The roller coaster ride continues for the North Penn Knights in an atypical High School Hockey season.The Knights celebrate after Quinn Holt's 2nd period goalHATFIELD PA.
- It isn't the script they chose for the 2020-21 ice hockey season but somehow it's the one they've uncharacteristically followed. Just when it appears a corner has been turned roadblocks pop up throwing them back into the wrong direction. After a disappointing loss on Wednesday night to CB East the Knights regrouped and rallied the troops tonight to take on the undefeated SHSHL
powerhouse Pennridge Rams. Pennridge, with an unblemished league record, is considered a favorite for the upcoming post-season. I'm sitting in my chair watching tonight and I still can't figure out which team I just watched.
While on paper the Knights stack up similarly in strength and depth to their opponent's rosters, unlike anybody else their season has been marred with twists and turns due to various circumstances which never really gave them the out-of-the-gate opportunity to gel throughout their game schedule. This was the first complete team effort in which players passed consistently, played all areas of the ice, and put shots on the net to generate secondary opportunities. There was unfamiliar energy that appeared to shine across every line and goalie Jon Boyles would complement that effort with a superb appearance of his own between the pipes.
The first period was fast and furious with limited forrays by both teams in each other's offensive zone, defense was the key with both coaches caught in a defensive showdown. Puck possession was at a premium as tight fore and backchecking from both teams pitted each other's benches into a player matchup chess match. The first period would end tied 0-0 with North Penn holding a 4 shot advantage 9-5.
In the second period, Pennridge sent several quality shots on Knights goaltender, Jon Boyles and he would continue to turn them aside with support from the Knights defense and back checkers. At around four minutes in, Quinn Holt would put the Knights on the board breaking the stalemate to give the Knights the 1-0 lead. Pennridge would turn the puck over in the neutral zone to Knights forward, Nolan O'Toole. O'Toole would find Ryan Cunningham in a seam along the boards and Cunningham would cut in across the blue line finding Holt open along the wing. Holt fired a shot through the five-hole as Pennridge goalie, Ryan Pico came out to challenge. That would be all of the scoring in the second period. The Knights would carry the 1-0 score and 19-11 shot advantage into the third.
At almost the exact same time as the 1st goal of the game in the second period, the Knights would dent the net again. Captain Ryan Cunningham would display a great individual effort after intercepting a dump out of the defensive zone by a Pennridge skater at center ice. Cunningham would shake around 3 Pennridge defenders and fire a wrist shot past the Rams goaltender. The goal would put the Knights up by two early in the third. Not to be outdone, just:22 seconds later, Knights forward Jeromy Porubski would put on a forechecking clinic racing a Ram defenseman back to his own goal line to pick up the unattended disc behind the Pennridge goal, pressuring the defenseman to unload the puck to his partner Ryan Schuler. Porubski followed up the pass and laid a huge body check along the left sideboards on Schuler forcing a turnover just inside the offensive blueline. Quinn Holt would find the puck and dance around two Ram defenders before depositing the puck into the net gloveside past a stunned Ryan Pico. Holt's second goal of the game, this time unassisted would put the Knights up with a commanding 3 goal lead. The Knights would tighten up the defense and finish the game with a 3-0 final score. While Holt and Boyles put on stellar senior night performances, it is the Knights team cohesiveness that afforded them this win. Their collective team play as a whole finally came together and paid off.
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