NHIAA Hockey: Astros take flight, top ExeterBy ALEX HALL
New Hampshire Union Leader
December 11. 2017 11:37PM
HOOKSETT — Pinkerton Academy of Derry boys’ hockey coach Sam Littlefield said his players were amped up for their first game of the NHIAA Division I season Monday night at the Ice Den.
The Astros’ energy showed on the ice. Pinkerton scored three goals in both the first and third periods en route to a 6-0 victory over Exeter in the season opener for both teams.
Pinkerton senior captain Patrick Hare and junior forward Landon McClure both scored twice. Junior goaltender Dakota Robinson made 21 saves to earn the shutout.
Pinkerton took a 3-0 lead into the first intermission behind two goals from McClure and another from freshman Cooper Flinton.
McClure scored twice in the opening 3:10 of the game. The forward jammed the puck home from the crease 16 seconds into the game to open the scoring and added a rebound goal at the 3:10 mark to give the Astros a 2-0 lead.
Flinton scored with 3:11 left in the opening period when he went top shelf on Exeter sophomore goalie Jude Rogles (23 saves). Lucas Masciarelli set Flinton up for the score by winning a faceoff in the left circle and dishing it out to the freshman.
“Before the game, I told the guys, ‘I’d like to come out of the first period with three goals,’” Littlefield said. “That was exactly what we did. We tried to put it out of hand early and make (Exeter) try and work for it.”
The Astros swarmed to the puck, pinned Exeter in its own zone for long stretches and had a 13-6 shots advantage in the first period.
Hare scored twice — once on an Astros power play — and Masciarelli recorded a goal of his own over the opening 9:36 of the third period.
Exeter looked as dominant in the second period as the Astros did in the first but was not nearly as successful at finding the back of the net. The Blue Hawks outshot Pinkerton, 12-6, and put together several dangerous looks on their lone power play of the period but could not best Robinson.
Exeter logged four shots on goal over the first two minutes of the second period and tested Robinson with another five during its man advantage later in the frame.
“I thought Dakota played real well,” Exeter coach Jim Tufts said. “He’s an outstanding goalie and he played well and we needed a bounce. We didn’t get a bounce.”
Exeter senior captain Anders Dachsteiner tried to shoot through Robinson’s legs in the opening minute of the middle stanza but the goaltender made the pad save. Fellow Blue Hawks senior captain Tommy Civiello tried the same thing with 4:15 left in the second frame while Exeter was on the power play but suffered the same result.
“We’ve just got to keep it going all year,” Hare said. “Just keep the same determination all year and hopefully it can lead us to a championship.”