Far left, Wyoming Area’s Donny Flannelly (2) and Pittston Area’s Tyler Loftus (51) faceoff. At left, Wyoming Area’s Kody Nowicki (26) and Pittston Area’s Conner Jones fight for a loose puck.
Donny Flannelly outraces PA’s Tyler Loftus to the puck during the Casey Classic at Coal Street.Photos by Tony Callaio
Pittston Area’s Anthony Passarella (11) controls the puck as Wyoming Area’s Zack Scrobola (99) fights for possession.
Pittston Area freshman Rich Weinstock (83) and Wyoming Area’s Matt Menendez (78) fight for the puck.Photos by Tony Callaio
WA’s Matt Menendez (78) takes the puck away from Pittston Area’s Brandon Ayers (29).
There are few times during the course of the year when the temperature inside an ice hockey rink is warmer than the temperature outside the rink. However, the cold and snowy conditions didn’t stop the Pittston Area and Wyoming Area ice hockey teams from renewing their rivalry at the Coal Street Ice Rink in the Casey Classic on Monday night.
The Warriors held a 2-1 lead after one-and-a-half periods, but the Patriots offense heated up and came from behind to win 9-3.
Anthony Passarella led the Patriots offense with six goals.
The Patriots returned their four main offensive weapons from last year’s team in Gage Hill, Richard Weinstock, Tyler Loftus, and Passarella. It would be the dynamic scoring duo of Hill and Weinstock who gave the Patriots a 1-0 lead after one period of play.
Weinstock held the puck behind the net and with just seconds remaining he centered the puck right onto Hill’s stick. Hill then smashed the puck beyond the Warriors goalie and into the net as the buzzer sounded indicating the end of the period. The late goal gave the Patriots a point in the Casey Classic standings for winning the period.
“The goal at the end of the period was huge. We won the period and got the point. It seemed that we kept gaining adrenaline as the game went on,” said Patriots head coach Rich Benedetto.
The Warriors controlled the momentum for the first half of the second period. Dalton Thomas knotted the score at 1-1 with 12:26 remaining in the second period. Just two minutes later the Warriors took a 2-1 lead.
From the blue line, Nick Yurek threw the puck towards the net hoping something good would happen. And indeed it did as the puck deflected off of the upper body of Kody Nowicki and soared into the net at the 10:32 mark of the second period.
The Patriots took two quick penalties and the Warriors had a 5-on-3 power play for 1:07. Wyoming Area seemed to take advantage of the power play when Matt Menendez connected on the one-timer from Nowicki. However, the goal was waved off because the net was off the hinges.
The goal would have given the Warriors a 3-1 lead and a 3-0 lead in the period. However, the score remained 2-1 and the Patriots were able to kill the penalties. Hill and Passarella had numerous second chances, but Warriors goalie Cody Smargiassi came up with some great saves.
The Warriors had many chances as well throughout the second period, but Shawn Simmons was terrific between the pipes for the Patriots.
“They came out strong and Shawn kept us in it and we got pumped,” said Benedetto.
The offense finally heated up for the Patriots late in the second period. Hill knotted the game at 2-2 with a wicked wrist shot and tremendous pass from Kyle McLaughlin at the 3:31 mark in the period.
With 2:20 remaining in the period, Loftus stole the puck from the far blue line and took it up the ice. He was able to maneuver his way around a lone Warrior defender and light the lamp. Loftus’s breakaway goal gave the Patriots a 3-2 lead.
The third period was all Patriots.
They scored six goals in the period and held the Warriors to just one. With 14:18 remaining in the final period Passarella scored the first of his four goals in the period to give the Patriots a 4-2 lead.
With 8:04 remaining, Passarella scored again to extend the Patriots lead to 5-2. Weinstock was credited with the assist.
At the 7:07 mark of the final period, Nowicki scored to bring the Warriors within 5-3. Menendez was credited with the assist.
However, the Patriots scored four unanswered goals in the final six minutes to cruise to a 9-3 victory. The four goals were scored by Tyler McGarry, Hill and, Passarella scored two.
Brittany Ritz chipped in with two assists and Kyle Jenkins also had an assist.
PA v. Crestwood, 5:30 p.m.
WA v. Back Mt., 7:15 p.m.
PA v. Redeemer, 5:30 p.m.
WA v. Susq. Valley, 7:10 p.m.