PREP HOCKEY: Patriots Can’t Rebound
WHEELING – There is nothing more that Wheeling Park’s hockey team would like than to have the first period of Monday night’s battle with Keystone Oaks back.
Unfortunately for Coach Brian Syrylo and his Patriots, there are no do-overs in the world of sports.
The Golden Eagles scored twice in the initial 3:12 of play and built a four-goal bulge after the first 15 minutes and made it stand in recording a 4-1 victory against Wheeling Park in high school hockey action at WesBanco Arena.
Ryan Riblan got the first quarter onslaught going with a 10-foot blast at 12:26 on assists from Cody Dulski and Ryan Rosato.
Just 38 seconds later, Rosato duplicated the feat from the other side unassisted for the quick 2-0 reading.
Riblan’s second goal, this one at 7:16 with help from Rosato, banked off the post from 20-feet away. The Eagles (3-6-1) made it 4-0 at 1:15 on a controversial goal by Jared Golden that hit the post and bounced away, but was ruled to have gone over the line by the official.
“We let that one get away from us in the beginning,” Syrylo said. “We out shot them, and I thought we were faster and more physical the whole way, it was just too much, too early.”
Park had a chance to cut into the deficit early in the second period with a 4-on-3, and eventually 5-on-3, advantage, but could not take cash in on the situation.
Ironically, the closest the Patriots (6-7) came to scoring was midway through the second when they had five consecutive shots off of faceoffs while playing down a man, including a Nicco Catalano shot that ricocheted off the post.
Defensively, Wheeling Park managed to hold KO scoreless in the middle period while also limiting the visitors shots. However, the Patriots were also unable to cut into the large early margin.
Keystone Oaks’ goalie Dan Smee stepped up in the period, continually turning away Park shots. The Patriots actually had a 24-21 upper hand in shots on goal at the end of two.
After watching Smee bat away their first 27 shots of the night, the Patriots finally got on the scoreboard with 10:11 to play when Catalano’s close-in shot slipped into net on an assist from Ian McArdle.
”Our goal coming in was to get off as many shots as we could,” Keystone Oaks’ coach John McCarthy said. ”And we did a good job of that early on, unfortunately we played very undisciplined in the final two periods.
”With all the penalties we didn’t get very many 5-on-5 chances and that took us out of our game, and was what we did so well in the first period.
”We did do a good job killing penalties, and our best penalty killer was our goalie. My hat also goes off to Wheeling Park, they put a lot of pressure on us and got too many shots at the net.”
Syrylo agreed that the Patriots’ play with a man advantage was disappointing.
”We have got to have better puck possession on the power play, which will lead to better shots,” he said. “But give their goalie credit, he did a very good job of keeping us out of the net.
”Overall we played good for over two periods, but we have got to get things going earlier the next time.”
Keystone Oaks 4, Wheeling Park 1
K -Goalie: Smee (33 saves); Goals: Riblan 2, Rosato, Golden; Assists: Rosato 2, Dulski, Donovan; Shots on Goal: 25; Power play opportunities: 0 for 4.
W -Goalie: Kent (21 saves); Goal: Catalano; Assist: McArdle; Shots on Goal: 34; Power play opportunities: 0 for 6.