Pine-Richland hockey uses strong third period to vanquish Butler
The best way to snap a losing streak is with a convincing victory, just ask the Pine-Richland Rams hockey team. In the midst of a three-game skid, the Rams made a statement against a good Butler team with a 9-5 victory on their home ice.
The teams sparred with neither team able to gain more than a one-goal advantage through two periods.
Butler scored first, then Nick Jenkins responded for Pine-Richland.
Nick Matelan cashed in on a power-play opportunity to give the Rams a 2-1 lead to close out the first period.
Matelan struck again in the second period off a feed from Ryan Cole to give the advantage back to the Rams, but Butler rallied once again for a 3-3 tie, but the Rams would answer with a Matt Cole goal to take the lead back.
Butler tied the score for the last time early in the third period at 4-4, but soon after, the Rams found another gear, and tore off five power-play goals.
“We worked hard and threw some different things out there in addition to our forecheck,” said Pine-Richland coach Mike Bagnato. “We tried to take advantage of our speed as we continue to figure out our identity. We did a nice job, and were aggressive with the puck.”
The Rams got more aggressive as the game wore on because when the game was in the balance, Matelan, Ryan Cole, Andres Binotto, Andrew Vislosky and Kyle Cunningham each lit the lamp to secure the win.
“We had a good team effort,” Matelan said. “We didn't back down, and didn't give up.
“We took some chances, and player physical hockey because we knew Butler was going to bring it.”
The win evened the Rams' record at 3-3 and gives the team confidence heading into a difficult stretch of the schedule.
“Everyone worked hard and gave a full effort as the game went along,” Jenkins said.
“We needed to step up and get the win and stop the losing streak. We have to stay focused and keep this up.”
Bagnato was happy with the way his team took advantage of breaks and the fact it was more than his top scorers who chipped in.
Pine-Richland will head to play Seneca Valley at Warrendale Bladerunners on Tuesday, Dec. 10, at 6:10 p.m.
Jerry Clark is a sports editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-779-6979 or firstname.lastname@example.org .