Knights fend off Falcons to advance to Semi-Finals


Brandi Marlin

Ebbinghaus skates out of the net.

HATFIELD-  Characterized by many as the loneliest player in the sport’s world, ice hockey goalies find themselves out of the action in most cases; however in their 1st round matchup of the SHSHL, between two distant foes, the defenders of the crease highlighted the contest tonight between a hungry Pennsbury team and a rebounding North Penn squad.

Monday night, the North Penn Knights hosted and topped the Pennsbury Falcons, 4-2, in three hard battled periods where only one shot separated the teams total shots in the game as they headed into the last period of play.  North Penn had hoisted a leading score through the early parts of the game throughout many of the matchups in the regular season, but the Falcons put up their own early scoring with two goals from forward, Benjamin Dous. North Penn’s senior, Jake Nelson, connected with the back of the net for North Penn off of a between the leg touch from a Greenstein cross crease feed; however it would be Pennsbury who carried a 2-1 lead into the 2nd period.

“It wasn’t one of our best defensive periods we’ve played all year. I thought we did play better in the second and third, and I told the guys that we have a lot of hockey left with a ton of talent on this team; nobody should be hanging our heads. We then went on to capitalize and put forth a great effort in the third,” said Knights’ Head Coach, Kevin Vaitis.

Captain Jared Alabano takes the face off in the offensive zone.

And they did capitalize as North Penn answered the Falcons lead with a Tyler Greenstein wrist shot to beat Pennsbury goaltender, Christopher Seiler, after Greenstein split and burned two Falcons defenders crossing the blue line.

“We were having trouble breaking out of the zone early on, but we started working as a team and moving the puck cross ice which led to our goals to tie and take the lead. We’ve been down before and knew we would have to play our hearts out and make the most of every shift we got,” explained Knights Captain and senior, Jared Albano.

With the square off between two teams bringing not only loads of shots on their opposition’s net, the defense played the biggest factor in the game as multiple broken up offensive opportunities and phenomenal saves highlighted much of the action from the drop of the puck to the final horn. Players such as Thomas Boyle and Ryan Cunningham for North Penn, along with Connor Coyne and Erik Eisler for Pennsbury displayed their squads defensive strong suits in many key moments of the contest.  

In addition, the goaltenders in net, Nick Ebbinghaus (NP) and Christopher Seiler (PB), showed off their best kick saves and glove snatches to keep their respective team in the back and forth battle. Among the total 58 combined shots put on the goaltenders, a diving blocker save in the 1st period from Seiler and a batted away shot with the blocker by Ebbinghaus in the 2nd period, highlighted strong performances from both nets.

“The team was skating their [heart] out tonight and the focus was just continuing the puck moving especially in the other end to win games. I was working throughout most of the day preparing for the game tonight especially with my technique to catch the puck, and it’s impressive to go out and do that,” stated Ebbinghaus.

With a 2-2 score heading into the last period of play, North Penn lit the lamp and took the lead thanks to a Josh Kaufhold one timer which found the back of the net and gave the Knights a power play goal. Kaufhold’s top shelf finish was much in part made from the laser cross ice feed from senior, Nate Oh.

Brandi Marlin
Sarabacker passes to Rowland on a push into Pennsbury’s zone.

“It was all the pass from Nate Oh and being set up on the power play, we had a great set up. I just think everyone stepped up and played their part tonight which was really crucial and everyone’s effort was great,” stated Knights junior, Josh Kaufhold.

North Penn would knock in the final nail on the coffin to Pennsbury’s playoff picture with an empty net goal off the stick of Oh thanks to a Jake Nelson diving pass to keep the puck in North Penn possession and solidify the win.

“They were a very talented team, and we will have our hands full when we see them again next week in the Flyer’s cup, but I was telling the guys that we gotta keep working and our chances will come. Tonight was a big win for us and now we gotta prepare for Pennridge on Wednesday,” said Vaitis.

The Knight’s now prepare to face off with the #2 seeded Pennridge in the SHSHL semi-final game Wednesday night, the 27th, at 6:50 pm at Hatfield Ice Arena.