"Friday Night Ice", anybody? A big end of the week Varsity ice hockey game at Hatfield Ice would serve as a preview for the 2020 SHSHL Class AA post-season playoffs.North Penn Knights News
Knights Ghost Writer
- The Golden Hawks, (6-3-1) came into the game against the Knights (9-2-0) with an axe to grind. After losing their first meeting back on November 20th (3-2), the Hawks had unfinished business and looked to even the score in their 2nd and last meeting of the regular season.
The game didn't start as CRS coach Joe Houk had planned. The Knights would jump out to a quick 1-0 lead on a tip-in goal by North Penn's Ben Mostochuk a little over 1 minute into the game. The puck found it's way back to Jr. defenseman, Chase Mueller, who fired a blast from the point which deflected off of Mostochuks stick as he skated through the slot in front of South's netminder, Jimmy Sweeney. Five minutes later the Knights would convert again on a top-shelf goal by forward Dj Zeiger. Zeiger would capitalize after a Hawks neutral zone turnover. With the puck right to his blade, Zeiger skated down the boards without pressure and surprised the CRS goalie with a quick shot beating him cleanly at the 8:47 mark, giving the Knights the 2-0 lead. The Hawks looked sluggish at the start but after almost 10 minutes into the 1st, they would respond on a goal from #91, David Vergules. CRS defenseman, Kenny Duffield, would make a long outlet pass cross-ice to Vergules in front of the Knights bench. Vergules would promptly turn the puck over to the Knights but a botched clear would see CRS forward Julian Wagenmann bump a pass back to Vergules who followed up the play. Vergules would slide in past Knights defenseman, Tommy Boyle, throwing a lazy backhander at goalie Nick Ebbinghaus. Ebbinghaus, unable to control the rebound, gave the unattended Vergules yet another opportunity to pick up his own rebound and stuff a forehand shot past the Knights goalie to get within 1 goal with 8:07 left to play in the 1st period. Though outshot, the first period would end 2-1 with the knights firmly in command.
The second period would begin much the same as the 1st with the Knights scoring quickly. Antii Autere would take a pointless interference penalty, giving North Penn their first power play of the game. Tommy Boyle would redeem himself with a dazzling solo act, tip-toeing around Golden Hawks double coverage at the blueline as he entered the offensive zone. Boyle would go in unimpeded and whip a glove-side high, bar down shot past Sweeney to extend the Knights lead to 2 just over 1 minute into the second. Two minutes later, the Knights would strike again after the Golden Hawks' Sam Cherkassky would take a senseless slashing penalty giving the Knights back to back opportunities, and they wouldn't pass up the second chance. Defenseman Chase Mueller would record his 2nd goal of the season off a pass from Ryan Cunningham. Cunningham received a pass from Zack Cline off the draw and Knights forward, Jeromy Porubski, promptly set up in front screening the CRS goalie. Cline passed back to Cunningham who tossed the puck to Mueller. Mueller recognized the screen and fired a wrist shot, on a line, glove side which Sweeney never saw. The goal would put the Knights ahead by 3, with a 4-1 lead and set up to look like what could be a blow-out. Both teams would trade quick goals a little over a minute later. The Hawks would score 50 seconds after Mueller, but Tony Tuozzo answered back just over 10 seconds later to make the score 5-2.
That's all South's coach wanted to see. Visibly angry, he called a time out to regroup and re-focus his bench. The time-out was just what the doctor ordered. From there, the proverbial table turned and the Hawks would take over the second period, outplaying the Knights in all areas of the game. The Knights lines couldn't seem to get back into the rhythm which provided them success through the first period and into the beginning of the second. Back on their heels, bad passing and poor decisions with the puck, the Knights limped into the third after squandering a three-goal lead barely hanging on and ahead by one, 5-4.
The 3rd period would be played much more conservatively by both teams, trading shots until Antii Autere would even the score. With 8:29 left to play, Autere would find himself undefended, wide open in the Knights defensive zone slot. Defenseman Derek Steudler would feed Autere who would fire a one-timer past a stunned Ebbinghaus. The period would end deadlocked, forcing a 3 vs 3 overtime.
OT would feature a big turnover by the Knights giving the Golden Hawks an opportunity to close out the frame. Antii Autere had a clean break as he went in on the Knights goalie 1 on 0. Ebbinghaus would shut him down allowing the Knights to survive and continue play. Twenty seconds later, Tommy Boyle would skate up ice with Tony Tuozzo, on a 2 on 3. Boyle would find Tuozzo on a drop pass, Tuozzo fired an initial shot that would be saved but a rebound would allow Tuozzo to follow up his own shot and put the game away, giving the Knights the 6-5 OT win. FULL GAME REPLAY AND BOX SCORE: CR South Golden Hawks vs North Penn Knights 1 31 2020
This wasn't exactly how the game was drawn up by either coaching staff but the Knights will take the win and look forward to Pennridge next Wednesday.
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