Two teams, two very different objectives, and 50 unorganized seconds was all it would take to end the Knights season.North Penn Knights News
Knights Ghost Writer
- For the Knights, the game was over before it started. The Golden Hawks came out of the gate throwing everything but the kitchen sink at the North Penn squad, and if you blinked you missed 3 unanswered goals scored in succession, separated by only a handful of seconds each.
You could feel the electricity in the rink and it wasn't coming from the Knights bench. The Golden Hawks looked like a team on a mission. After playing through 2 close regular-season losses against the Knights, the Golden Hawks were prepared for redemption. From the drop the puck the Knights skaters were trying to catch up with CR South's speed. Unable to find possession of the puck, the Knights were scrambling and the Hawks would capitalize time and again after just under 2 minutes of play in the opening frame.
At 15:17, Hawks forward, Billy Harrelson would cross into the Knights defensive zone and toss a shot on net from inside the blueline. The shot skidded through the pads of the goalie, Nick Ebbinghaus, opening the scoring at 1-0 putting the visiting team ahead. It wouldn't be much longer after that, the Hawks potent offense would strike again. Just thirty-eight seconds later, at 14:41 David Vergules would find himself alone in the slot turning a backhand over the shoulder of a prone Ebbinghaus. The Knights, down by two, and obviously stunned looked to get something going, but to no avail. The Golden Hawks would hit again, in what appeared to be the beginning of a wrought, scoring just eleven seconds later. Forward Antii Autere would break away, uncovered with no defense to impede his progress. He made no mistake firing a shot glove side into the Knights goal, this would be the 3rd goal on just 5 shots, all 50 seconds apart. The Knights coaching staff needed to stop the bleeding and immediately called a timeout. We can only assume what transpired in the huddle but it wouldn't matter, the damage was already done, the hole was too deep for the Knights to climb out of against the talented Golden Hawks hockey team.
The Golden Hawks locked up the game after the first period, playing conservatively, defense-first with minimal opportunistic offensive interest. The Knights never had a chance to generate an offensive threat throughout. While they did manage to score on a mid-second-period power-play goal by Josh Kaufhold, the Golden Hawks would answer back 6 minutes later with authority. The Hawks Michael Roby skated through the Knights zone unscathed allowed to maneuver through the slot with no pressure or attention, he buried a shot past the Knights goalie. The Knights would answer back shortly thereafter @ 15:53 on a point shot by defenseman, Ryan Cunningham. Cunningham swung a wrist shot past a screen in front of goalie Jimmy Sweeney. Sweeney never saw the shot but unfortunately for the Knights that would be all of the offense they'd be able to muster. Both teams would leave the ice for the end of the second-period ice cut with the Golden Hawks in the lead by a score of 4-2.
Upon return for the third frame, the Hawks shut it down offensively completing the period with only 5 shots. It was clear the Hawk’s intention was to finish the game defensively not allowing any more goals. The Knights effort improved in the third, they fired 10 shots on net and countless shots wide and into bodies. The number of blocked shots by the Hawks defense may have been more than the total the Knights generated on goal in the third. In the end, it came down to which team had more gas in the tank. The Golden Hawks maintained their level of play from the initial drop of the puck until the final horn, while the Knights squad looked tired and unable to convert situational play into opportunity.
Though the final score, 4-2 would lead you to believe the game was close, the reality is CR South was in control from beginning to end. The Golden Hawks move on to play CB South in the SHSHL championship game tonight. The Knights will look to regroup and come back strong in the Flyers Cup Tournament next week.
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