Crater comes up short in playoffs

The Crater hockey team had come from behind in the third period in half of its eight wins this season, so when the Comets emerged from the locker room trailing Churchill by two goals entering the final frame on Saturday, they were confident yet another victory was within reach.

But despite firing 16 third-period shots at Churchill goalie Jessie D'Agosta, the Comets could tally just once and wound up on the short end of a 6-4 decision in the second round of the Southern Oregon League playoffs at The RRRink.

"I think we had a really good chance of coming back, but it just didn't come together in the end," said Crater coach Richard Renfro, who pulled goalie Lucas Paulsen in the final minute in an attempt to tie the game.

Jake Randol brought the Comets to within 5-4 on a goal with 4:40 left. But D'Agosta stood his ground, making 15 of his 31 saves in the third and denying Crater the equalizer. Riley Klum eventually added an empty-net tally for Churchill with seven seconds remaining to seal the outcome.

"They were always in front of the net, pushing our guys out of the way," said Crater defenseman Bryce Crawford, who had four assists.

Randol and Tate Stevens each scored twice for the Comets, who were 0-for-5 on the power play and drop into the elimination round to face South Medford on Wednesday.

Kulm had two goals and three assists for the second-seeded Lancers, who will face defending league champion Ashland in a semifinal game on Wednesday.

"We gave them back a couple of goals that we shouldn't have," Renfro said.

Paulsen made 24 saves for Crater, including 12 in a first period that ended with Churchill ahead 2-0.

Churchill 2 3 1 — 6

Crater 0 3 1 — 4

ASHLAND 8, NORTH MEDFORD 2 — Casey Skolnik had seven points for the second consecutive night as the top-seeded Grizzlies eliminated the fifth-seeded Black Tornado.

Skolnik, the SOL's leading scorer with 73 points during the regular season, had three goals and four assists. Josh McLaughlin scored twice, while Keegan Healy, Jeffrey Jensen and Trevor Perry also tallied for Ashland. The Grizzlies will face Churchill in the semifinals on Wednesday.

Alex Evans and Jared McClure each scored third-period goals for North Medford, which went 1-for-8 on the power play for the second straight night. Chase Myers made 30 saves for North, 5-12-0 overall.

North Medford 0 0 2 — 2

Ashland 3 3 2 — 8

SOUTH MEDFORD 3, KLAMATH FALLS 2 — Brandon Punsuk scored the game-winning goal with 2:42 remaining as the third-seeded Panthers rallied from a two-goal deficit to keep their season alive.

With the game tied at 2-all, Punsuk took a pass from Samantha Andrews in the neutral zone and beat Ice Hawks' goalie Zahlen Zbinden glove side with a slap shot. Zbinden kept the Ice Hawks close by making 26 saves.

Wyatt Small and Dane Irving each scored short-handed goals for South, which has won seven of its last eight and gets a rematch with Crater on Wednesday.

Aaron Bellini scored twice for sixth-seeded Klamath Falls, 0-16-1 on the season.

Klamath Falls 2 0 0 — 2

South Medford 0 1 2 — 3

Share This Story