SOUTH HAMILTON — Trailing by three goals going into the third period and in danger of dropping its first four games of the season, the Pingree boys’ hockey team was getting desperate in its home opener last night against Moses Brown.
Only the Highlanders didn’t look it.
Coach Gino Khachadourian’s boys kept it simple in the final frame, and that approach worked wonders as Pingree scored four unanswered goals to grab its first win of the season, 5-4 over the Quakers.
“It’s a great feeling,” said Khachadourian. “The boys finally woke up. They showed character and resilience coming back from a three-goal deficit. We were keeping it simple, getting pucks to the point and hammering them to the net.”
Pingree (1-3) senior captain Brandon Franco scored the second of his two third-period goals with just under two minutes remaining for the game-winning score. He corralled a puck just inside the half-wall, turned and fired a quick snapshot that surprised Moses Brown (4-2) netminder Connor Friend on the short side.
“We definitely needed a little pep talk (before the third period),” said Franco. “We weren’t doing the little things and we weren’t winning battles. We had to change our attitude and play with heart.”
Franco’s first marker came earlier in the period when he jumped on a Quakers’ turnover in their own end and sniped the puck top shelf on Friend. Franco and his linemates — Ryan St. Pierre and Cam Schmitt — really turned it on in the third period as the Highlanders’ second line pressured the Quakers shift after shift.
Schmitt scored the first goal of the period when he tipped home a shot from the point by Matt Cavanaugh. “I definitely have to give credit to my line,” said Franco. “They were getting the puck in the zone and cycling down low, and I was able to find the puck a couple of times.”