With 1:36 remaining in the second period Friday at Lancaster Ice Rink, and the score tied, 2-2, West Shore's Nolan Zortman threaded a cross-ice pass through the heart of the Hempfield defense. The pass found the stick of Huy Nguyen in the far faceoff circle, and Nguyen one-timed the shot that held up as the game-winning goal in a 3-2 victory.
"That pass was unselfish," said West Shore coach Chris Moore, "and tape-to-tape, and Huy buried it. It was a great one-timer and just a good hockey play all around."
Before the game-turning one-timer, West Shore (10-0-0-0), with players from Red Land and Cedar Cliff, erased two one-goal deficits to keep their season-long win streak alive.
"We've been tested in some other games," Moore said, "and we're been in similar situations where we've been losing. I think they drew on that experience tonight."
The Black Knights (6-4-0-0), with players from Hempfield and Conestoga Valley, applied pressure to their first-place opponents with a pair of first-period goals from Hempfield's Elias Lountzis, who blasted a shot off the glove of West Shore goaltender Alex Rigling (22 saves) 2:06 into the game. After Zortman tied the game at one, Lountzis reclaimed the lead for the Black Knights with a rising shot from the left faceoff circle later in the first period.
"There's not much you can really say (about Lountzis)," Black Knights coach Griffin Helm said. "Obviously, his game shows that he's one of the better players. He's brought it every single game."
GOAL, Black Knights. Hempfield's Elias Lountzis elevates it for his second goal of the night, which gives the Knights a 2-1 lead over West Shore w/ 8:16 left 8n the first period. pic.twitter.com/XSOdTi5B6n— Tim Gross (@TimGrossLNP) December 14, 2019
Christian Holtzapple scored the equalizer for West Shore, beating Black Knight netminder Joshua Griel (22 saves) with a breakaway goal 5:35 into the second period. After the Zortman-Nguyen connection gave West Shore its first lead of the night, Rigling stopped all 11 third-period shots he faced to preserve the win, including a lunging stop on a short-handed chance for Hempfield's Jackson Robards late in the period.
Save of the night so far for West Shore's Alexander Ringling. He denies Hempfield's short-handed bid to keep Shore up 3-2. Black Knights kill the penalty. pic.twitter.com/C5JxQ3DXwU— Tim Gross (@TimGrossLNP) December 14, 2019
"We know we're going to see everyone's best effort," Moore said. "They stunned us with a quick goal, and our message was to just keep playing the game. You're going to have ups and downs in the course of a game. Just keep playing and let your talent take over."
In Other Viola Division Games
Twin Valley 7, Warwick 6 (OT): Koby Howat's fourth goal of the game was the winning goal for the Raiders (8-1-0-1) in their third straight victory. Owen Brown scored two goals for Twin Valley, and Raiders goaltender Caleb Dinsdale made 20 saves. Jack Evans netted a hat trick for the Warriors (5-1-2-1) and helped the team earn a standings point by forcing overtime on a goal with 1:31 left in regulation. Cody Benjamin made 30 saves in goal for Warwick.
Elizabethtown 6, Manheim Central 1: The Bears (3-6-1-0), with players from Elizabethtown, Donegal and Middletown, trailed 1-0 before scoring six straight goals to pick up their second in in three games. Elizabethtown's Caden Nagel led the offense with a hat trick, and E-town goaltender Kaden Rhyder made 16 saves. Austin Nelson scored the goal for the Barons (0-10-0-0), and goaltender Gage McCabe made 30 saves.
Susquehannock 3, Penn Manor 1: A pair of Andrew Baibos goals turned a 1-0 deficit into a 2-1 lead and, eventually, a victory for the Warriors (2-7-1-1). Nicholas Voorstad and Cody Rodgers each recorded two assists for Susquehannock, and goaltender Brady Frey preserved the win with 32 saves. The Comets (4-5-0-0), with players from Penn Manor, Lancaster Catholic, Lancaster Country Day and Solanco, took a 1-0 lead on a goal from Solanco's Kalvin Kowal. and Penn Manor's Cara Jandzio made 10 saves in the team's third straight loss.
In the Bears Division
Central Dauphin 7, Manheim Township 3: Three power play goals propelled the Rams (7-3-1-0) to their second win in the last three games. Five different players scored for Central Dauphin, including William Hershey, who netted two goals. Goaltender Nolan Musti backed them up with a 12-save performance. Gavin Paterson, Olivia Yoder and Ethan Kim scored goals for the Blue Streaks (2-8-0-0), and goaltender Jared Gordon made 30 saves.
Friday's Other Scores
Lower Dauphin 6, Hershey 5 (OT)
Cumberland Valley 6, Susquehanna 3
Cedar Crest 9, Palmyra 2
Cumberland Valley vs. Twin Ponds at Twin Ponds, 7:45 p.m.
Lower Dauphin vs. Palmyra at Klick Lewis Arena, 8:30 p.m.
Penn Manor vs. Twin Valley at Body Zone, 6:45 p.m.
Central York vs. West Shore at Twin Ponds, 7 p.m.
Susquehannock vs. Dallastown at York Ice Arena, 8 p.m.
Hempfield vs. Manheim Central at Klick Lewis Arena, 8:30 p.m.
Warwick vs. Cedar Crest Aat Klick Lewis Arena, 8:45 p.m.