HATFIELD TOWNSHIP— Pennridge and Central Bucks East tested themselves against each other Thursday night. It was the Rams who passed the test and left Hatfield Ice with a 6-2 win in a Suburban High School Hockey League encounter.
Eric Slater scored three goals for the Rams (4-1-1, 3-1 in SHSHL Class AA) but the story of the evening was his team’s ability to keep the Patriots under constant pressure.
Slater and Matt Guinette scored goals to give the Rams a 2-0 first period lead but the most interesting numbers on the scoreboard were the shot totals that read 20-0 in favor of Pennridge.
“Good defense started in our offensive zone,” said Pennridge coach Jeff Montagna, “and with guys being in position where they can attack the puck and still be in good defensive positions if we do turn the puck over.
“That first period was as well as we’ve put together all year.
Ken Latchum, East’s veteran coach, said the pressure took a toll on his troops, who dropped their first decision of the season.. “They pressured us,” he said, “and their feet never stopped moving. They didn’t glide once.
“Those guys, even their third line, were just full of pressure. Those guys just motored and that’s what I want these guys to learn. You’ve got to motor.”
The Patriots (5-1-1, 2-1) didn’t get their first shot on goal until 29 seconds into the second period when they were on a power play. Slater gave the Rams a 3-0 lead 4:51 into the middle period by skating up the middle of the offensive zone and weaving his way through traffic.
“He’s lethal,” Montagna said. “You give him an inch, he’s lethal and you add that shot that his his offensive ability and it’s almost impossible to shut him down.”
Slater, who had two assists to go with his three goals, now has 16 goals and four assists in his team’s six games. He said he focuses on finding open ice. “I’ve always tried to,” he said. “It helps playing with teammates that open up so much space for me.”
Rob Kern solved Pennridge goaltender Luke Stranick with 6:13 left in the middle session. The score stayed that way to the end of the period but Frankie Rota and Slater (while his team was shorthanded) scored third-period goals to make it a 5-1 game with 7:43 remaining in regulation.
East’s Nick Locastro and the Rams’ Conrad Fisch traded goals to finish the scoring.
The Rams had a 36-9 edge in shots.
C.B. East 0 1 1—2
Pennridge 2 1 3—6
First-period goals: Eric Slater (P) from Blake Stewart, 9:55; Matt Guinette (P) unassisted, 14:33.
Second-period goals: Slater (P) unassisted, 4:51; Rob Kern (CBE) from Nick Locastro and Sean Gorman, 9:47.
Third-period goals: Stewart (P) from Frankie Rota and Slater, 2:20; Slater (P) unassisted, 8:17 (sh); Locastro (CBE) from Phil McIntyre and Owen Connor, Conrad Fisch (P) from Slater.
Shots: C.B. East 9, Pennridge 36