BRISTOL—The conclusion was dramatic, to say the least. Karson Grainey’s power-play goal with 2.4 seconds remaining in the third period was the decisive blow as Council Rock North edged Souderton 4-3 Wednesday night at Grundy Arena in a Suburban High School Hockey League National Division matchup.
The winning goal capped a late flurry that the Big Red (0-3, 0-1 in divisional play) score three times in the third period, including twice in a span of 14 seconds to tie the game with 50 seconds left in regulation, only to yield Grainey’s game winner, which came while Souderton’s Seth Grossman was sitting in the penalty box after drawing an elbowing penalty with 23 seconds remaining before overtime.
The win was the first for the Indians in four starts (1-1 in the division).
“I think it gives us a big energy boost,” Grainey said. “Especially going into our rivalry game next week (against Council Rock South next Wednesday). I think we’re moe confident.
“It wasn’t the most pretty win, but we’re more confident now, and we’ve just got to keep it rolling from here.”
Goals from Lucas Simmons and Michael Booth gave North a 2-0 lead before Jackson Accardi extended his team’s lead to 3-0 with 1:02 left in the second frame.
Grossman ended Ina Goldberg’s bid for a shutout 2:43 into the final period but North still looked to be in control as the clock wound down. When Maxwell Ryon scored to make it a one-goal game some eyebrows were raised but North still had time on its side with just 1:04 remaining in regulation. Grossman’s second goal of the night altered the landscape significantly but just 27 seconds later he was flagged for a no-doubt-about-it elbowing penalty to give North a power play.
Grainey’s goal came on a rebound off Simos’s original shot. The junior found the top right quadrant of the net after Souderton netminder Noah Connor made an initial save.
“I think what’s really fortunate is that is was a good learning opportunity for the kids about playing three periods 17 minutes all the way through” said North coach Greg McDonald. “They’re lucky to come out on top. So, hopefully it helps us down the road.
Meanwhile, Souderton coach Ryan Uchniat had a forum to address his team about the importance of killing penalties.
“I think that’s two weeks in a row where our penalty kill has come up short,” he said. “With (23) seconds left, we needed to really execute.”
Uchniat also spoke to the importance of staying out of the box altogether. “We’ve really got to be more disciplined as a team in general,” he said. “It starts with me, making sure we stay focused. That means focused on the simple things, playing solid hockey and playing within the whistles.”
Souderton 0 0 3—3
C.R. North 2 1 1—4