WATERFORD – The Waterford Mott Corsairs picked up a 6-5 come from behind victory over the visiting Milford Mavericks in a KLAA boys hockey crossover on Wednesday night.
Max Vancil banged home a rebound with 7:15 to play for the game winning goal, completing the comeback for Waterford Mott who trailed much of the night.
“It was a good a good exciting game,” Mott head coach Marty White said. “I thought the boys played well.”
Four times the Mavericks built a one goal lead in the first two periods, and four times the Corsairs were able to tie the score, the last time on captain Austin Sereno’s hat trick goal with 6.4 seconds left in the second period – a brilliant individual effort that saw Sereno stickhandle between the circles and beat multiple defenders before snapping a shot into the net from point blank range.
“It’s amazing how momentum shifts so fast in games at this level,” Milford head coach Paul Ogden said. “It’s really tough at this age to keep that flow going.”
“That’s the whole key,” White said. “You just can’t quit. You gotta keep working hard, battle for the puck, and win the battles.”
Sereno was the driving force behind the Corsairs comeback, notching five points on the night with three goals and two assists. All three of Sereno’s goals tied the score.
The other key factor for the Corsairs was the power play as Waterford Mott went 3 for 5 on the power play and scored a fourth goal just as one of Milford’s penalties expired.
“The second period we got a little undisciplined, took some penalties. In the third period we got back to our game, but came up one goal short today,” Milford head coach Ogden said. “We’ve been talking about it all year. You have to play disciplined. You have to play three periods of hockey. We played two out of three periods, and we came up one goal short.”
And it was the power play that would give Waterford Mott their first lead of the night midway through the third period when Vancil got a tap in from close range, redirect a puck that had been sent deep and just wide of the crease. Timothy Wilson would tie the game just 1:17 later with a shot from the left boards that snuck through a group of players and into the net, but Vancil would untie the game on his next shift to complete the scoring.
The Mavericks used a balanced attack to keep the Corsairs at bay for much of the first two periods and led 2-1 after the first period, getting goals from Connor Welsh and Trevor Murray. Overall, Milford got goals from five different players, including Evan Wilson, Dominic Bates, and Timothy Wilson.
“We’re going to run three lines. I know a lot of times teams shorten their benches. But right now, we’re not shortening our bench. We’re trying to develop everyone so that at the end of the year we’re ready to go,” Ogden said.
But they could never quite push the lead to two, though they came close on several occasions hitting all three posts in a span of less than four minutes early in the second period with the score 2-1. Shortly after the third post, Sereno tied the score with a fine stickhandling move in the crease on the power play.
“It was probably their best game of the year, and the first period was their best period that they’ve played this year. They were able to take some of the things that we’ve been learning in practice and put it into a game,” Ogden said of his team’s performance. “I’m very, very proud of the boys and the way they played today,” he added.
Milford slips to 1-4 on the season, while Waterford Mott improves to 2-3.
“We’re a young team this year,” White said. “We’ve gotta take every win we can get and learn by it. Hopefully, we’ll get better as we move on toward the end of the year and get stronger.”