Greenstein and Ebbinghaus help Knights come back and tie Rams


Erik Jesberger

Jared Alabano battles for possession of the puck against a Rams defender

HATFIELD-In a square off with a top-notch Pennridge ice hockey team, a whole North Penn team effort held the Rams to only 15 shots on net, while the Knights added 35 shots on goal of their own.

The North Penn Knights (1-0-1) and Pennridge Rams (0-0-1) clashed off at Hatfield Ice Thursday night in a chippy game that consisted of 7 total penalties and multiple bone crushing hits along the glass.

As the intensity heated up on the ice, so did both teams’ frustration in their inability to connect with the back of the net throughout much of the first period. The Knights were able to prevent a 2 on 1 opportunity for the Rams offense with a great defensive effort by Luke Van Why as well as a little help from the post as a wrist shot from Nick Eissler would miss the back of the net by about an inch.

“Goaltending, defensemen, forwards, they all did a great job and it was a complete team effort. Everyone bought in to what we needed to do and being able to hold them to 15 shots over three periods, that’s something we will take every game,” explained Knights Head Coach, Kevin Vaitis.

Erik Jesberger
Tyler Greenstein just before he takes a shot

Pennridge would strike the scoreboard first with two goals before the games first intermission. A backhand top shelf goal from Rota Frankie and a shorthanded, dangling goal by Eric Slater propelled the Rams to a 2-0 lead heading into the second period. The Knights would respond back with 2 goals of their own after Nate Oh and Tyler Greenstein split the Rams defense and beat Luke Stranik in net for Pennridge.

“We really tried to keep the puck in their zone and build off of the defenses stops. It was really hard work and we worked on a lot of plays coming into tonight,” stated North Penn junior, Tyler Greenstein.

The Rams took back the lead after Eric Slater tallied up his 2nd goal of the night with 8:41 left in the 3rd period. A diving glove save by goaltender, Luke Stranik, kept the Rams up on the scoreboard. This was until the Knights would find an answer. In a scrum for the loose puck in front of the goal crease, Tommy Boyle tied the game back up after a 3rd rebound opportunity reached the back of the net and put the score at 3-3 with 4:16 left to play.

“We stuck in there the whole time, we were down at many points in the game, but we kept battling and kept the effort up on the ice to the very end. We worked for our chances and were able to tie things up so I think our plan coming into tonight worked really well,” said Knights’ Captain, Jared Alabano.

With the clock running low and every play being crucial, the goaltenders showed some of their best efforts with a highlight reel glove save by Knights goaltender, Nick Ebbinghaus, and another exceptional save by Stranik in between the posts for the Rams. It was Pennridge who took back the lead on a power play goal with 3:52 left in the 3rd period after a penalty charged on North Penn’s, Tony Tuozzo. With a timeout called with a little under a minute left in the game, the Knights sat at a one goal deficit and headed into the huddle formed around coach Vaitis.

Erik Jesberger
Nick Ebbinghaus in net for the Knights

“Coming out of [the timeout] we wanted to get the puck into their zone and get possession quick. For us it would be a 6 on 5, sorta like an extended power play for us and we knew we had to stick to the plan we had coming into the game against one of the top teams in the league,”said Coach Vaitis.

With 60 seconds and ticking left on the clock, a face off win for North Penn in their own zone and a feed up the boards to Nate Oh put the Knights within striking distance on the Rams side of the rink. With 47.5 seconds left in the game, Tyler Greenstein capped off an exceptional night after he sent a shot just over Stranik’s right pad to score and tie the game at 4-4.

“We had a set play coming off of the faceoff and it ended up working in our favor at the other end of the ice. The effort was there throughout the whole game and the plays we worked on coming into tonight allowed us to play so well,” explained Greenstein.

The freshman goaltender, Nick Ebbinghaus, made one more save for the Knights to preserve the tie off of a breakaway opportunity for Rams winger, Erik Slater., to leave the score at 4-4 as the clock reached 0:00.

“We believe we are one of the top teams in the league and we just gotta continue to work every game we are out there. We gotta get better every game and we plan to use these next three months to get ready for playoffs eventually and then compete for a Flyer’s Cup,” said Coach Vaitis.

The North Penn ice hockey squad is back at Hatfield Ice next Wednesday, the 14th, in a square off with the Panthers from William Tennent at 7:30.