Defense Propels Rams to Win Over Indians

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Pennridge coach Frank Reago had a simple game plan going into Wednesday night’s showdown against Souderton – take high-scoring Michael McCarthy out of the game.
“All we did was shadow him and let the rest of the team beat us,” the Rams’ coach said. “They’re decent, but without him being able to run wild, you can beat them.”
The Rams did just that, capitalizing on a pair of third quarter power play goals to upset the Indians 4-1 in an exciting SHSHL contest at Hatfield Ice World. McCarthy did not figure in the scoring.
“We just shadowed him the whole game and didn’t give him the time or space to beat us,” Reago said. “He still had his opportunities. Good players always get their opportunities - you just have to limit them.
“We played a good game. We’re starting to get a little more chemistry. We’re starting to do some different things, and it’s starting to work a little bit.”
The Rams’ coach credited his entire defensive unit – Jake Bongiovanni, Ryan Richards, Morgan Stear and Justin Roberts - for turning in a standout effort.
“We have two forwards back there playing ‘D’ right now, and they’re capable of doing it,” Reago said of Stear and Roberts. “They did a hell of a job.
“That was a win by committee. Everyone was working hard.”
The Rams, who improved to 5-8-3 in league play, are coming together in the nick of time, and a win over the Continental Conference leading Indians (9-5-1) was a big step in the right direction.
“We want to be in the playoffs,” said Reago, who has announced that he will be stepping down at the end of the season. “That’s our goal.
“I told them, ‘Guys, let’s go out six-seven games and get in the playoffs.’”
Neither team scored in an opening period that saw the Rams hold a 9-7 advantage in shots. The Rams struck first when Matt Brown with assists from Brian Dalton and Joseph Root scored at the 10:14 mark of the second period. The Indians knotted the score 1-1 at the 7:58 mark of the period when Brian McMullin (Corre Sommers/Dean Walsh assists) connected.
The Rams scored a power play goal by Ry Richards (Richard Thorton/Kevin Figaniak assists) at the 13:15 mark of the third period and went on top 3-1 after Chris Brown (Jake Bongiovanni/Matt Brown assists) connected on a power play goal less than two minutes later.
“That was the difference in the game,” Souderton coach Jim McMichael said of the power play goals. “We took way too many penalties, and those two power play goals set us back.”
A goal by Bryn Worthington (Joseph Root/Matt Brown assists) put the finishing touches on a win that effectively spoiled the Indians’ Senior Night celebration.
“We didn’t play our system,” McMichael said. “We got away from our system, and that was the difference.”
The Rams held a 32-25 advantage in shots with goalie Michael White turning away 24 of the 25 shots he faced. White was slated to play jayvee this season but was pressed into emergency duty for the varsity when Patrick Weeber was lost for the season six games ago after suffering a concussion.
“He (White) played well,” Reago said. “He really wasn’t too tested – we kept things to the outside. He’s a decent kid, but he’s either hot or cold. He has a good attitude and wants to do well.”
“We have to really play hard in front of him, and he’s got to do his best, and maybe we have a shot here.”
PENNRIDGE 4, SOUDERTON 1
Souderton          0              1              0-1
Pennridge           0              1              3-4
2nd Period
P – 10:14 Matt Brown (Brian Dalton, Joseph Root)
S – 7:57 Brian McMullin (Corre Sommers, Sean Walsh)
3rd Period
P – 13:15 Ry Richards Power Play (Richard Thorton, Kevin Figaniak)
P – 11:46 Chris Brown Power Play (Jake Bongiovanni, Matt Brown)
P – 7:57 Bryn Worthington (Joseph Root, Matt Brown)
Goaltending Summary
S – Drew Politsky   Shots 32 Saves 28 Goals 4
P – Michael White Shots 25 Saves 24 Goals 1