Trailing by four goals with 4:25 to play in the second period, Pequannock’s Hunter Soden was feeling down, but not out.
The junior forward struck for two goals, including the game-tying score with 5:27 to play to rally Pequannock to a 5-5 tie with Mountain Lakes in a MCSSIHL Halvorsen Division clash at Mennen Arena.
Rocky Rovero was also instrumental in the comeback effort with two goals and Jake Tengi picked up four assists for Pequannock (8-5-2), which extended its unbeaten streak to four (2-0-2).
“We knew that Mountain Lakes would give us a good game,” Soden said. “But we didn’t give up. We knew that we could do it.”
Mountain Lakes (3-8-1) built a 5-1 lead when junior Hadley Marin collected his third goal of the game on a power play at 10:35 of the second period. Zander Kotsen assisted on all of Marin’s goals and scored once and Chet Morgis finished with a goal and an assist for Mountain Lakes, which is winless in its last four games (0-3-1).
Pequannock was able to cut its deficit to two goals, striking twice within 26 seconds over the final 1:08 of the second period.
Soden capitalized on a power-play opportunity when he tapped a centering pass from Rovero past Mountain Lakes goalie Gavin Spray (24 saves) at 13:52, and then Rovero blasted a slap shot from close range with 42 seconds left in the second period that enabled Pequannock to pull to within 5-3.
Soden assisted on Rovero’s goal 3:15 into the third period when Pequannock cut its deficit to 5-4. Tengi won the faceoff to the left of Spray and pulled the puck back to Soden, who send a one-handed pass on goal that Rovero converted.
“I got the puck and I just tried to throw it in front and Rocky Rovero was right there for it,” Soden said.
Despite being denied on several good scoring opportunities by Spray, Pequannock was able to break through for the equalizer when Tengi sent a perfect pass to Soden streaking through the slot at 9:33 of the third.
“Andrew Sontag got that play started when he chipped the puck out of our zone and then joined the rush,” Soden said. “Tengi saw the opening and made a good pass to me. I’ll have to give credit to Sontag on that one.”
Marin gave Mountain Lakes a 1-0 lead at 2:30 of the first period when he beat Pequannock’s Jake Corter (17 saves) through the five hole. Matt Maier tied the game at 1 for Pequannock with an unassisted goal 1:22 later.
Kotsen and Marin then assisted on Morgis’ goal at 11:41 and Marin scored off a faceoff at 14:31 of the first to give Mountain Lakes a 3-1 lead.
Kotsen’s goal at 3:50 of the second period and Marin’s power-play tally at 10:35 gave Mountain Lakes a 5-1 advantage.
“To have that lead was just what we wanted,” Mountain Lakes assistant coach Dan Drollinger said. “But we needed to play a little stronger brand of hockey. In the third period we were aggressive. We wanted to make sure and not hold back and play too defensively. We wanted to take it to them.
“Hadley Marin played a great game and he did what we told him. He has one of the best shots in the league and we told him to take as many shots as possible. When he puts the puck on net, good things will happen.”