JAY–In the second game of the hockey double header, the stands were full of recent North Country graduates, on hand to watch their alma mater win a close 3-2 game over the Burlington Seahorses.
In their first encounter, the Falcons scored four goals in five minutes en route to an 8-3 win at Leddy Park.
This game would be much different.
North Country had the momentum early, but penalties slowed them down and allowed Burlington to take the advantage through the middle stages of the first period.
Drew Stone drew the assignment in the nets for NCU, and was sharp throughout the period, keeping the score notched at zero's.
"This is his first (start) against a Metro opponent, last year it was against a Lake (division) opponent. Drew did a great job in net for us, made some huge saves, and I am really proud of him tonight," said coach Andrew Roy.
Late in period the Falcons got their game back in gear and would go ahead of Burlington with 3:41 left to play in the opening frame.
Ebin Fournier walked in from the blue line and fired a shot at BHS goalie Phil Comeau. Comeau made the initial save but Ross DeLaBruere was there to sneak the rebound past the netminder, 1-0 Falcons.
Said Roy of DeLaBruere's play, "I continue to be really excited about the way he plays hockey."
The score would remain 1-0 until Steven Ushakov tied the affair on the power-play in the second. After Stone made a save on the initial attempt, he was crunched in the crease by two BHS players and was unable to get to the rebound shot by Ushakov.
The Falcons responded five minutes later with a power-play goal of their own, and it was a thing of beauty.
DeLaBruere had the puck down low, fed it to Fournier on the point who in turn sent it over to Ryan Paul. Paul then laced an ankle high blast past Comeau giving the lead back to North Country.
For the second time in as many games at the Ice Haus, the boys in white fell victim to a late period goal. With less than twenty seconds to play, Brody Jacobs made an ill advised pass to Fournier, who was under pressure from Jared Rylant.
Rylant seized the puck and streaked in alone to tie the game with 8.6 seconds left on the clock.
"Jared has good puck skills, good speed, and he used his speed to go wide and managed to get two breakaways, converting on one," said BHS coach Leon Lifshultz.
The only scoring in the third period came in the first minute of play from Logan Fortier, who recently made the switch from defense to offense.
Again it would be on the power-play, and again Fournier, who assisted on all three goals, would be the architect. Ebin fired a shot to the short side of the net where Fortier grabbed the rebound and shot it off the post and in for the game winning goal.
"We needed to find more production. Against BFA, CVU, and Colchester we scored a total of two goals, and against good teams we are going to need more production, and he has the hands for it," said Roy on the Fortier move.
Late in the period with the net empty, it looked like the Falcons would make it a 4-2 finale, but their old nemesis the crossbar was back in action when DeLaBruere was denied his third point of the night with about thirty seconds to go.
They had a few more cracks at the net, but nothing went in and as the horn went off, Stone had his first career win against Metro division competition.
"I just tried my best, sometimes my team made it harder for me. I faced a lot of shots, but I fought through it and I did not want to let my team down," said Stone.
A few things that the team will address before their next game will be the length of shifts (sometimes over a minute in length, almost double of what they should be) and taking less penalties.
The 2-3 Falcons will travel to Stowe today for a 6:15 match-up with the Raiders