Red Land frustrates Blue Streaks again, 6-3 Patriots' game BY KEVIN FREEMAN, Sports Staff
While you can't go as far as calling it a hex, Manheim Township's ice hockey team has its hands full when it plays Red Land.
Having suffered their lone loss this season to the Patriots prior to Wednesday night's game at the Lancaster Ice Rink, the Blue Streaks were looking to avenge that defeat but came up short.
Despite taking a 3-1 lead early in the second period, Township saw the Patriots score five unanswered goals en route to a 6-3 victory in Tier 2 of the Central Pennsylvania Interscholastic Hockey League.
Red Land's Brett Gummo, who entered the game as the leading scorer in Tier 2, added to his season totals with three goals and two assists in the game.
"I'm not sure what it is,'' said Township coach Kevin Dean, when asked to explain his team's two losses, both at the hands of the Patriots. "(Tonight) we seemed a little distracted, like we weren't focused. We had some moments where we looked really good. But we had more moments where we didn't look so good.''
The victory drew Red Land (12-5-0) within two points of Township (12-2-2), which is second in Tier 2 with 26 points. Red Land and Annville-Cleona are tied for third with 24 points. Penn Manor remains in first with 30 points. Township has a game in hand on Red Land and A-C.
"We seem to play our best when we play the best,'' said Red Land coach Steve Hallman. "We talked all week about just playing our game.''
Gummo, whose hat trick gives him 34 goals this season, opened the scoring with an end-to-end rush that ended with him slipping the puck past Township goalie Brandon Davis (22 shots, 16 saves).
But Township tied the game at 1-1 when Harrison Beauchamp beat Red Land goalie Devon Foutz (23 shots, 20 saves) with a wrist shot from the right side. The Blue Streaks took a 2-1 lead 35 seconds later on Erik Stager's team-leading 18th goal of the season.
The Blue Streaks struck again just 14 seconds into the second period, getting a power-play goal from Alex Busque.
At that point, Township appeared on its way to avenging its lone loss.
"Our Achilles heel is the first period,'' Hallman said. "That's where we give up all our goals. Devon gets better as the game goes on.''
So much so, in fact, that Foutz held the Streaks scoreless over the rest of the second period and the third.
Meanwhile, Red Land's offense started to click. Gummo beat Davis with a rising shot and Joshua Lafferty scored on a breakaway 24 seconds later, with Lafferty's goal tying the score at 3-3.
Township was able to kill a two-man Red Land power play that lasted 1:03 but the Patriots, still with a one-man advantage, got the tiebreaking goal from Gage Canton.
Penalties hurt the Blue Streaks all night. They gave Red Land eight power plays, although they had five of their own. The Patriots scored a pair of power-play goals.
Gummo completed his hat trick with 5:03 to play in the second and the Patriots' Zach Werner added the third period's lone goal.
Township played without third-leading scorer Chad Neiss and two other players. Red Land, too, was missing three third- and fourth-line players. The absences allowed the teams to see where their flexibility would be.
"We wanted to change some of the lines and have some players play some different positions to prepare us for the playoffs,'' Dean said.
Township was afforded a late third-period opportunity when Red Land was called for two concurrent penalties, resulting in a Township two-man advantage. But Red Land, behind Foutz, was stout.
"The guys played it textbook,'' Hallman said of his team's penalty-kill.
Township closes out the regular season with games against Ephrata Friday and Cedar Crest Wednesday.