By: Jacob Gastonberry – sportalspace contributor
February 13, 2018 (Johns Creek, GA): The 2018 season got underway last night as the Grayson Rams (1-0) made a statement that they are here to stay, winning in double overtime on the road at Johns Creek 4-3 courtesy of Jonathan Pinkston. Grayson made some noise last year collecting a Region title in dominant fashion before falling in the first round of the playoffs. The 2018 Rams wanted to make sure everyone knew that loss was a fluke.
The game got off to a slow start and would continue on a slow scoring pace due to great goalie play. A pair of southpaw netminders, Nolan Hayes for Grayson and Alec Strout of Johns Creek (0-1), made that the case with great saves all night with Hayes finishing north of 20 saves. At the 4:18 mark of the first quarter the Gladiators broke the drought when Nathan Goggans put in a goal on a failed clear as Hayes scrambled back to the net. That would be the only scoring of the first quarter.
The second quarter would see Grayson score a pair of goals leading to a 2-1 halftime tie. With 7:24 left before the half Brandon Moore drove down the right ally and finished a right-handed shot down low to beat Strout. Five minutes later the Rams would find themselves two men up and took advantage as junior Christian Michelsen buried one on the door step on an assist from Sam Eck. Johns Creek would have a chance to close the half with a goal but as was the case all night, Hayes was up to the task making a save as the horn blew.
The third quarter continued the defensive battle with the only shot crossing the goal line off the stick of Hunter Schrader as he split from right to left at X and turned the corner. Johns Creek regained the lead with just over 8 minutes to play. Ryan Harkin intercepted a clearing pass at the midfield line and found Trevor Gorst streaking to the goal to take a 3-2 lead. The Gladiators had a chance to put the game away with under 3 minutes to go but a turnover and a penalty lead to a scoring chance for the Rams.
Johns Creek killed off the penalty with 55 seconds remaining but in the scramble to matchup the Rams took advantage and Pinkston buried his first of the game with 41 ticks on the clock to send the game to overtime.
The first overtime would go scoreless, the Gladiators had a great chance to end the game on a broken clear but Hayes made a huge kick save to deny Johns Creek. Finally, in the second overtime Pinkston broke the scoring drought stepping in from the left wing on an extra man opportunity to score the game-ending goal.