By Chuck Tidmore
Sports Information Assistant
ATLANTA – Junior Kendrick Ballard scored with 27 seconds remaining in the game to give Huntingdon a 9-8 win over Randolph in Wednesday's neutral site matchup.
The Hawks (5-4) overpowered the WildCats (1-2) in the final quarter of play. Huntingdon scored five goals, collected 10 ground balls, went 7-for-9 on faceoffs and went 3-for-3 on clears.
Trailing 5-4 heading into the fourth quarter, the Hawks tied the game from a goal by Austen Saucier with 13:56 remaining on the clock. Brandon Scheele found the back of the net 12 seconds later from an assist by Miles Stading to take a 6-4 lead.
Randolph tied the game 6-6 a little over five minutes later before Ballard gave the Hawks a 7-6 lead with 6:28 remaining. The WildCats took the lead off a pair of goals in a 41 second span and led 8-7 with five minutes remaining. Stading answered back and tied the game with an assist from Mac Puller with just over a minute left.
After a Sam Hitt faceoff win, the Hawks moved the ball around on offense before Ballard scored the game-winner. Hitt won the ensuing faceoff and evaded a swarming group of Randolph defenders before the Hawks used their final timeout to setup the final 11 seconds of the game.
Puller started with the ball after the timeout and raced around the defense to burn the final seconds off the clock as the Hawks stormed the field to celebrate.
"It's really nice to be able to come out and work hard to avenge last year's loss," head coach Andrew Carey said. "The guys listened to our coaching staff, made adjustments and made some great plays to get the win."
Ballard and Saucier each scored two goals for Huntingdon. Hitt finished the game 9-of-19 at the faceoff x and collected six ground balls.
Matt Murphy recorded five saves in the win.
Randolph scored a pair of goals in the opening quarter and pulled ahead 3-0 early in the second quarter. Puller put Huntingdon on the board with just over two minutes remaining in the opening-half before the WildCats went up 4-1 56 seconds later. Saucier answered back and scored with 42 seconds left to send the Hawks into halftime trailing by two.
Stading and Puller each scored once and had one assist while Puller scooped up three ground balls. A.J. Harper had six ground balls.
Defender D.J. Horner led Huntingdon with three caused turnovers while Colton Edwards added one caused turnover. Logan Wilson picked up two ground balls and Karson Hastings had two ground balls and two caused turnovers.
Huntingdon hosts Southwestern on Monday at 6 p.m.