GOFFSTOWN, N.H. — The start couldn’t have been more perfect for the Pinkerton hockey team.
Then, suddenly, the game began to shift.
After the Astros jumped out to a two-goal lead in the first period, undefeated Bedford responded with two quick scores to start the second, tying the game and seemingly stealing momentum.
“The game could have gone either way right there,” said Pinkerton’s Ethan Burgess. “We had to make sure not to get down on ourselves. They started to get the momentum. I felt like the next goal was going to be big.”
Burgess picked up a pass, flew down the right side and fired the puck over the goalie’s glove for a goal midway through the second that gave Pinkerton the lead, and the Astros handed Bedford its first loss of the season, 3-2 on Saturday at Saint Anselm’s Sullivan Ice Arena.
“This feels great!” said Pinkerton goalie Dakota Robinson. “I love playing in big games. It gets me that much more pumped up. It was a big win. I think they came in feeling a little too confident. We showed them not to mess with Pinkerton.”
With the win, the Astros (10-1-0) take over the top spot in the New Hampshire Division 1 hockey standings. Bedford (8-1-1) falls to third behind Concord (9-1-0).
“It’s always good to beat a team like Bedford,” said Astros coach Sam Littlefield. “Our goal is to get better and not peak. Our guys have a ton of character. We have a lot of depth, and we are always going to work for that win.”
Pinkerton started the game red hot. Just 1:24 into play, Mason Drouin gave the Astros the lead. Then, with 4:00 left before the break, Hunter Drouin made it 2-0 with a score.
“The big thing was to come out fast and get ahead,” said Burgess. “We knew Bedford would come out strong. So scoring those two goals fast and getting ahead was huge.”
Bedford, however, started the second period on a two-man advantage, and two quick goals later the game was tied.
But Pinkerton then found itself on the power play, and Burgess struck.
“Dakota passed it out to JD (Jack Normand),” said Burgess. “I got the puck and just shot it hard and hoped for the best. It got past the goalie and I was super excited to give my team back the lead.”
The goal was exactly what Littlefield wanted to see from Burgess, who now has four goals for the season.
“I tell him every time that when he has the shot in the slot he has to take it,” said the coach. “He has a great shot, he’s quick and he knows what to do with the puck. It was a perfect finish. “
From there, Robinson (22 saves) and the Astro defense held strong.
Bedford managed a flurry of shots in the final minutes, but Robinson was there to turn them away. And when one did squirt through his pads, Norman was there to clear it before it crossed the goal line.
“JD was there to be the second line of defense!” said Robinson with a laugh. “That was a big play. They were tough. It feels good to come out with a big victory tonight.”
The Astros next face another tough test, when they host Bishop Guertin (7-4-0) on Wednesday (8:40 p.m.) at the Tri-Town Ice Arena in Hooksett.
“Dakota played great, and the whole team played so well,” said Burgess. “It was really close, but we were able to finish it off. The whole team is super excited, and we want to keep it going.”
Contact David Willis at @DWillisET or DWillis@eagletribune.com.
Pinkerton 3, Bedford 2
Pinkerton (10-1-0): 2 1 0 — 3
Bedford (8-1-1): 0 2 0 — 2
Goals: P — Mason Drouin, Hunter Drouin, Ethan Burgess; B — John Giroux, Jack Sylvain
Assists: P — Jack Normand, Burgess, Brandon Banks, Gennaro Marra; B — Parker Roberto, Cam Wasylak
Saves: P — Dakota Robinson 22; B — Shea Guimont 26