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Carney propels Panthers to title

South Medford's Preston Carney took charge in the Southern Oregon High School Ice Hockey League championship game Saturday.

Carney scored the final three goals unassisted to propel defending league champion South Medford to a 5-4 overtime victory over the top-seeded Klamath Falls Ice Hawks at The RRRink.

The fourth-seeded Panthers swept through the double-elimination playoffs undefeated — winning all four games in overtime — and will advance to the four-team state championships Mar. 19-20 at the Valley Ice Center in Beaverton. Klamath Falls will also move on to state as the district's No. 2 team.

Carney sent the game into OT with a game-tying score with just 29 seconds left in regulation, then the sophomore tallied the winning goal 52 seconds into the five-minute extra period.

Carney beat Ice Hawks freshman goalie Tony Waters from close in to give the Panthers a 5-4 lead.

Mitchell Mirande broke a 3-all tie to put Klamath Falls ahead with 4:42 remaining in the third period.

Klamath Falls led 1-0 after the opening stanza on Chad Steiner's goal.

Bobby Ruddle tied the match for the Panthers at 1-all on the only goal of the second period. Andrew Phillips and Sydney Small assisted on the score.

Brandon Punsuk also scored for South and Tarrell Cameron notched two goals for the Ice Hawks.

South Medford came up with a big defensive effort led by Ruddle, Small, Steven Weber and Tucker Hasse on the back line.

Panther senior goalkeeper Brandon Andrews had to record just 11 saves, while Waters stopped 27 of 32 shots.

Klamath Falls 1 0 3 0 — 4

South Medford 0 1 3 1 — 5