HOCKEY:  Stoney Creek's late goals puts the freeze on Rochester United | North Oakland Sports

HOCKEY:  Stoney Creek’s late goals puts the freeze on Rochester United

| January 17, 2016 | Comments (0)




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ROCHESTER — Evan Lazarevich said there’s no particular drill his team runs in practice simulating if a game is tied late in a period.

It’s just instincts of putting the puck towards the net and see what happens.

Larzarevich came through in the clutch in such an occasion Saturday night, scoring the eventual game-winning goal with 19.6 seconds left in helping Rochester Stoney Creek claim a 5-3, come-from-behind victory over rival Rochester United in an OAA Red Division hockey contest at The Onyx.

“It’s just reaction,” smiled Larzarevich, who finished with a goal and an assist. “You just have to put the puck on net and see what happens. I (one-timed) it and I knew it was on net.”

Transfer Bobby Andris sent the puck back out to Larzarevich, whose wrist shot from 15 yards out sailed inside the far post to put Stoney Creek (6-6-0, 3-3-0) in the lead for the first time.

Michael Sicilia’s sliding breakaway insurance goal with 1.3 seconds left sealed the deal.

The Cougars scored three goals in the final period, including twice in the final 20 seconds, to pull its first-ever series sweep over United.

“That’s wasn’t a good high school game — it was a great high school hockey game,” offered Stoney Creek coach Ian Smith. “Both teams played with great energy and both teams gave each other their best.”

Since the Rochester schools split into two programs a decade ago, Stoney Creek had never claimed two wins over United in the same season.

“And this was the first time Stoney Creek has swept Rochester United, at least since I have been here,” continued Smith. “A couple of years ago we split with them, but I know last year they got us each time.”

Down 3-2 entering the third, Stoney Creek tied the game at 3-3 when Andris notched his second tally of the game unassisted with 8:59 remaining.

“He moved in and he didn’t play high school hockey last season. We didn’t know anything about him,” said Smith of Andris. “But when a 120-pound kid is the fastest and best player out on the ice in a close game like this — I can’t say enough about his level of play.”

Three times Rochester United (5-9-0, 4-3-0) held a one-goal advantage and each time United relinquished the advantage.

“We had a few defensive lapses that led to goals,” said Rochester United coach Craig Staskowski. “It’s not like they dominated us by any stretch. I mean we outshot them (31-22). I just think the past couple of years we won a lot of close games. We found ways to win the close games. This year we have found ways to lose close games for whatever the reason. We haven’t figured it out yet.”

Rochester poked in the first goal with 9:22 left in the opening frame, when Matt Hawke slapped home a close-range shot off a feed from Michael Rittner

Stoney Creek caught RU napping with only 7.4 ticks left in the first period, as Ryan Maseli broke free on the left side for a slap shot after a through pass from Andris.

Rochester United took its second lead with 9:03 remaining in the second period. This time it was Rittner picking off a clear and skating in all alone before cashing in a breakaway paycheck.

Again, Stoney Creek answered only 56 seconds later with Andris ripping on a shot following passes from Max McKay and Lazarevich.

Rochester regained some late momentum in the second frame. Alex DiMarco ripped home a shot off a Kevin Hu feed with 19.5 seconds remaining in the period for the 3-2 advantage.

Despite outshooting Stoney Creek by nine, Rochester United could not beat goaltender Brock Johnson (28 saves) in the final frame.

Rochester had a shot cleared off the Stoney Creek goal line with 1:54 left which would have put them in the driver’s seat late.

“We had our chances. We hit the crossbar, had a shot cleared off the line. W just couldn’t take the lead again,” concluded Staskowski.

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