It can also be the key to owning a hockey game.
The Elyria Catholic Panthers showed the value of possession Monday in their 8-1 victory over the Trinity Trojans in the second round of the Brooklyn district hockey tournament at the John M. Coyne Recreation Center.
The Panthers spent most of the game with the puck in front of Trinity senior goaltender Nate Campbell and held a
70-4 lead in shots by the end of the night.
“We worked on it a lot all week during practice, moving the puck, passing the puck, a lot of individual skills,” said Elyria Catholic assistant coach Rick Montgomery. “Lately we’ve been working the puck, making a lot of good plays, but just haven’t been able to bury pucks. They just came out and tried to pack everything in deep and when you’re moving the puck around the perimeter, you’ve got to look for your best shot because it’s like five goaltenders in the net.”
With the win over Trinity (3-24-1), the Panthers (13-18) move on to the district quarterfinals, where they will play the top-seeded St. Ignatius Wildcats (29-6) Saturday at noon.
“We have to be ready for a stern, stern test,” Montgomery said. “We’re going to have to come out fore-checking with pressure. It’s going to be a tough game, so we have to put in a real good week of practice and get our game plan. Hopefully, we can get some rest this week and get everybody healthy and be ready to go at it.”
The Panthers scored less than three minutes into Monday’s game when senior forward Bryce Prescott knocked a rebound past Campbell. Elyria Catholic had cycled the puck around the ice before Mitchell Haszto attempted a slap shot from the blue line. His shot got away from Campbell, who was able to block the first rebound attempt from Dustin Myles.
Haszto got on the board at the 11:29 mark of the first period, registering the first of two Elyria Catholic goals over 37 seconds. Kevin Andrews got the second when he collected a rebound on Campbell’s glove side and sent it to the back of the net. Sophomore Seth Wechter ended first-period scoring with just more than 90 seconds remaining.
The Panthers held a 32-1 edge in shots after the first period.
“The goaltender never played hockey before November,” Trinity coach Mark Ferfolia said of Campbell. “He played great. He’s an athlete who also plays baseball.
“The only reason he played was our senior captain Andrew Mueller. If Nate hadn’t stepped in to play goal, we wouldn’t have had a team this year. Nate came out to play for his friend and look what he did.”
After Elyria Catholic built its lead to 7-0 on goals from Williams, Wechter and Andrews, Trinity defenseman Jim Liptow beat Panther goaltender Josh Escandon stick side with 11:06 remaining in regulation. However, the momentum was short-lived as Andrews finished off a hat trick with the final score.
“I just kind of thought, ‘I’ve got one guy to beat,’” Andrews said of the third goal. “Luckily, I got around him with a move and he tripped me. I saw no one in front of me, so I was like, ‘I went this far. I’m already at the top of the circle, I might as well try for a goal.’”
“Kevin played well,” Montgomery said. “He’s like the quarterback of that line. He makes things happen and tonight, he had a lot of great opportunities, a lot of good shots, a lot of good give-and-gos and their goalie was hot tonight. We haven’t seen that in awhile from a team where they pack it in and cover everything from the faceoffs in.”
Elyria Catholic 8, Trinity 1
Trinity 0 0 1 — 1
Elyria Catholic 4 1 3 — 8
FIRST PERIOD: 1. EC, Bryce Prescott (Dustin Myles, Mitchell Haszto), 2:37; 2. EC, Haszto (Zac Sommer), 11:29; 3. Kevin Andrews (Prescott, Haszto), 12:06; 4. EC, Seth Wechter (Lucas Williams, Steve Donat), 13:31. Penalties — None.
SECOND PERIOD: 1. EC, Williams (Andrews), 9:42. Penalty — T, Kyle Companey (tripping), 2:56.
THIRD PERIOD: 1. EC, Wechter (Paul Case, Williams), 2:31; Andrews (Myles), 2:42; T, Jim Liptow (unassisted), 11:06; EC, Andrews (unassisted), 14:46. Penalty — EC, Donat (roughing), 14:22.
Saves: T, Nate Campbell 62; EC, Josh Escandon 3.
Contact Matt Florjancic at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.