MANCHESTER — How's that for openers?
First-year Pinkerton Academy hockey coach Joey Lee wasn't complaining about his debut, a wild 2-2 tie with Manchester Memorial at JFK Coliseum Monday night.
Pinkerton (0-0-1) scored with 23.2 seconds remaining only to have Division I defending champion Memorial (0-1-1) tie the game with four seconds left.
"That was fantastic. It was a battle, 1-1, pretty even all the way through and then we get one late, everyone is excited and the next thing you know, they come back with one," Lee said. "To open up on the road against the defending state champion in their barn and come out with a tie, I think is a positive and something we can build on."
The Astros took a 2-1 lead with 23.2 seconds to go in the game when senior captain Ryan Christie made a pass from behind the net to Ethan Landry alone in the slot. Landry ripped a wrist shot past Memorial junior goalie Brandan McKenzie.
Memorial pulled McKenzie following the ensuing faceoff and it was the extra man on the ice, senior Kyle Chalifoux, who netted the tying goal with four seconds remaining.
Pinkerton was unable to clear its end and Chalifoux picked up a loose puck in the slot and fired a shot through traffic to beat senior goalie Sean Hall.
"We got lucky pulling the goalie and coming back," said Memorial head coach Mark Putney. "We talked on the bench about having another shot at it."
Both teams had chances in the eight-minute overtime, but there were no more goals to be had.
After a scoreless first period, Pinkerton took a 1-0 lead at 9:00 of the second period.
Christie stole the puck at the Memorial blue line and then skated in, darting around a defender and moving in on McKenzie (20 saves) alone before sliding the puck five-hole.
Memorial tied the game at 1-1 at 13:13 of the second on a goal from No. 13, Jacob Poitras. Pinkerton's Tyler Pendergast sent a pass from behind his own net that was intercepted by Poitras in the slot and Poitras deked left before backhanding the puck past Hall.
Hall ended the night strong, making 29 saves overall and turning aside several multi-shot flurries in the third.
"This was his first varsity start today and I think it certainly was a bit shaky in the beginning. He stopped the puck and that's what matters," Lee said. "As the game went on I think he became more confident. I'm proud of him. It's progress for him to get game experience."