WEST GOSHEN — The West Chester East ice hockey team didn’t play the full 60 minutes it should have, but a dominating second period gave them the just enough for a 3-1 win over Owen J. Roberts in a Ches-Mont match-up Monday night at Ice Line.
Having been able to finally crack sophomore goaltender Mitchell Gibson, East (5-1 overall) scored three goals in the span of 4:37.
“The second period, when we played our game, we were poised and we were focused, that’s when we got control of the game and got the lead in the game,” said East head coach Drew Cox.
Unfortunately, the same couldn’t be said for the other 40 minutes, especially in the third period.
Starting just a few minutes into the final frame, East took penalty after penalty, sending five players into the box and gave Owen J. Roberts (3-4 overall) 4:31 of straight power-play time, including two 5-on-3s.
“I’m extremely disappointed in our undisciplined play,” Cox said. “When we’re undisciplined and in the box, it disrupts everything. It disrupts the flow, disrupts the lines, disrupts the energy — it disrupts what you’re trying to build throughout the game. Up until the last couple games, our discipline level has been good, but we’re starting to lose focus and lack discipline and it’s making games harder than they really need to be.”
Even with all the power-play time, Owen J. Roberts had a tough time getting setup, thanks in large part due to East’s superb penalty kill.
“PK kind of just came naturally to the team this year,” said East’s senior defenseman, Bill Stewart. “We have a few quick guys that just run around and like to get on the puck real fast. Our goalie definitely helped us out a lot.”
The Vikings needed junior goaltender Joe Stacy to be the best player on the ice and he was, making 13-of-14 saves.
The lone goal he gave up came at the end of all the penalties in the third when sophomore forward Bailey Watson pounced on a rebound.
“You take that many penalties, you’re going to (give up a goal),” Cox said. “It’s going to find a way into the net if you keep giving them opportunities like that and they did get one in. We shouldn’t be shooting ourselves in the foot like that.”
But at least this time around, the second period proved to be the difference maker for East, even with the stellar play from Gibson.
“He’s a strong goalie, for sure,” Stewart said. “It helped to get him moving, but he played solid throughout. He’s one of the best goalies in the league, so it’s good to put a few past him.”
The Vikings were able to finally get a puck past Gibson 7:13 into the middle period, courtesy of senior forward Mike Roberta.
Stewart followed up a few minutes later before junior defenseman Kevin Cleary put on a skills clinic by breaking up a possible 2-on-1, deking around defenders and backhanding the puck over Gibson.
“We got some consistency, we got some flow going and we started doing the things we wanted to do and eventually, the puck found the net,” Cox said.
The win allows East, who sits first in the Ches-Mont, to pull away from West Chester Rustin in the standings.
“Fortunately, we’re off to a good start,” Cox said. “We can hang our hats on the fact that we are 5-1. We’ve put ourselves in a good spot a third of the way through the season, but now we have to start making big adjustments and get to a consistent level of play and try to keep getting better as a team game in and game out.”