HARRISBURG — Measures of speed and skill and finesse had helped carry West Shore to a No. 1 seed in the Central Pennsylvania Interscholastic Hockey League's Viola Division playoffs, but through 48 minutes of regulation and four-plus minutes of overtime Monday night in a postseason thriller with Hempfield, the players churned their legs and jostled for positioning and toiled their way to a 4-3 victory.
Connor Winski scored the game-winning goal with 1:31 remaining in overtime, punching in a pass from Tanner Pressley on the power play at the doorstep of the Black Knights' net, where West Shore generated all four of its goals.
"I told them before the game that the pretty plays don't exist in the playoffs against great competition," West Shore coach Chris Moore said. "I told them greasy goals were going to get it done tonight. I'm proud of them. They stayed the course."
GAME-WINNING GOAL, West Shore. Connor Winski punches in the centering pass from Tanner Pressley with 1:31 left in overtime to give Shore. 4-3 win over Hempfield. pic.twitter.com/LmAoYkMlVO— Tim Gross (@TimGrossLNP) February 11, 2020
The course sends West Shore into a winner's bracket contest against Twin Valley scheduled for 7:45 p.m. Feb. 17 at Twin Ponds East.
Monday, Shore (17-2-0-0) had turned a 1-0 deficit into a 2-1 lead on a pair of greasy goals from Christian Holtzapple and Pressley, fishing loose pucks out of scrums in front.
The Black Knights (13-7-0-0), with players from Hempfield and Conestoga Valley, responded, as Theodore Lountzis blasted in his second goal of the game on a power play with 12:05 remaining, and Elias Lountzis gave his team a 3-2 lead five minutes later.
GOAL, Hempfield. Theodore Lountzis jumps on a loose puck and fires in the game-tying goal on the power play. Black Knights and West Shore are tied 2-2 w/ 12:10 left. It's tied, 3-3. pic.twitter.com/n0m7s01nbf— Tim Gross (@TimGrossLNP) February 11, 2020
But a series of penalties gave West Shore opportunities to equalize, and the team obliged. Joshua Stausbaugh threw a pass down low to Holtzapple, who snapped a pass across the goalmouth to Pressley, who scored his second of the game to tie it with 4:09 remaining.
"We found enough to get it done," Moore said. "Just enough."
GOAL, West Shore. Tanner Pressley punches it in on the power play to tie the game at 3 w/ 4:09 left. pic.twitter.com/AbCtfpUruw— Tim Gross (@TimGrossLNP) February 11, 2020
Conestoga Valley's Joshua Griel fought off a flurry of West Shore shots in the final moments of regulation to send the game into overtime. The Black Knights goaltender finished with 39 saves on 43 shots. At the other end, Alexander Rigling stopped 23 of the 26 Hempfield shots he faced.
The loss sends the Black Knights into the elimination bracket of the double-elimination tournament, where they'll face Cedar Crest in a game scheduled for 8:15 Wednesday at Klick Lewis Arena.
"The effort was there," said Devyn Laser, Hempfield's coach. "They had the energy. Josh was incredible. Penalties might have got us a little bit, but all in all, we did really well on the penalty kill, except for that last penalty."