By Zachary Harnischfeger
The Portside Royals honoring Hometown Heroes (Photo Credit: Zachary Harnischfeger)
The Portside Royals came into this game looking for a different result from the 4-4 tie in last season's game against the Fairport Red Raiders. In a second period that saw a total of six goals between the two teams, Portside was able to hang on and win 5-4 on Hometown Heroes night.
The Royals jumped out to an early 1-0 lead at the 14:58 mark in the first period after junior defensemen Alexander Schram snuck the puck past the skate of Fairport goalie Conner McRae. This was Schram's second goal of the season.
Three minutes later, at the 11:46 mark in the first period, senior forward Frank Grad scored his fifth goal of the season on the power play, to extend the Royals lead to 2-0. The Portside defense held strong not allowing the Red Raiders to get anything going on offense.
Frank Grad waiting for the puck. (Photo Credit: Zachary Harnischfeger)
"It was on the powerplay," Grad said. "We work on the powerplay almost every day in practice. We were able to work up top to me, and I was able to let one go and I had my guys in front screen the goalie and create some confusion just like we worked on in practice."
Fairport came out firing in the second period. Junior forward Andrew Crowley netted a goal just two minutes into the second period, to cut the deficit to 2-1. Two minutes later, at the 12:20 mark, junior forward Axel Black tied things at two apiece on the powerplay with his ninth goal of the season. The Red Raiders would not stop there.
With 10:51 left to play in the second period, junior forward Nicholas Rene gave the Red Raiders the 3-2 lead with his first goal of the season. The Royals responded with three goals of their own in rapid succession.
At the 7:28 mark in the second period, freshman forward Andrew Lamberton tied the game at three apiece with his second goal of the season. Two minutes later, sophomore forward Zachary Haines put the Royals ahead 4-3, netting his fourth goal of the season. 56 seconds later, senior forward Zachary Neu added to the lead, scoring his second goal of the season. At the end of the second period, the score was 5-3.
Portside celebrating the Zachary Haines goal. (Photo Credit: Zachary Harnischfeger)
"Wasn't the start we wanted, obvioulsy, but we were preaching urgency today," Portside Royals assistant coach Jim Gullen said. "They're very hard on the forecheck and just in general hard on the puck and so we told the kids to be urgent and I think that those quick goals that they scored their, two or three in a row fairly quickly, kind of woke everyone up and we realized we had to pick up our game a little bit and they responded well."
With 7:17 left to play in the third period, Fairport senior forward AJ Nelson scored his eighth goal of the season off a deflection, to make it a 5-4 game. This is how the game would end.
"We just have to keep playing our game and being confident," Gullen said. "We feel that we have a really good team. We show up and we play hard, which gives us a lot of chances for success."
With the win, the Royals improve to 5-2 on the season. They will be back in action on Friday night at 5:30 for a weekend tournament.