WEST GOSHEN — No one can say the Bishop Shanahan boys ice hockey team doesn’t have heart.
In a season which finds the Eagles with a smaller roster than most with barely three lines and two pairs of defensemen, the players don’t let that slow them down.
“We’re short, short, short on numbers, but these kids play with all of their heart,” said Shanahan coach Doug Kish.
In its third game of the season, Shanahan (1-0-2) found itself up by two goals after the first period, but the shortened bench took a toll on the players and Archbishop Ryan (1-1-1) was able to get back in the game.
However, Shanahan wasn’t going to let the game slip out of its hands and fought back twice to end in a 5-5 tie Friday night at Ice Line.
“They were struggling a little bit in the second period, but they came back mightily in the third,” Kish said. “I was trying to work between three and four defensemen all night. They just ran out of gas there for a little bit.”
Rallying behind the student fan base in the crowd, Shanahan erased a two-goal deficit early in the third period from new player Gera Poddubnyi’s second goal of the night.
After goaltender Alex DeGarmo kept the game tied at 4 with a huge save on a penalty shot from Tyler Giwerowski, Ryan did tally less than two minutes later.
With time running out, Shanahan’s Ryan Conners scored his third with just over 4:30 left in the game to knot the game up at 5.
“We battled out there that whole time in the third period and gave it our best,” Conners said.
Shanahan has struggled the last few seasons to make noise in the PCL conference, winning just seven games total over the last two years, but things feel different to them in the 2015-16 season.
“We have the Russian kid, Gera Poddubnyi,” Conners said. “We lost a couple of seniors, but Gera is stepping in there. He’s a big man, so he’s carrying a lot of offense.”
Kish, who is the new coach for the team this year, can even feel the difference in Shanahan, which has yet to lose a game in regulation.
“It’s a great group of kids,” he said. “They really want to do it. I think the fact that we have such a short number of players makes them want it just that much more. It’s sheer desire.”