BRISTOL—After one period against Pennsbury Tuesday night, Council Rock South was reeling, staring at a 2-0 deficit and playing at less than full strength; four regulars were out of the lineup.
In the end, none of that mattered. The Golden Hawks exploded for four goals in the second period and went on to a 6-3 win over the Falcons in a SHSHL National Division game at Grundy Arena.
With the win, South (9-1-0-1 overall, 4-0-0-1 in divisional play) is once more atop the divisional standings. And at a point in the season where every game matters just a little bit more and teams are starting to think more seriously about where they might fit in the SHSHL playoff and Flyers Cup brackets, the Golden Hawks displayed their resiliency.
“We clearly had to learn from what we did wrong in that first period,” said junior Kevin Koles. “We stuck to our game plan, stuck to what our coach (Joe Houk) said and we came out with a win.”
Koles had much to do with his team’s comeback, scoring three goals, two in the decisive second period and one in the third.
Blaize Pepe assisted on all three of Koles’ goals and scored a goal himself.
“We just didn’t get rattled,” Pepe said. “We kept our heads and we outplayed them the whole second and third periods. And we controlled the whole pace of the game.”
Pennsbury (8-4, 4-2 in the National Division) jumped in front when Aidan Macainsh scored twice in a three-minute span off South netminder Carson Lopez to put the Falcons up 2-0 with 4:45 left in the first period.
But the Hawks took over the game in the second stanza. Koles scored twice in a stretch of three-and-a-half minutes to tie the game with 8:25 left in the period
Pepe put the Hawks in front for good with a power-play goal with 1:34 left in the period, but Jagger Smith struck another blow for South when he beat Aaron McDaniel in the Pennsbury net with 18.4 seconds left in the period to give his team a 4-2 lead.
Macainsh completed a hat trick 6:52 into the final period to make it a one-goal game but Gavin Nisenzon scored an insurance goal for South with 3:41 left in the game.
Koles completed his hat trick by scoring into an empty net with 1:50 remaining.
Pennsbury coach Ryan Daley took away a number of positives, despite the result.
“The first period was awesome,” he said. “Lopez is a stellar goalie, we knew that going in. It’s always hard to score on him.
“The second period, we obviously weren’t too thrilled about it. But I wouldn’t even say we couldn’t keep up with them it was just kind of the way it went. It was a tough second period, but overall, I’m happy with the way we played.”
Pepe credited his teammates for bouncing back after the slow start.
“Coach gave us a nice little speech,” he said. “It set us straight and we didn’t look back from there. Once we got one, we just kept putting them in. And Carson played outstanding.”
Council Rock South 0 4 2—6
Pennsbury 2 0 1—3
First-period goals: Brendan Macainsh (P) from Justin Marlin, 9:25; Macainsh (P) from Andrew Falkenstein and Chris Sarver, 12:15
Second-period goals: Kevin Koles (CRS) from Blaize Pepe, 4:58; Koles (CRS) from Pepe, 8:35; Pepe (CRS) from Illia Mukhin, 15:26 (pp); Jagger Smith (CRS) from Jake Maurer and Jordan Sarne, 16:42
Third-period goals: Macainsh (P) from Falkenstein, 6:52; Gavin Nisenzon (CRN) unassisted, 13:19; Koles (CRS) from Pepe, 15:10 (en)
Shots: C.R. South 31, Pennsbury 27; Saves: Carson Lopez (CRS) 24, Aaron McDaniel (P) 25