This edition of GNASH hockey featured a matchup between Blackman-Stewarts Creek and Father Ryan. After their last game ended in a tie, Father Ryan was anxious to get back in the win column. They came out strong in the first period, which led them to a decisive 10-3 victory over Blackman-Stewarts Creek.
The game began with Blackman winning the opening faceoff, and getting the first opportunity on offense. But it was Father Ryan who controlled the majority of the puck movement to start the game. Despite the Irish taking an early penalty, Peter Faulkner was able to take the puck the other way while shorthanded, scoring the first goal of the game at 11:10. That goal proved to be the first of many for Father Ryan. Xavier Tanner soon found the back of the net as well, beating Jacob Gomez; and William Rose followed suit with a goal of his own, off of a rebound. Then Matthew Malone got his chance, after tic-tac passing between him and Faulkner led to a one-timer goal, beating Gomez above his blocker.
Blackman kept their head in the game though, and were finally able to break through with a goal of their own at 7:42 remaining in the first. Their first goal came from Chris Hirt, thanks to assistance from Jackson Taylor. The Blaze looked to spark some momentum with that goal, but it was quickly nullified when they took a tripping penalty shortly afterwards. Although they got the initial clear while shorthanded, Father Ryan soon made them pay for that penalty. Xavier Tanner skated into the zone with speed, and scored by going top shelf over Gomez. His shot also got the Gatorade bottle as well, and gave the Irish a 5-1 lead to end the period.
Father Ryan’s head coach Thomas Bernstein said, “One thing we worked on quite a lot this week in practice was cancelling the defense out. We worked on lift checking up their stick, so the puck is there for the second guy to come in and pick up the play. When you do that, you’re not just relying upon one-on-one battles, where you might win them or you might lose them. That was good. I think that was a noticeable thing in our game tonight that hasn’t necessarily been there a lot.”
The second period started, and Blackman won the first faceoff again. They hoped to get things turned around, but unfortunately for them, the second period closely resembled that of the first. Father Ryan’s William Brown chased down a loose puck in the zone, outrunning the defense, and managed to score at 12:36. Blackman then swapped goalies, giving Cameron Farr a chance in net. With their new look, the Blaze continued to win face-offs and battled for more possession of the puck. But even Farr couldn’t contain the Irish offense. Brendan Huff scored two goals of his own, and William Perryman soon followed his lead by scoring off of a drop pass from teammate Quentin Rummo.
Although down 9-1, Blackman’s Jeffrey Stanton tried to fire up his team, as he delivered two big checks in a row to the opposition. They stayed tenacious in their fight for another goal, and eventually found themselves back on the power play. The man advantage was just the chance they were looking for, and were able to tally another goal. Cole McDowell beat Johnny Mugnano on the glove side, showing that the Blaze still had some fight left in them.
“I think we’re continuing to play well. I think we played at our pace, and tried to work on our passing in the second half of the game,” Coach Bernstein said,
The third period began with Father Ryan winning the opening faceoff this time around. They continued to show good offensive prowess; and their stop and go play seemed to throw off Blackman, creating room offensively. The Irish took advantage of that open ice, and Evan Scruggs was able to swing into the slot uncontested, to score their final goal at 6:49. But Blackman had one last goal left in the tank as well. That goal came from Aubrey Dickenson, who beat Mugnano on the glove side, thanks to assistance from Jackson Taylor and Hayden White. But despite the third period only yielding one goal per side, Father Ryan’s damage had already been done. They end the night with a decisive 10-3 victory over Blackman-Stewarts Creek.
Both teams will be back in action soon. Father Ryan is scheduled to faceoff against Brentwood on Friday, December 8th at Ford Ice Center, with puck drop at 5:45pm. Blackman-Stewarts Creek’s next game will also be at Ford Ice Center, but their game against Ravenwood is scheduled for Monday, December 11th at 6:15pm.