It took the North Penn Knights a while to get going Wednesday night. But once they got their engines going it was full speed ahead.
Jake Nelson, Tony Tuozzo and Jake Albano scored third-period goals to propel North Penn to a 5-3 non-league win over Central Bucks West at Hatfield Ice. The win extended North Penn’s winning streak to five games and improved its record to 8-2-3 overall. The result will not count in the Suburban High School Hockey League Class AA standings but will factor into the seedings for the Flyers Cup tournament in March. The Knights and the Bucks (6-6) will play their league game against each other on February 20 to conclude the regular season.
The first three goals of Wednesday’s affair were of the shorthanded variety. Chris Trefz started things off for West at 5:54 of the first period when he scored off a two-on-one situation following a turnover at the West blue line. The goal came while the Bucks’ Matt McCarthy was in the box serving a hooking penalty.
Pavel Serhiayenka, who assisted on Trefz’s goal, scored one himself with 2:17 left in the opening period on another shorthanded situation, one that arose when the Bucks drew a bench minor for too many men on the ice. Serhiayenka put in a rebound of Jake Lang’s original shot off a two-one-one situation; North Penn goaltender Andrew Zanoni could not be faulted on either goal.
The Knights got on the board exactly two minutes into the second frame on Ryan Cunningham’s shorthanded effort.
Roughly three minutes after that the pace of the game picked up, which worked to North Penn’s advantage. Jared Albano tied the game at the 12:47 mark of the middle period, the first even-strength goal of the game.
Jake Nelson put the Knights in front with a power-play goal just 21 seconds into the final period. Lang responded for the Bucks with a power-play goal of his own at 4:12, but the Knights had the upper hand from there.
“I thought (North Penn) played hard,” said West coach Dave Baun. “They played well, they played hard, they skate hard. But, the game that they play isn’t our game.
“Puck movement is our game. And when our team can move the puck well and skate hard without it, like we did in the first period and half of the second, then we’re a good team. But, as the guys get tired, they sort of lose it a little bit and they default into some other game that isn’t our game.”
Tuozzo, a freshman, scored what proved to be the winning goal for the Knights 9:06 into the third period during a scramble that developed at the doorstep of West goaltender Anthony Kennard. The goal came while Lang was in the box for the Bucks serving a double minor (tripping/unsportsmanlike conduct).
“(Tuozzo) has played well all season for us,” said North Penn coach Kevin Vaitis. “He’s sort of moved up, playing with Albano and (Nathan) Oh the last couple games and he’s contributed, gone out there and worked hard, done the things that we’re asking him to do, and he got rewarded with the game winner tonight.”
Tuozzo said he’s making the adjustment to varsity hockey. “After a couple games I kind of got used to it,” he said. “I know where I should be, know where not to go and stuff like that. It’s very different.”
Albano scored his second goal of the evening for the Knights with 3:57 left in the game to provide insurance.
North Penn had a 47-21 edge in shots. West goaltender Jeremy Kennard made 42 saves. the loss snapped a four-game West winning streak.
C.B. West 2 0 1—3
North Penn 0 2 3—5
First-period goals: Chris Trefz (CBW) from Pavel Serhiayenka, 5:54 (sh); Serhiayenka (CBW) from Jake Lang, 14:43 (sh).
Second-period goals: Ryan Cunningham (NP) from Nathan Oh, 2:00 (sh); Jared Albano (NP) from Tony Tuozzo, 12:07.
Third-period goals: Jake Nelson (NP) from Tyler Greenstein, :21 (pp); Lang (CBW) from Serhiayenka and Trefz, 4:12 (pp); Tuozzo, from Albano, 4:06; Albano (NP) unassisted, 12:53.
Shots: C.B. West 21, North Penn 47; Saves: Jeremy Kennard (CBW) 42, Andrew Zanoni (NP) 18.
Records: Central Buck West (6-6), North Penn (8-2-3)