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Knights bucked in back and forth battle

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Knights bucked in back and forth battle

Senior Nate Oh takes a pass and looks to shoot at the net.

Senior Nate Oh takes a pass and looks to shoot at the net.

Erik Jesberger

Senior Nate Oh takes a pass and looks to shoot at the net.

Erik Jesberger

Erik Jesberger

Senior Nate Oh takes a pass and looks to shoot at the net.

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HATFIELD- Laced up and ready for their last game of the regular season, the North Penn hockey squad (10-4-2) faced off against Central Bucks West (9-7) in an exciting back and forth game.

The Bucks were able to pull off an 8-7 comeback win after the game came down to the last seconds of the third period. Although the Knights are rattled by this loss, Head Coach Kevin Vaitis saw the positives in tonight’s game.

“I’m pleased with a number of things we did out there on the ice tonight. We had a couple of power play goals, killed off a few penalties, and had a lot of scoring from a number of guys, which is what we have had all season. I’m looking forward to the playoffs on Monday night. This is what we have worked for all season and we are ready to go,” explained Vaitis.

Both teams came out of their locker rooms with high energy, starting the game with quick back and forth plays. The first period started off fast with senior Nate Oh scoring off of a rebound only three minutes in.  However, Central Bucks’ junior, Jake Lang, answered back after a turnover in the neutral zone and quick push resulted in a goal. An exciting first period only continued when junior Tyler Greenstein, sophomore Tony Tuzzo, and senior Jared Alabano all connected with the back of the net for the Knights. The Bucks answered back thanks to a wrister off the stick of Joey DeYoung who scored off of a 2 on 1 push, resulting in a 4-2 score favoring North Penn.

Erik Jesberger
Captain and Senior Jared Alabano looks to junior Tommy Boyle for a pass

Three Knights may have scored in the first, but one Buck, senior Owen Shields, scored twice in the second period to even up the score at four. Even though the score may not have shown it, the defensive effort on both ends of the ice stood out as North Penn’s Ryan Cunningham broke up multiple 2-on-1 chances during the game’s key moments. The game was not tied for long as Jake Lang from Central Bucks scored off a quick push from their side of the ice. North Penn answered back twice to this goal as senior Jake Nelson and junior Tommy Boyle both scored to put the Knights up 6-5.  Boyle discussed the game plan the Knights had going into the game.

“Staying back and being aggressive when needed to keep the pressure in the zone. We also try to stay aware and make sure that we know if someone is behind us,” explained Boyle.

Highlighting the effort in net for North Penn was a diving save back across the net by senior goalie Andrew Zanoni with 16 seconds left in the second period to keep the Knights up by one.

With only 16 minutes of play left to go, Central Bucks was on the hunt to tie up the game, which was accomplished by senior Kyle Burton who sent a quick wrist shot into the back of the net. Another wrist shot by North Penn’s Jake Nelson tied the game again only minutes later. However, the Bucks were going to have the last say as Danny Poliak and Chris Trefz scored to put the Bucks up, for good, by one. Losing the last game before playoffs is not the most ideal situation for any team; however, the Knight’s captain sees this as a way to motivate his team.

“As the captain I’m just going to tell the guys to forget about this game, but learn from it. The playoffs are a whole new situation as with one loss, we are out. We just have to focus on every shift and make that shift the best one of the season. From this game we have to learn to not give up when we are down and battle through each challenge we face as we push into the playoffs,” stated Alabano.

The Knights will play their first playoff game Monday, the 25th, with their opponent to still be decided.

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Knights bucked in back and forth battle