WEST GOSHEN — It wasn’t the prettiest of games for the West Chester Rustin boys hockey team and they could count their blessings to be able to skate away with a point.
Trailing by two goals with just under six minutes left to Boyertown, the Golden Knights were able to put two past senior goaltender Connor Ferreri to finish in a 3-3 tie Friday night in a Ches-Mont match-up at Ice Line.
“There’s no such thing as a good tie, but if there was, that was one,” said Rustin head coach Nick Russo. “It’s always good to get a point, especially when you’re down two goals late in the game.”
Down two of its top defensemen, Rustin (2-1-1) struggled to gain any momentum in the game as Boyertown (1-1-1) took it to them, notably in the second and third periods.
“We just weren’t focused enough to get ready for this game,” said Rustin forward Brett Christie. “We didn’t prepare mentally or physically. We just came out slow.”
Despite the slow start, the Golden Knights were able to get on the board first, courtesy of a last-minute goal from junior forward Joel Sheriko.
But Boyertown took it to Rustin in the second. Though it took a few tries to crack sophomore goaltender Jason Grande, once they did, they weren’t stopping.
“(Boyertown) worked hard and they had a good gameplan,” Russo said. “You have to fight through sometimes. You can’t take nights off.
“They came to play and they came to play hard. They capitalized on some of their opportunities.”
One of those being when Grande tried to direct the puck out of harm’s way, but it ended up on the stick of sophomore defenseman Dylan Marlowe, who buried it.
Then the old adage of “put the puck on net and good things will happen” came to light for Boyertown when they scored two more, both just past the blue line.
“We’re missing our top two defensemen and that hurts,” Russo said. “There are no excuses.”
But with less than six minutes to go, Christie sent a pass over to sophomore forward Tommy Sloan to pull within one.
Then, with a late power play, Christie was at it again, this time on a 2-on-1 with Sloan and tied the game.
“We just got our heads back into the game and just started focusing,” Christie said. “We realized we were down and had to come back.”
It’s still early in the season for Rustin as they continue to work to find some consistency and Russo knows there will be some growing pains, especially with the early injuries to key players.
“They have to start believing in themselves,” he said. “You can’t live on last year, you can’t live on the year before and you can’t live on next year. You have to take the moment and do what you can do.”