BRISTOL—Since the calendar turned to 2020 Pennridge has been a hockey team in the rise. On Tuesday night the Rams took another step forward, a big one, by coming from behind in the third period for a 4-3 win over Neshaminy in a Class AA Flyers Cup first-round game at Grundy Arena.
The 10th-seeded Rams trailed 2-0 and 3-2 before Aeryk Lehrhaupt scored on a shot from the right faceoff circle with 55 seconds left in regulation to send he and his mates into the quarterfinals on Thursday against second seed Haverford (7:00 at the Skatium).
Pennridge coach Jeff Montagna praised his team’s effort after being eliminated in the opening round of the SHSHL playoffs by Council Rick South. “It says so much about them,” he said. “I don’t have words of how proud I am of them. That young, they shouldn’t be making all the plays they did.”
The seventh-seeded ‘Skins used a methodical approach to build a 2-0 first-period lead. David McColgan got his team on the scoreboard 4:46 into the opening period, beating Pennridge goaltender Ryan Pico from close range. Thomas Gallagher gave his team a two-goal lead at 10:07.
The Rams responded in the second frame. Andrew Lizak beat Brian Nelson from the deep right circle off a right corner dump to get the Rams on the board 3:18 mark before Richie Shanks tied the game at 9:51.
Neshaminy retook the lead when Joey DeMatteo scored with 6:10 left in the middle session and stayed in front when Nelson denied Lehrhaupt on a two-on-one with 14 seconds left in the period.
The Rams got their second power play chance of the third period at the 8:31 mark when Neshaminy drew a bench minor for having too many men on the ice. Blake Stewart, the Rams’ captain, scored the tying goal with 5:40 left in regulation as the prelude to the finish.
Stewart noted that Pennridge opened its season back in October with a loss to Neshaminy but had natured since then. “We came to this game a much stronger team,” he said. “We just wanted it more, we came out hungry, and we just wanted to move on. No one really wanted us here and no one thought we would be here.”
It was a frustrating evening for Neshaminy coach Matt DeMattteo. “They were the hungrier team today,” he said of the Rams. “They skated harder. They did the things you need to do to win the game and we just did not play a good game as a team.”
Pennridge 0 2 2—4
Neshaminy 2 1—3
First-period goals: David McColgan (N) from Rob Seewagen and J.J. Hathaway, 4:46; Thomas Gallagher (N) from Matt Buchinski and Joey DeMatteo, 10:07;
Second-period goals: Andrew Lizak (P) unassisted, 3:18; Richie Shanks (P) from Blake Stewart and Andrew David; DeMatteo (N) from Nolan Geria and Seewagen, 11:50.
Third-period goals: Stewart (P) from Shanks, 10:20 (pp); Aeryk Lehrhaupt from Jack Lowery and Conrad Frisch, 15:05.
Shots: Pennridge 32, Neshaminy 30; Saves: Ryan Pico (P) 27, Brian Nelson (N) 28