Late power-play goal lifts Hampton past Gateway, 4-3
The Gateway varsity ice hockey team suffered a 12-2 loss to Hampton in the season opener in October.
The Talbots got the better of the Gators, 7-3, when the two teams met again a couple of weeks later.
Gateway and Hampton met Monday in the first round of the PIHL Class AA playoffs at Ice Connection of Pittsburgh, and Gators head coach Gene Perhac said he knew his team was much improved from earlier in the season and the game would be a lot closer battle.
Monday's contest between the No. 7 and No. 10 seeds turned out to be a close, hard-fought game, but in the end, Hampton made one more play that tipped the scale in their favor.
Zachary Kosick scored a power-play goal with 2:34 left to play to lift the Talbots to a 4-3 victory.
“The kids left everything on the ice,” Perhac said.
“They did exactly what we wanted them to do. They played their hearts out. If it wasn't the best game they played all year, it was one of the best.
“We started the year with only a handful of kids with varsity experience, and we knew we would improve as the year went on. We were up 3-2 in the third period of the second game with Hampton, but we had a collapse. We knew coming into (Monday's game) that if we played our game and got a good performance, we could win. They played well, but unfortunately, the end result wasn't what we wanted.
Gateway committed only one penalty through the first two periods, but the Gators were whistled for four penalties in the third period.
The defense and junior goaltender Tyler Perhac killed off a 5-on-3 shorthanded situation with about 10 minutes left in regulation, but another penalty six minutes later gave Hampton the man advantage, and Kosick cashed in.
“When you go on the road, you expect the game to be called a little tighter for the away team,” coach Perhac said.
“When we killed off the 5 on 3, we were flying high. The game was still tied, and we had a lot of momentum. We were in it to win it. But we just took one too many penalties.”
Kosick's game winner came with five seconds left on the Hampton power play.
“I saw bodies and arms flying trying to bat the shot down,” coach Perhac said.
“Somebody got a piece of it, and it changed direction on Tyler a little bit. It caught the far-side corner of the net. I didn't think it went in at first.”
Hampton jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first period, but Gateway rebounded to take a 3-2 advantage.
Seniors Jake DeHass and Cam Cacolice both scored on the power play, and Cacolice added an unassisted goal to put the Gators ahead 3:15 into the second period.
Hampton tied the game late in the second period on Kosick's second goal of his hat trick, and the score set up the drama in the third period.
Senior Taylor Siwik added two assists, while junior Zach Dusch and freshman Brandon Dusch both assisted on a goal.
Tyler Perhac made 34 saves on 38 Hampton shots, and Gateway fired off 35 shots against Hampton netminder Cameron Raidna.
Monday's game was the final one in a Gators uniform for DeHass, Cacolice and Siwik, as well as seniors Matt Whelan, Mark Dandrea and Jon Kasper.
“This senior group did what no senior group has done in more than a decade,” coach Perhac said.
“They have put more wins together and score more points. They've been to the playoffs twice. They were true leaders and true teachers to the younger players. They are going to be missed in our program.”
Michael Love is a staff writer with Trib Total Media. He can be reached at email@example.com.