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Pittsford Panthers

December 23, 2021 - 9:35pm

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In what Head Coach Marc Staley called “our poorest effort of the year,” Batavia Notre Dame United – plagued by mistakes in its own zone and outshot by a more than two-to-one margin – dropped a 7-4 decision to Pittsford tonight in Section V hockey at the Batavia Ice Arena.

Sophomore Ben Norten scored three goals and assisted on another as the visiting Panthers broke away from a 2-2 tie with four goals in the second period to take a 6-4 advantage heading into the third period.

Pittsford, 4-3-1, fired 46 shots at BND goaltender Courtney Schum, while United could manage to put just 19 on Panthers’ goalie Aden Brown.

“This was our poorest effort of the year and we have to address that,” Staley said. “We have to come to play every night. And we didn’t execute tonight and they’re a fast team and a skilled team.”

Staley pointed to his team’s miscues in its own end that provided Pittsford numerous extra opportunities.

“We gave up too many pucks in our own zone -- sloppy play,” he said. “Pucks in the back of our net (given away). You can’t make mistakes against Class A teams that are good like this. And we made too many tonight, so we’ve got to tighten that up. And we will. It’s still early in the year.”

Pittsford had several chances to draw first blood but was unable to capitalize on a power play midway through the opening period.

When BND drew a pair of penalties at the 8:00 and 7:21, it came through with the two-man advantage -- with senior Gavin Schrader putting away a rebound at 6:59. Jameson Motyka and Zack Eschberger assisted.

The Panthers tied the score at 3:44 on a goal by sophomore Henok Hankinson (assisted by junior Will Masaschi) and took the lead less than two minutes later when junior Lucas Procious scored from close range, with Norten and Colin Norton assisting.

United rallied with a minute left in the period when Eschberger converted a pass from the speedy Schrader, who had raced down the left side of the rink past the defense.

Pittsford controlled most of the action in the second period, outshooting the home team 26-10. And it didn't help the United cause when defenseman Noah Hudson's skate blade broke, forcing him to miss most of the 17-minute session while correcting the situation.

Norten scored off a rebound of a shot by Norton at 13:22 and Masaschi buried the puck after an initial save by Schum at 12:09 to put Pittsford up 4-2.

Following a BND timeout, United cut the deficit in half as Schrader deflected a shot by Parker Corbelli past Brown at the 11:00 mark (Eschberger also assisted), but Pittsford came back 55 seconds later as sophomore Brady McMahon beat Schum to her glove side from a tough angle.

After Schrader hit the crossbar on a shot at 6:25, United pulled to within a goal again as senior Vin DiRisio found the back of the net after a nifty pass from Motyka.

Schum made a couple tough saves inside of three minutes, but was unable to thwart Norten at the 1:14 mark when he scored his second goal, assisted by Norton. The duo combined again to close out the scoring at 10:57 of the third period after United gave up the puck behind its own net.

Pittsford clamped down in the third period, holding BND without a shot on goal until 2:57 remained in the game.

Asked if he thought Pittsford had a deeper team and better skaters, Staley instead talked about United’s unforced errors.

“We scored one on ourselves. Those are the things we have to address; too many giveaways in our own zone,” he said. “And we need more balance. We’re relying on two few guys right now.”

Still, Staley said he saw it as a learning experience.

“It’s good for us to play against these teams to learn the level that we have to get to,” he said.

Schrader upped his goal total to 15 (to go with his 15 assists) while DiRisio’s goal was his 10th of the season.

United, 5-3, travels to the LECOM Harborcenter in Buffalo for games against Section VI opponents next week – at 7:15 p.m. Wednesday against Hamburg and at 1:15 p.m. Thursday against Frontier.

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Photo at top: Batavia Notre Dame's Jameson Motyka avoids a Pittsford defender as goaltender Courtney Schum looks on. Photos at bottom: United's Parker Corbelli controls the puck as Pittsford's Lucas Procious converges; teammate Brady Johnson looks to maneuver past Pittsford's Keegan Ahern. Photos by Howard Owens.

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