Ben Reese recaps all the action in Pennridge’s hard fought 5-4 win over North Penn in an SHSHL showdown Thursday night.
By Ben Reese
HATFIELD -- Jeff Manto might not be what you would envision a hero to look like.
The Pennridge ice hockey player is maybe 5-foot-9 with his skates on and might weigh 140 with all his equipment. But he came up big on Wednesday night at Hatfield Ice against North Penn, scoring what proved to be the winning goal in a 5-4 Ram victory.
With the score tied at 2-2, Manto, off an assist from Nick Eissler, fired the puck past North Penn goalie Nick Ebbinghaus with 12:25 gone in the third period, scoring on the power play. It was the first goal of the season for the sophomore.
"It's very relaxing," Manto said of his goal. "The stress is all off me."
However, he doesn't really take much credit for his goal.
"My teammates supporting me all the way," he said when asked about his improvement. "My teammates have been helping me all the way and helping me succeed."
The goal gave the Rams a 3-2 lead heading into the final period. They added two more goals for a 5-2 lead before the Knights rallied in the final minutes of the third period for two goals before the clock ran out.
"The (Nick) Eissler, (Michael) Eissler, Manto line tonight was phenomenal," said Pennridge coach Jeff Montagna. "They could have had four or five goals.
"On a night when that top line was shut down a little, they had a great game, their best game by far. It's important to get secondary scoring."
Montagna's reference to his top line getting shut down is important. North Penn came out and kept after the top Pennridge line of Eric Slater, Michael Walker and Blake Stewart, limiting them to one goal each.
It is important to note that Slater entered the game with 16 goals and Walker six. Thursday night's goal was the second of the season for Stewart.
"The biggest thing is that we were able to win on a night when they neutralized Eric and Michael," Montagna said. "They really did a good job neutralizing them. It's big for the team knowing that we still can win hockey games when they're not carrying the load."
North Penn struck first, scoring a goal with 12:30 gone in the first period on a shot by Nathan Oh. The Rams came right back 21 seconds later when Walker batted a puck past Pennridge goalie Luke Stranick.
Thirty seconds into the second period Pennridge retook the lead. Michael White blistered a shot off the face-off that found the net. Less than a minute later, it was tied again. Jake Nelson deadlocked the game with his goal at 1:21 of the period.
Then, slightly more than 11 minutes later, Manto untied the score.
Slater and Stewart got things rolling for the Rams in the third period, scoring at 5:48 and 10:51 of the stanza. That boosted the lead to 5-2.
Then things got a bit wild. North Penn pulled Ebbinghaus and went with six skaters to try to get back in the game.
Luke Van Why scored at the 14:35 mark to cut the lead to two goals and Jared Albano scored 40 seconds later to make the score 5-4. But that is as close as North Penn could get.
But how about that comeback?
"The guys continued to battle there at the very end," said North Penn coach Kevin Vaitis. "We were pleased with that part of the game.
"We never gave up. We got down 5-2 with a couple of minutes left there. We could have packed it in, but the boys continued to battle and made it competitive there at 5-3, got that power play and made it 5-4. It even got interesting all the way down to the wire."
North Penn had the puck in the Pennridge end but couldn't get a shot off in the waning seconds of the game.
A lot of credit for the tightness of the game has to go to the goalies, Stranick and Ebbinghaus. They were both brilliant between the pipes.
"When you make mistakes, you don't have to worry about it ending up in the net all the time," Montagna said of Stranick. "He's a rock back there. He's the given on our team."
"He's done a good job for us all year," Vaitis said of Ebbinghaus. "There were a couple where we kind of broke down in front of him, but he continued to battle. We're very happy with the way he's playing."
The victory puts the Rams at 4-1, the same record as the Knights. They both trail Central Bucks South, which is 5-0.
Pennridge 5, North Penn 4
North Penn 1 1 2 – 4
Pennridge 1 2 2 – 5
First period: 1, Nathan Oh NP (Jared Albano, Will Hughes) 12:30; 2, Michael Walker P (unassisted) 12:51.
Second period: 3, Michael White P (unassisted) 0:30; 4, Jake Nelson NP (Joshua Kaufhold) 1:21; 5, Jeff Manto P (Nick Eissler) 12:25 PP.
Third period: 6, Eric Slater P (Matthew Guinette)5:48; 7, Blake Stewart P (Walker) 10:51; 8, Luke Van Why NP (Ryan Cunningham, Nelson) 14:35; 9, Albano NP (Tyler Greenstein, Oh) 15:15.
Shots: NP 26, P 27. Saves: Nick Ebbinghaus (NP) 21; Luke Stranick (P) 23.
Neshaminy 7, Harry S Truman 4
The Redskins opened up a 4-1 lead after one period and extended that to 7-2 after two on their way to the SHSHL win on Thursday at Grundy.
Joey Buday’s back-to-back goals – the second with a Brett Nelson assist – gave the Redskins a 2-0 lead less than four minutes into the game. Truman’s Steven Avellino scored to cut that lead in half, but Robert Seewagen and Joey DeMatteo closed out the period with goals to give the Redskins a three-goal advantage. DeMatteo’s came on a power play with a Thomas Gallagher assist.
Goals by Seewagen (DeMatteo assist) and Matthew Duke put the Redskins on top 6-1 less than five minutes into the second period. Truman’s John Huhn broke Neshaminy’s run with a goal that was assisted by Decklyn Dailey. Josh Haines got that goal back, using a Nelson assist.
Truman scored a pair of third-period goals by Avellino (Robert DiCrosta/Justin Reid assists) and Wiliam Findlay (Avellino assist), but it was too little too late.
Steve Glik turned away 24 of 28 shots in goal to earn the win for Neshaminy, which held a 40-28 advantage in shots. Truman’s Jeremy Wedul recorded 33 saves.
Neshaminy 4-3-0 7
Harry S Truman 1-1-2 4
First Period, 1, Joey Buday N, 2:56; 2, Joey Buday N (Brett Nelson) 3:44; 3, Steven Avellino HST, 5:19; 4, Robert Seewagen N, 11:23; 5, Joey DeMatteo N (Thomas Gallagher) 11:56.
Second Period: 6, Robert Seewagen N (Joey DeMatteo) 2:59; 7, Matthew Duke N, 4:38; 8, John Huhn HST (Decklyn Dailey) 7:29; 9, Josh Haines N (Brett Nelson) 8:03.
Third Period: 10, Steven Avellino HST (Robert DiCrosta/Justin Reid) 7:08; 11, William Findlay HST (Steven Avellino).
Shots: Neshaminy 40, HST 28. Saves: Steve Glik 24, Jeremy Wedul (HST) 33.
Pennsbury 11, Council Rock North 2
Jake Sieger connected for a hat trick and also assisted on a pair of goals for a five-point game to lead the Falcons in Thursday’s non-league game.
In the opening period, the Indians exchanged goals with the Falcons. Ben Dous (Jake Machlovitz assist) opened the scoring for the Falcons 2:50 into the opening period. Rock North’s Michael Janora answered with a goal, using an Oleg Sapranenko assist. Reece Millman and Janora traded goals to close out the period with the two teams deadlocked 2-2. Janora’s power play goal was assisted by Harrison Treiman.
The rest of the night belonged to the Falcons, who scored four unanswered goals in the second period and added five more in the third to close out the game with an impressive 9-0 tear.
Shane Siegmund scored a pair of goals in the second period – the first assisted by Edward Bossler and the second with a Millman assist. Erik Eisler (Sieger assist) and Sieger (Millman assist) each added single goals as the Falcons took a 6-2 lead.
In the final period, Sieger opened the scoring with back-to-back goals – the first with an Erik Eisler assist. Then it was Eisler scoring with a Sieger assist. Hunter Hopkins connected on a power play goal, and Jake Machlovitz closed out the scoring with a goal that was assisted by Colin Michalak.
The Falcons held a 36-16 advantage in shots. Topher Seiler earned the win in goal, turning away 14 shots. Rex Goldberg recorded 25 saves in goal for the Indians.
Council Rock North 2-0-0 2
Pennsbury 2-4-5 11
First Period: 1, Ben Dous P (Jake Machlovitz) 2:50; 2, Michael Janora CRN (Oleg Sapranenko) 3:49; 3, Reece Millman P, 6:23; 4, Michael Janora CRN (Harrison Treiman) 14:24.
Second Period: 5, Shane Siegmund P (Edward Bossler) 2:48; 6, Erik Eisler P (Jake Sieger) 4:11; 7, Jake Sieger P (Reece Millman) 8:30; 8, Shane Siegmund P (Reece Millman) 12:10.
Third Period: 9, Jake Sieger P (Erik Eisler) 3:20; 10, Jake Sieger P, 7:16; 11, Erik Eisler P (Jake Sieger) 7:55; 12, Hunter Hopkins P, 11:35; 13, Jake Machlovitz P (Colin Michalak) 14:10.
Shots: Pennsbury 36, CRN 16. Saves: Topher Seiler (P) 14, Rex Goldberg (CRN) 25.
Wednesday, Dec. 19
Abington 4, Council Rock South 4
The Ghosts and Golden Hawks spent Wednesday night’s game exchanging goals. Neither team scored back-to-back goals in the entire game. The score was deadlocked 2-2 after the first period and 3-3 after the third. No one should have been surprised that the final was 4-4.
In the opening period, Rock South’s Bill Harrelson (Jeremy Purcell assist) scored midway through the period. Abington’s Joe Stelacio (Ryan Gosselin assist), Rock South’s Douglas Lopez (Logan Hurwitz assist) and the Ghosts’ Perry Carpenter (Gavin O’Donnell assist) exchanged goals in the final five minutes of the period.
The second period was more of the same with Harrelson (Matthew Constantini/Purcell assists) and Carpenter (Elijah Coston/Gosselin assists) trading goals. Lopez scored 12 seconds into the final period with assists from Harrelson and Purcell to give the Golden Hawks a 4-3 lead that held up until the 9:30 mark when Carpenter – using assists from Nathan Broskley and Colin Bruton – found the net with the equalizer. That tie held until the final horn.
Carpenter’s hat trick led the Ghosts while Purcell’s three assists paced the Golden Hawks’ attack.
Abington goalie Jacob Snellenburg was credited with 14 saves and Rock South’s Brett Magloff recorded 20 saves.
Abington 2-1-1 4
Council Rock South 2-1-1 4
First Period: 1, Bill Harrelson CRS (Jeremy Purcell) 7:42; 2, Joe Stelacio A (Ryan Gosselin) 11:10; 3, Douglas Lopez CRS (Logan Hurwitz) 13:09; 4, Perry Carpenter A (Gavin O’Donnell) 15:54.
Second Period: 5, Bill Harrelson CRS (Matthew Constantini/Jeremy Purcell) 15:11; 6, Perry Carpenter A (Elijah Coston/Ryan Gosselin) 15:46.
Third Period: 7, Douglas Lopez CRS (Bill Harrelson/Jeremy Purcell) 0:12; 8, Perry Carpenter (A) Nathan Broskley/Colin Bruton) 9:30.
Shots: CRS 18, Abington 24. Saves: Jacob Snellenburg (A) 14, Brett Magloff (CRS) 20.
Wissahickon 11, William Tennent 5
Sean Garry and Bryan Garry proved to be double trouble for the Panthers in Wednesday’s SHSHL contest. While Sean finished five goals and one assist for a game-high six points, Bryan added four goals and one assist (five points). Matt Cade also had a productive night for the Trojans, scoring two goals and assisting on two others. For the Panthers, Bobby Markus had a hand in four goals, scoring three and assisting on another.
The Trojans took early control of the contest, exploding for five goals in the opening period. Sean Garry accounted for three of those goals to collect his hat trick. He scored the first and third goals of the game – both unassisted. His third goal – with an assist from Bryan Garry – put the Trojans on top 5-2. Cade (Ben Junker assist) and Bryan Garry added single goals. Tennent received goals from Markus and Matthew Castan (Bryan Mesaros/Josh Neas assists).
The Trojans led 7-2 after Bryan and Sean Garry scored back-to-back power play goals to open the second period. Cade assisted on Sean Garry’s. Markus added a pair of goals sandwiched around another Sean Garry goal, and the Trojans led 8-4 heading into the final period.
Mason McKeever’s goal with a Markus assist pulled the Panthers within three, but back-to-back goals by Bryan Garry and a goal by Cade gave the Trojans their final margin of victory.
The Trojans held just a 27-24 advantage in shots. Michael Henderson recorded 19 saves in the win for the Trojans in goal.
Wissahickon 5-3-3 11
William Tennent 2-2-1 5
First Period: 1, Sean Garry W, 5:13; 2, Bobby Markus WT, 5:20; 3, Sean Garry W, 9:34; 4, Matt Cade W (Ben Junker) 11:33; 5, Matthew Castan WT (Bryan Mesaros/Josh Neas) 12:40; 6, Bryan Garry W, 12:52; 7, Sean Garry W (Bryan Garry) 13:11.
Second Period: 8, Bryan Garry W, 2:58; 9, Sean Garry W (Matt Cade) 6:58; 10, Bobby Markus WT (Jagger Azvolinsky/Mason McKeever) 8:27; 11, Sean Garry W, 9:10; 12, Bobby Markus WT, 13:15.
Third Period: 13, Mason McKeever WT (Bobby Markus) 0:39; 14, Bryan Garry W (Matt Cade) 1:55; 15, Bryan Garry W (Sean Garry) 6:49; 16, Matt Cade W (Ben Junker) 6:59.
Shots: Wissahickon 27, WT 24. Saves: Michael Henderson (W) 19, Thomas Lomas (WT) 16.