CECIL TOWNSHIP – The Peters Township hockey team is not accustomed to winning games by five goals, as was the case during Monday’s 6-1 rout of rival Canon-McMillan in a PIHL Class AAA game at Southpointe Iceoplex.
No, lately it’s been by a lot more.
Re-energized by a win over the Big Macs here more than a month ago, Peters Township continued its recent dominance by winning its sixth consecutive game to force a tie in Section 1-AAA.
“Ever since then, we’ve been pretty much on a roll,” Peters Township’s Sam Barnes said of the Indians’ 5-2 win over Canon-McMillan Dec. 17. “We’ve been winning a lot.”
And by a lot, too.
The six goals Peters Township scored last night – Barnes was the only player with more than one – gives the Indians 46 over their past six games, an average of 7.7 per contest.
“I just think that we realized we’re one of the best teams in the league, and we have a chance to win the Penguins Cup,” Carter Ekberg said. “We should.”
Four players recorded multiple points Monday night: Barnes, Brad Tylenda, Adam Alavi and Trevor Recktenwald.
Goaltender Brian Baker, meanwhile, stopped 24 of 25 shots, allowing only a five-on-three goal in the second period.
Besides that, Peters Township (10-4) kept Canon-McMillan off the board on five other penalties by blocking shots, clogging passing lanes and, of course, getting a few spectacular saves from Baker.
“We were strong as a defensive team today. A lot less shots,” Baker said. “We’ve been playing a better defensive game since after the New Year. Our team has been so much stronger and so much better.”
Barnes gave Peters Township a 1-0 lead after the first period by sneaking a rebound through Canon-McMillan goaltender Ryan Christian’s legs at 6:29.
Alavi made it 2-0 at 8:44 when he deked near the inner-edge of the left circle to beat a defender and lifted a shot over Christian’s blocker.
That lead lasted until Peters Township was assessed two penalties, and Garrett Woznichak scored by flinging a shot from the left point, through a screened Baker.
But Tylenda scored on the power play, finishing a slap shot from the right point off a pass from Alex Debolt, to put Peters Township ahead, 3-1, at 7:22 of the third period.
“That third goal really lit a fire under us,” Ekberg said. “We started scoring from there on.”
Jake Dachille finished a wrister from the left circle, Ekberg poked a puck through a defender’s legs and retrieved it en route to perhaps the prettiest goal of the night, and Barnes finished the scoring with Peters Township’s third power play goal of the night.
It was a dominant performance that might have seemed impossible at the beginning of the season. But after knocking off Canon-Mac the first time, practices have become more intense, players’ focus has increased, and now the Indians are thinking about making a run at the Penguins Cup.
“This definitely gives us some confidence, but we don’t want to get over-cocky,” Baker said. “We have to keep this up.
“We’ve evolved from a young, immature team to now we’re starting to mature and finally fit in with each other. Definitely have some good chemistry going.”