What did it mean when Pennsbury standout Brendan Macainsh scored 11 seconds into Thursday night’s contest with Pennridge?
It meant the Rams had Pennsbury right where they wanted them.
Pennridge (8-3) overcame yet another slow start to pound the Falcons 11-4 in Hatfield in a potential preview of a Suburban High School Hockey League final. The Rams ended Pennsbury’s (8-3) seven-game win streak and extended their own run to six straight SHSHL victories.
“It was a team effort. We came in short a bunch of guys so we wanted to get short shifts and get shots on net,” said Andrew Savona, who had a hat trick 21 minutes into the game. Pennridge saw an opportunity to score on high shots. “That’s how we got our first few goals,” Savona continued.
It didn’t matter that Pennridge faced Council Rock North just 24 hours beforehand in an 8-3 win. The Rams outscored the Falcons 10-2 over the game’s final 44 minutes in a commanding performance. Kevin Pico added a Texas hat trick.
“We worked a lot of guys in tonight that didn’t have a lot of varsity time,” Pennridge coach Jeff Montaga noted. “That’s Kevin and Andrew doing what leaders are supposed to do.”
Thursday represented a complete 180 from Pennsbury’s opening night 6-3 win over Pennridge. “Not having our full team against them and their dominating us really made us want to prove a point,” Pico stated. “We come in with the same mindset of every game: just get shots.”
“We were missing some key guys in the first game and we didn’t play well. Over the last month, we’ve really started to find our stride. (Pennsbury) played a great game the first time we played,” Montagna added. “Being down nine regular players tonight like we were, I think we had something to prove going in.
“It wasn’t easy to start the year. It was a lot of the same faces, but it was still a new team. We had a really rough start to the season,” Montagna continued.
The rough start is in the rearview mirror. All of Pennridge’s wins during its current streak have been by multiple goal margins. Montagna credited “the cohesion of playing over the last two months.”
Pico answered Macainsh’s opening salvo 2 ½ minutes later. “Especially after we’re on a streak of giving up goals in our first shift,” Pico observed, “scoring right back was big and gives the team momentum.”
A power-play goal gave Pennsbury a 2-1 lead; Savona equalized it on a slap shot. The Rams took the lead for good 11 ½ minutes in when an alone Savona skated down the right wing and lit the lamp.
“I was surprised,” Savona admitted. “We wanted to run a stretch off of that draw and they knew we were cheating on the left side. So we moved it to the right. I had so much room and was wide open to go down.”
That burst the gates open. Pennridge outshot Pennsbury 13-1 in the second period. Savona, Dane Fitchett, Shane Dachowski and Ian Brouse all scored to extend the lead to 7-2. Pico tallied three goals in the third period while James Rush added a shorthanded goal.
Savona and Pico have both scored 13 goals with Savona impressively tallying a point in every game. Dachowski has a dozen goals, having scored eight times over a recent four-game span. At press time, Savona and Macainsh tied for the SHSHL points lead with 30.
It makes folks wonder what Pennridge could do if they assembled three strong periods. Remarkably, the Rams have been outscored 23-14 in the first period. Twice, against CB South and Souderton, Pennridge had to claw its way out of 3-0 deficits to eke out wins.
From the second period on? The Rams outscored their opponents 51-22. “CR North scored 10 seconds in against us last night,” Montagna reminded. “I don’t have an answer. I think we’re just used to it by this point. We’ve talked nonstop about it.
“I think they do it to annoy me sometimes,” the coach chuckled. “But we’ve responded all year so I had no doubts.”
The Rams were back on the ice against CB South in Wednesday’s late game.