PHS ice hockey erases deficit to beat Freedom
For a brief few minutes in the first period of last Monday night’s game, the mood around the Lehigh Valley Ice Arena was of disbelief as the Parkland ice hockey team was trailing in its game against Freedom. And the way that the Trojans fell behind was drastic, as they scored the game’s opening goal before giving up two consecutive goals in a span of just 28 seconds.
But three goals in each of the second and third periods helped to push Parkland past the Patriots, 8-2, in a Lehigh Valley Scholastic Hockey League matchup of the first- and second-place teams in the league.
“It’s a really big win for us, especially after how we started the game,” said Parkland’s Jake Nimeh. “It’s important with coming up to the home stretch of the schedule here. It really gives us a lot of momentum going into playoffs, because I’m sure we’re going to be seeing them again there. It was a great team win. We really came together.”
After Eric Dennis opened up the scoring for the Trojans, Freedom moved the puck around and found open players in front of the net for its two quick goals.
But the Trojans’ Koby Staivecki scored with 17 seconds left in the first period and then tallied another 4:08 into the second period to give Parkland the lead back for the rest of the game.
Matthew Zager and Staivecki each had a goal in the second, and Louie Rivera, Timmy Doe and Ryan Schantz all found the back of the next once in the third period to give the Trojans a comfortable lead.
“We played as a team,” said Nimeh about the change in environment after the first period. “In the early stages of the first period we were playing selfish. We weren’t communicating and we weren’t playing fast. Once we started playing faster, and sharing the puck and communicating, it turned into a totally different game. That helped us to get a lot of shots on net, and their goalie got worn out.”
Besides the scoring, Parkland’s defense also picked up its intensity behind the play of goalie Matthew Yankanich. Yankanich made 20 saves on 22 shots.
“We fed off (Yankanich),” Nimeh said. “He made some great saves. Our defense really stepped up, and the forwards did a good job of coming back to help out defensively. Earlier in the game, we weren’t backchecking as forwards, but as the game went on, coach kept preaching to get back and execute our system defensively.”
Staivecki (2), Nimeh (2), Schantz, Zager, Jeremy Sell, Gus Schwartz and Jacob Kozden all contributed at least one assist in the win.
Parkland is back on the ice Monday when it takes on Emmaus at Lehigh Valley Ice Arena at 6 p.m.