BRISTOL— The atmosphere inside Grundy Arena was crackling with energy Wednesday night. Pennridge and Neshaminy were both looking to make a statement.
The Rams did just that, overcoming a two-goal first-period deficit before dominating the last two periods en route to a 5-3 win.
The result will not factor into the SHSHL National Division standings but will doubtless attract the attention of the Flyers Cup Committee when the next set of rankings is unveiled.
Josh Kelly and Shane Dachowski each scored twice for
Pennridge, the defending Class AA Flyers Cup and state champion. The Rams improved to 6-3 overall.
Kelly said he and his teammates refocused after falling behind early.
“We kind of realized we needed to start going,” the sophomore said. “We needed to put something in the back of the net. We kind of realized who we are. We came out slow and ended the game how we wanted to.”
The ’Skins (6-3) killed off two early penalties before taking a 1-0 lead 6:12 into the opening period. Noah Seewagen scored the power-play goal while the Rams’ Colin Dachowski was serving a tripping minor.
Max Gallagher made it 2-0 with a shorthanded goal at the 11:06 mark off a rush down the right wing that finished with a slapshot along the ice that beat Pennridge goaltender Jacob Gilbert through the five hole.
That goal turned out to be the high point of the evening from Neshaminy’s point of view.
Tyler Manto got the Rams on the scoreboard 1:28 into the second frame on a shot that caromed of the stick of Neshaminy goaltender Cory Hemberger. Kelly the game when he scored on a rebound with 2:41 left in the period to send the teams into the third frame all even.
Shane Dachowski put Pennridge in front for good 2:49 into the final period when he converted a feed from Kevin Pico who set up the goal with a dash down the left wing.
Pico and Neshaminy’s Nolan Geria got some extended time in the penalty box after the two got into a skirmish with 13:48 remaining in regulation. Both drew minor penalties for head contact and automatic 10-minute misconducts but the incident had little bearing on the final result.
Kelly scored his second goal of the night with 9:23 remaining to give Pennridge a two-goal advantage. J.J. Hathaway scored during a Neshaminy power play wirg the Neshaminy net empty with 1:19 remaining but Shane Dachowski’s empty-net goal with 11.4 seconds left settled matters.
Pennridge’s dominance over the final two periods showed up on the scoresheet. After being outshot 12-7 in the first period the Rams outshot the ‘Skins 31-10 over the last two for a final margin of 38-22.
Rams coach Jeff Montagna cited his team’s comeback after a difficult beginning.
“It was a terrible start,” he said. “It was a terrible first period, which has been a strength for us. But, like they’ve done all year, they came back and they played a fabulous two periods.
“But, I told them, we’ve got to figure out these slow starts.”
The ‘Skins spent an inordinate amount of time skating shorthanded; they were whistled for 11 penalties (the Rams were flagged for eight). But Coach Matt DeMatteo was quick to point out his team came up short in other areas.
“Penalties were part of it,” he said, “(but) we had a really good first period, and stuck to the game plan, but we came out in the second period and they brought up the intensity and we did not.
“That was the difference in the game. They came out with urgency, we didn’t match it. they took the momentum of the game over.”
Pennridge 0 2 3—5
Neshaminy 2 0 1—3
First-period goals: Noah Seewagen (N) from Michael Knipple, 6:12 (pp); Max Gallagher (N) unassisted, 11:06 (sh)
Second-period goals: Tyler Manto (P) unassisted, 1:28; Josh Kelly (P) from Colin Dachowski and Nate McKean, 14:19
Third-period goals: Shane Dachowski (P) from Kevin Pico and Andrew Savona, 2:49; Kelly (P) from McKean, 7:37 J.J. Hathaway (N from Gallagher, 15:41 (pp); Pico (P) unassisted, 16:49 (en)
Shots: Pennridge 38, Neshaminy 22; Saves: Jacob Gilbert (P) 20, Cory Hemberger (N) 33