Knights Stymie Rival Park
Edgerton scores a pair in 6-1 victory
WHEELING — Wheeling put on a clinic on how to hustle Monday.
The Maroon Knights seemed to get to every loose puck and dominated the shots on goal department as it skated past rival Wheeling Park in a 6-1 showing at WesBanco Arena.
The Knights outshot the Patriots by a 33-17 count and never trailed in the contest.
“I just told them to keep it simple, play fast and play physical,” Central coach Zach Stahl said. “We knew there was going to be a lot of emotion but it’s how you control that. I thought we responded to everything the right way.
“We were patient and I thought it was a full team effort. Our boys completely bought into what we were trying to preach.
“Every time we step on the ice, our goal is to outshoot the opponent. They don’t have to be the greatest shots but as long as you’re making the goalie work, that’s what we need to do.”
The Knights certainly made Park goalie Dorothy Romanek work as she stopped 27 of the 33 shots she faced.
Central keeper Jacob Laurine only needed to collect 16 saves to pick up the win.
“Our guys knew they were the defending state champions and they were going to come out to play,” Park coach Grant Van Laar said. “We didn’t come out to play. We were second to the puck and we didn’t want to take hits and stand in front of the net.
“They were always the first to the puck, they worked hard and they skated 200-feet the whole game and we didn’t.”
Wheeling Central delivered the first blow as Bryan Courts sent a pass in front of the net to teammate Kyle Newmeyer, who laced a shot into the cage for the 1-0 edge.
The Patriots answered with just 42 seconds left in the opening frame when Elijah Pissos took a Christian Nestor pass and supplied the equalizer from the left circle.
The momentum didn’t last long as the Knights regained the lead only 1:05 into the second when Chase Edgerton garnered his first goal of the game on a backhander from the slot.
Just over three minutes later, Derek Dearth went top-shelf from the left circle to extend the Knights advantage to 3-1.
As time was running out in the second, the Patriots looked for new life as they squeaked the puck across the goal line. However, the goal was waved off due to time running out in the period.
“I thought we had a goal there at the end of the second,” Van Laar said. “We had some momentum going but like anything else, if you shoot the puck anything can happen.”
Central took advantage of the overturned call as it reeled off the last three goals of the evening in the final stanza.
Team captain Chase Kelly provided the first, followed by Edgerton’s second of the game and capped off by Chris Furka, who sent a wrist shot into the back of the net.
Both Edgerton’s and Furka’s third-period goals came on the power play, which is a focal point at every practice.
“A lot of these games come down to special teams,” Stahl said. “We gave Coach Joseph Baker full reigns of the power play and he’s been working with them. We’re at the top of the league in power-play goals.
“I tell them all the time to stay patient and when you capitalize, it takes the wind right out of the other team’s sails.”
Courts and Dearth each recorded a pair of assists to go along with their goals for Central.
“These are fun games to play in,” Stahl said. “We are lucky to get the chance to play Wheeling Park every year.”