels said that “The first one was off a rebound and, after the goalie made the primary save, I just put it in. On the second one Walsh got the puck to Zimmerman, who came down with it and made a pass through to me. I put it in the low corner.
“It felt good, but we knew that a two-goal lead is dangerous and that they could come back. But you could also tell that they were deflated after they went down by two goals.”
“Cortland did a good job on the power play tonight,” said Emerald Knights coach Decock, whose team holds down the eighth and final playoff spot at 5-4-1, two points ahead of Ontario Bay, is 6-4-1 in Division IB and 10-6-1 overall. “I thought their goalie was tremendous. We had some great looks at open nets, and sometimes the kids took easy shots thinking they’d go in and he recovered quickly to make the save. Then our snipers started trying to pick the corners and missed high.
“We stood around a lot in the first period — I’m not sure if that was due to warming up and then waiting for the Senior Night ceremonies, or what. We were coming off six goals in our last game and the kids were starting to think the puck would just come to them,” he added, Hamilton coming off a 7-6 overtime loss to RFA on Tuesday. “Cortland-Homer did a nice job of slowing Alex (Brink) down by keeping the puck along the boards and taking it away when it got out into the middle. They did a nice job of adjusting to our style. We didn’t do a good job of adjusting to theirs.”
“I’VE KNOWN ALEX for awhile, from camps and stuff,” Broyles said. “He has quick hands and when he’s able to set up he gets good chances. He’s a lot like (senior forward) Derek Eccles from Corcoran, hard to take off the puck, and having played against Eccles already (in a 3-2 home win Dec. 20), we did a better job.
“The save that stands out for me tonight is the slap shot from the point that I snapped up,” he added. That came in the second period right after Turck’s goal, and right before the penalty that led to Daniels’ first tally
“The kids are in pretty good position in terms of sectionals right now, within sight of a home game,” Armstrong said. “They see that they have it within their grasp. Potter had a very, very steady game defensively, and (junior) Brandon Wood had a couple of good defensive sequences. Our first line (Daniels, Zimmerman and Walsh) continues to work hard, and Garrison did a good job of setting up Turck and Daniels. It was a combination of things we had to have.”
The team’s four seniors — Garrison, Potter, left wing Brad Mitchell and defenseman Nick LaRue — were honored in pre-game ceremonies that included a slide show that featured them, as well as recognition of their parents.
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