Mustangs battle back to force OT with Braves

Scott Alexander
Mustang's No. 29 Clay Kinyoun leaps above the CA defender No. 12 PJ Rheude to score the Mustang's fifth goal with 1:35 left in the third period.

It was a gray, overcast day Saturday in Canandaigua but there was an energy in the stands that belied the dreary weather. The Penn Yan Mustangs and the Canandaigua Braves were meeting, according to the PA announcer, for the 84th time since 1971. The Mustangs held a slim 42-41 lead in contests won, but Canandaigua would even that up with a thrilling 10-9 overtime win.

Penn Yan started the game strong as Conner Fingar and Mekhi Mahan found the back of the net to spot the Mustangs a 2-0 lead. Canandaigua took advantage of a Penn Yan penalty as Tyler Goode scored with 6:31 left in the first quarter to make it 2-1. The Braves’ Matt Vierhile followed that up with a goal of his own after winning the faceoff, finishing the scoring for the quarter.

The game seemed to be out of reach for Penn Yan as Canandaigua scored the next four goals before Devon Gerhardt scored on a rebound with 22 seconds in the half to make it 6-3 Canandaigua.

It was more of the same to begin the second half as the Braves added two more goals to make it 8-3. Penn Yan would stem the tide of Braves’ goals as senior Clay Kinyoun scored at 5:57 off a Colton Smith assist, making it 8-4. Kinyoun added another goal with 1:35 remaining in the third quarter on a Fingar assist to make it 8-5.

Kinyoun was on a roll as he tallied the first goal of the final stanza with 7:11 left in the game to make it 8-6. Kinyoun wasn’t finished as he assisted junior Chase Blumbergs for the next Mustangs goal, leaving Penn Yan only one goal behind at 8-7. The momentum was in Penn Yan’s favor despite some sluggish play early in the game.

Canandaigua’s Mark Belles nabbed his third goal of the day after a cat and mouse game of holding the ball behind the goal as Penn Yan held their positions to make it 9-7 with just 3:32 left in the game. Fingar answered with a goal of his own to make it 9-8.

After a Canandaigua turnover, Penn Yan called time out with 53:7 seconds left. Fingar tied the game with a goal at 19:3 to send the game into overtime.

Belles gave the home team the win as he found the net with 1:08 left. Despite periods of sluggish play, coach Brian Hobart pointed to positives in the matchup.

“It was a great game between two long-time rivals,” said Hobart. “As a group we made some very costly mistakes and dug ourselves a hole. I was pleased we were able to rebound and send the game into overtime. We need to eliminate these lapses to compete at the highest level.”

Penn Yan is now 6-2 on the season. The team plays Haverling at home Thursday at 5 p.m., and Eden Central on Saturday.