WHEELING - Sometimes all it takes to fire a team up is an unusual or fluke play, something that you don't see every game.
Central Valley's hockey team received just that type of play late in the second period Monday night to force a 2-2 tie with John Marshall. Unfortunately for the Warriors, the play seemed to get the Monarchs' blood boiling and not their own.
Josh Merryman scored a pair of goals and added an assist and John Marshall scored three unanswered goals in the third period to record an impressive 5-2 victory against Central Valley, its first of the young season, in prep hockey action at WesBanco Arena.
Coach Andrew Wilson's team breaks into the win column after losing its first two contests.
John Marshall managed to outshoot Central Valley by a 13-5 margin in the opening period; however, the Monarchs were unable to solve Warriors' goalie Jacob Cowie who continually batted attempts away to help keep the game scoreless after the initial 17 minutes of play.
But just over four minutes into the second period John Marshall's Josh Merryman managed to fire one past Cowie on a pretty back-hander from 15-feet out. The unassisted score put the hosts up 1-0 with 12:52 showing in the second.
While the Monarchs' Kyle Patrick was also doing a yeoman's job in net, Central Valley's Anthony Molinaro managed to get one past him from the near the blue line coming off a face off in John Marshall's end. Molinaro took a feed from James Steele and beat Patrick top-shelf at 10:30 to knot the count.
However, it didn't stay tied for long as Merryman's second goal of the period put the hosts back on top just a minute later on a pretty pass from Kristen Lewicki for a 2-1 count.
Molinaro stunned everyone later with a three-quarter ice laser that found its way into the back of the net with just one tick remaining in the second that sent the game to intermission, once again tied, this time at 2-2.
"That shot happened at the right time," Wilson admitted. "It was good that it happened at the end of the period and not in the middle because it gave us time to talk to Kyle (Patrick), who was a little demoralized about the situation."
Clemens Raitmyer made a major mistake early in the third, picking up an interference call and putting the Warriors on the game's first power-play opportunity. But while his teammates did an outstanding job killing the two minutes, Raitmyer, who is also the place kicker for Magnolia's 10-1 record football team, more than made up for it coming out of the box.
After retaking the ice, Raitmyer took a pass from Daniel Barker, raced down the ice and beat Cowie with a nice shot for a 3-2 advantage with 14:16 to play.
John Marshall got a little insurance on a power-play goal with 8:26 remaining. Merryman's attempt at the hat-trick was batted away by Cowie with Logan Landis in front of the net to clean things up and collect the rebounded effort to make it 4-2.
Barker added a late tally for the final count.
"We played a little too sloppy in the first period, but got a little better in the second and took the lead for most of the period," Wilson added. "Actually, we hadn't practiced in about a week, so it took us a little while to get everything together."
"That third period we changed some lines around and tried to shorten the shifts to spark some offense and it paid off for us."