WEST SPRINGFIELD, Massachusetts – The Springfield Pics 16U and 18U teams swept the New Hampshire Monarchs in convincing fashion, with a pair of hat tricks leading the way for a 7-0 16U win and a hard-fought 2-1 victory for the 18U team in action at the MassMutual Center on Saturday, January 27.
16U: The young guns got to work early against the Monarchs, with Spencer Korona opening the scoring less than four minutes in. The teams traded chances for the rest of the period, but the goaltending locked it down, as Addison Lawrence stopped all 13 shots he faced in the frame.
Things opened up more in the second, as Pavel Karasek doubled the lead for the Pics, and Korona added his second of the game a few minutes later to extend the edge to 3-0, despite the team being outshot 14-6 in the frame.
The dam finally completely burst in the third; Korona capped his hat trick to make it 4-0, Karasek scored again for a 5-0 edge with a power play tally, Carter Hanrahan added a goal for a 6-0 lead, and Karasek earned some hats as well with the final goal in the 7-0 win. Meanwhile, Lawrence was brilliant, stopping 15 in the final frame for a 42-save shutout.
18U: The second game of the night started as well as the first did for the Pics, as Nikita Kobzar slapped home a power play goal just under six minutes in; Gene Bouthiette would add a man-up marker of his own in the final three minutes of the frame to extend the edge to 2-0.
The Monarchs would battle back into the game, scoring midway into the second. A rash of penalties put the home team down a man for considerable time in the frame, but the PK held up. In the third, the Monarchs pressed, firing 22 shots on goal in the final frame, but none of them found the twine, as Connor McAnanama walled off the visiting squad; in total, he made 45 saves to earn the win.
NEXT UP: The Pics head to Hooksett, New Hampshire to finish the home-and-home series with the Monarchs on Sunday, January 28; the 16U squad will play at 12:30 p.m. and the 18U team will drop the puck at 2:50 p.m.