HATFIELD—Pennridge got hot early Thursday night and stayed hot. Blake Stewart scored three goals and assisted on three others and Jeff Manto scored three goals of his own as the Rams blasted Central Bucks West 12-2 in a Suburban High School Hockey League Class AA game at Hatfield Ice.
Pennridge is just 2-4 in league play but has improved to 5-5 overall. With the start of the new year, a young team is beginning to blossom.
“I didn’t really see that coming,” said Ram coach Jeff Montagna. “We’ve just been preaching, ‘Do things the right way. And more times than not, it’s going to go your way. If it doesn’t, keep going at it.’
“They got some breaks tonight.You’re not going to beat that team 12-2 very often.”
The opening period featured five goals in a 10-and-a-half minute span. The Rams opened the scoring 2:30 into the period when Connor Frisch delivers a wrister from 10 feet inside the West blue line. Arek Lehrhaupt made it a 2-0 game at the 5:25 mark. Luke Tremmel scored for West at 7:33 to cut the margin in half but Pennridge took over from there. Jack Lowery extended his team’s lead at the 9:41 mark before Stewart ended the flurry with a goal at 10:58.
The Bucks (6-1-1-1, 3-1-1 in the league) were shorthanded because of injuries. They had just 13 skaters available including four freshmen. West coach Dave Baun felt his team was suffering the effects of the holiday layoff.
“That’s what a team that relies in structure looks like when they play without any,” he said. “We haven’t practiced for a month and a lot of the things that we work on a lot were clearly forgotten.”
The Rams kept coming in the second period when Stewart and Manto scored two goals apiece.
Kyle Fasolak replaced Jeff Coddington in the West net at the start of the final period. Tremmel scored a second goal for the Bucks but the Rams scored four times themselves before Manto completed his hat trick to send everyone home with 1:05 left in regulation.
“It was a great feeling to have it all click,” Manto said. “It felt real good as a a team.”
Manto is hoping Thursday’s win will give his team a jump start as the long match to the postseason begins. “Hopefully it will give us a confidence boost,” the junior said.
Stewart, who is also a junior, is optimistic about what lies ahead for Rams. “We’re a young team,” he said, and if we just connect like we have been all season we’ll get a lot of goals. And out a lot of pressure on these other teams.”
Notes— Thursday’s game was the second and final meeting between the two teams this season. The Rams suffered a 4-3 loss to the Bucks in a non-league encounter a week before Christmas.
C.B. West 1 0 1—2
Pennridge 4 4 4—12
First-period goals: Connor Frisch (P) unassisted, 2:30; Arek Lehrhaupt (P) from Blake Stewart, 5:25; Luke Tremmel (CBW) from Danny Poliak, 7:33; Jack Lowery (P) from Lehrhaupt, 9:41; Blake Stewart (P) unassisted, 10:58.
Second-period goals: Stewart (P) from Andrew David and Richie Shanks, :48; Jeff Manto (P) from Stewart, 7:11(sh); Stewart (P) from Shanks, 13:00; Manto (P) from Lowery, 14:34.
Third-period goals: Jacob Lizak from Sian Boyle and Cooper White; 53; David (P) from Stewart, 1:43; Tremmel (CBW) from Poliak, 8:38; Manto (P) from Frisch, 11:39; Shanks (P) from Frisch, 14:55.
Shots, C.B. West 27, Pennridge 42; Saves: Jake Coddington (CBW) 22 and Kyle Fasolak (CBW) 8, Ryan Pico (P) 25.