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Saturday, Jan 14, 2023 | Youth Hockey Info


Short Bench Dooms Owls as CR South Gets Back on Winning Track

Bensalem Owls goaltender Ricky Gonzalez stretches to make a glove save on a backhanded offering by South's James DiLulio

By: CR South News

WARMINSTER, PA - Tournament weekends are always tough for high school hockey. With many players joining their club teams for a long weekend away, high school teams can be left with a skeleton crew to play pivotal games in the SHSHL. This was the case Friday night when Bensalem faced off against Council Rock South as the Owls had only a couple of subs to play against the top-rated Golden Hawks. While Bensalem had their top players and not much else, the Hawks were without leading scorers Blaize Pepe and Kevin Koles, but a full bench, making it an ‘anything goes’ kind of contest. For a period at least it seemed the game was up for grabs, but fatigue ended up being the deciding factor in the game's outcome.

Chase Tovsky pursues the puck with Justin Rapone closing in as Jeremy Rayher looks on

The game started with some back-and-forth play, each team playing nervously, not trying to be the first to make a mistake. It wasn’t until about halfway through the opening frame that the lamp would get lit and, wouldn’t you know it, it was Hawks leading goal scorer Jake Weiner getting on the board. Weiner took a pass at the Owls blue line and skated into the zone innocently enough, deciding to shoot from the top of the left circle. It was a rocket that beat Owl's goalie Ricky Gonzalez low to the glove side for a 1-0 lead. At this point shots were just 8-7 in favor of the Hawks, but Council Rock would start to get the better chances late in the period, which ended with a shot total of 15-8, and a score of 1-0, both in the Golden Hawks favor.

The ice would tilt even more to Council Rocks advantage to start the second period, and a power-play goal, a nice backhand shot by Bobby Gilbert over Gonzalez’s shoulder, would give Council Rock a 2-0 lead. Gonzalez, however, only got better from there. Weiner got his second goal of the contest off of a Jim DiIulio rebound, and Jonah Weston would score on a laser of a wrist shot, but Gonzalez was starting to frustrate the Hawks and was keeping his team in the game. The Owls would get some life when Alex Balyzevich went bar-down on a power-play snipe and closed the gap to 4-1. Unfortunately for Gonzalez, his team was starting to slow, and just couldn’t keep up with the rested South bench. The shots were piling up and Cole Gainsley would clean up a rebound off of the stick of Luke Ralston, and the Hawks closed out the second period with a 5 to 1 lead. The shot totals would tell the story, with Council Rock having the advantage in the period 23 to 8.

Alex Bazylevich looks on as the puck squirts by Ricky Gonzalez

The third period was a continuation of the second, the Hawks continued to pepper Gonzalez and lit the lamp again, Bobby Gilbert getting his second goal of the night after taking a pass from Weston. The Owls were exhausted and didn’t have energy to muster a counterpunch except for a two-minute stretch that saw them have their best opportunities of the night. Three prime chances for the Owls that Council Rock goaltender Carson Lopez would shut down, including a three on one, and a breakaway by Owls leading scorer Alex Hood. After that flurry it was again the Ricky Gonzalez show as the Owls goaltender had the Hawks players lifting their hands then holding their heads as if to say, ‘how did he get that?’. Gilbert would complete his hat trick, and round out the scoring, with eight seconds left, the final shot total a lopsided 60-25 in favor of Gilbert’s Golden Hawks, and a 7 to 1 final score.

The Owls have a lot of talent under the watch of head coach Jordan Roth and would not be a team I’d want to face come playoff time. Gonzalez showed he has the ability to steal a game and Hood is truly a breakout star. The difference in this game for Council Rock, as opposed the dismal effort last game versus Souderton, was that the Hawks were moving every shift, and didn’t make the costly mistakes and turnovers that plagued them against the Indians. Lopez was big when he had to be, but his team kept him from having to be the focal point. Their effort and discipline were good to see and shows that head coach Joe Houk has his finger on the pulse of his team. Next week the Hawks play CB West, followed the next night by a big matchup with division leading Pennsbury. One hopes the strong play will continue.

3 Stars of the Game

  • 1- Ricky Gonzalez - He can’t get them all, but facing 60 shots and getting 53 of them, without much effort from his defense for half the game, is impressive
  • 2- Jeremy Rayher - After an unimpressive game against Souderton, Rayher returned to form and was in the middle of many of Council Rocks best chances
  • 3- Peter Pereborow - Maybe you didn’t notice, but Pereborow played the role of Kevin Koles tonight, calm cool and calculated. He made smart plays and savvy plays and made it look easy



15:19 CR SOUTH #18 Jake Weiner (even strength) (#3 Jake Maurer)
3:32 CR SOUTH #24 Bobby Gilbert (even strength) (#16 Daniel Filippov)
5:42 CR SOUTH #18 Weiner (even strength) (#10 Jeremy Rayher, #14 James Dilulio)
6:18 CR SOUTH #13 Jonah Weston (even strength) (#24 Bobby Gilbert)
7:46 BENSALEM #25 Alex Bazylevich (power play) (unassisted)
11:46 CR SOUTH #15 Cole Gainsley (even strength) (#6 Peter Pereborow)
3:22 CR SOUTH #24 Bobby Gilbert (even strength) (#13 Johah Weston)
16:52 CR SOUTH #24 Bobby Gilbert (even strength) (#13 Jonah Weston)

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