Starting the game with only eight skaters and having that total reduced to seven for the second and third periods is not conducive to winning hockey games.
Warwick High School's team faced just such a situation Friday night in the Central Pennsylvania Interscholastic Hockey League Tier II playoffs. Despite the manpower disparity - although West York only had 10 skaters - the Warriors stayed close but bowed to the Bulldogs, 5-2 at the York Ice Rink.
West York, the top seed, moves to the Tier II title game, slated for 7 p.m. Friday at the Hersheypark Arena.
The Warriors, suffering just their first loss in the double-elimination tournament, can forge a rematch with West York by emerging with an elimination-round victory over Red Land Monday at 8:45 p.m. at the Lancaster Ice Rink.
West York beat Warwick twice during the regular season but it was the Warriors who got off to the quick start Friday night, moving out to a 2-0 lead.
Stephen Crawford accounted for both Warwick goals, both in the first period.
Crawford gave the second-seeded Warriors a 1-0 lead by snapping the rebound of Casey Witmyer's shot past West York goalie Jordan Lombardo. The power-play goal came with West York's Darren Lint off for checking from behind.
"The puck popped out right to my stick," Crawford said.
Warwick took advantage of another West York penalty. With Zach Smith in the box for crosschecking, Crawford knocked a clearing pass out of the air, settled the puck and wristed his shot past Lombardo (19 saves) with 6:38 to play in the first period.
"Aaron (Wright) was screening the goalie and I waited for one of their players to come back in front of the net," Crawford said. "I saw that and waited until he crossed in front of the goalie."
West York cut into Warwick's lead when Tyler Gettel beat Warwick goalie Steve Jostes (19 saves) with a wrist shot to the short side.
"I thought we controlled the game in the first period," said Warwick assistant coach Adam Wood. "We did what we wanted to do, attacking-wise."
With 1:31 to play in the first, West York's Matt Doyle caught Warwick's Drew White with an elbow to the head at center ice. Doyle was called for a five-minute major penalty. White was lost for the game.
With White out, Warwick defensemen Marc Wiczkowski and Brogan Galbreath didn't leave the ice for the rest of the game.
Making the situation worse for the Warriors was that they couldn't score on the extended power play, which included a 5-on-3 advantage for 1:38 when West York's Darren Lint was sent off for tripping.
It got even worse for Warwick when Alex Doyle converted a pass from Klayton Garman to tie the game at 2-2 while the Bulldogs were down two men due to the penalties.
Warwick was reduced to just two players on the bench when Nathan Weaver was whistled for a check from behind (two-minute penalty and 10-minute misconduct).
During Weaver's absence, the Bulldogs scored twice to take a 4-2 lead. Gettel scored his second goal of the game and Garman scored on a stretch pass from Gettel off a faceoff in West York's zone.
Wood said Warwick may have been short on numbers but not on heart.
"They fought non-stop," Wood said.
Note: Warwick defeated Red Land 5-3 and tied the Patriots 2-2 during the regular season.