Athletic directors at the Class 5A level have proven to be the most invested in controlling their own playoff destiny since a switch to the...
South Medford used steady efforts late from Terrance Cheeseboro and Taylor Rose to move into first place in the Southern League hockey standings with a 5-4 win over Crater at The RRRink on Wednesday.
The defending state champion Panthers had entered the match in a close battle for the top spot with the Comets but gained the edge after earning their second win in three meetings between the squads.
South Medford built a 2-1 advantage through one period thanks to an unassisted goal by Jake Sexton and a goal by Denzel Mobley off a Stephen Weber assist. Crater's Daniel Gomez scored via an assist from Dustin Gomez.
The teams traded goals in the second period, with Cheeseboro scoring off a Rose assist for South and Dustin Gomez scoring off a Daniel Gomez assist.
In the pivotal third period, however, the Panthers built a 4-2 cushion when Cheeseboro again scored off a Rose assist with 71/2 minutes to play. J.R. Keyser scored for Crater two minutes later off a Jacob Asbeck assist to pull within one goal at 4-3, and the Comets pulled goalkeeper Alec Looman down the stretch in hopes of netting an equalizer.
That strategy backfired, however, when Rose got the puck and slapped home an empty-net goal with 57 seconds left to push the Panthers back up 5-3. Undaunted, Crater was able to net a goal with seven seconds left when Asbeck scored an unassisted goal.
Johnny Lines secured 37 saves for South Medford, while Looman had 25 saves for the Comets.
South Medford 2 1 2 — 5
Crater 1 1 2 — 4