There are times during a season when a winning team needs to find a way to win an ugly game and on Thursday night that certainly was the case with 11th-ranked AH-Plantation and the Patriots rode a strong defensive effort and a dominating faceoff advantage to generate just enough offense to find their way past a game Bolles Bulldog squad.
Both teams struggled offensively, and even clears were heavily contested. Shooting was off some too, as defenders were able to get on the hands well and when shots got through both goalies (AH-P’s Jake Marek and Bolles’ Destin Kirby) stood tall, with 21 saves between them versus the 12 goals scored. And only 33 of the 61 shots attempted by both teams hit the cage.
And as you would expect in a game like this, goal scoring came at a premium and turnovers took on more than the issue of possession earned; it was also something that kept either team from grabbing the reins on the game. And in looking back on the game I was impressed by the long poles on both sides in holding up as their teammates struggled on the other side. These types of games are tough on the nerves of all involved, and the term gut check definitely applied.
But in the end, the deeper firepower of AH-P earned the win, as they were able to gain the lead early and never relinquished it, even as Bolles pulled within one goal twice in the second half. AH-P’s Kadin Schillo and Bolles’ Stefan Mostovych traded hat tricks, but the secondary scoring of Ryan Robins and Zac Bitar was able to earn the win.
Robins opened the scoring for AH-P at 8:39 with the dodge from up top to the right alley and his right-hand hit the low left corner. Bolles’ Andrew Sledzik tied it up at 7:01 as he took the right wing skip feed from Oliver Wilson for the one timer from the left crease. AH-P’s Gian Del Rio scored 7 seconds later for 2-1. AH-P’s excellent FOGO Daniel Haimes (14 for 15) popped the faceoff forward and found Bitar on the left wing and Bitar found Del Rio on the low left for the right hand top short side shot. Then at 3:28 AH-P made it 3-1 as Schillo face dodged on teh right wing to the goal for the left-hand shot high to the middle of the cage to end the 1st quarter.
Schillo added the only second quarter goal at 9:59 as the goalies saved 9 of the 10 shots on cage. He muscled in from the right wing to the middle and finished with the high bounce shot to the left corner for 4-1 at the half.
22 seconds into the 3rd it was Mostovych scoring unassisted as he took advantage of a loose ball scramble in front and his right hand bounce shot hit the right side of the cage for 4-2. That lasted until 5:06, when AH-P’s Bitar found Schillo on the right wing from behind the cage for the the left hander to the top of the cage for 5-2. Bolles then scored twice in the last two minutes to make it 5-4. A bad turnover deep in AH-P’s defensive zone led to Mostovych having a free path to an open net at 1:20 and just 22 seconds later they took advantage of the EMO as Jack Munoz took the Wilson pass from up top on the left wing for the step down low shot to end the 3rd.
Robins put the lead back to 2 at 8:14 on a solo dash, with him going down the middle right of the field and he took advantage of the clear path to put away the low right hand shot. Mostovych cut it back to one with 2:39 left on the nice right wing dash, beating his defender to the cage and finishing with the left hand to the high short side but Bitar got the insurance goal at 2:01 as he beat the double team on the left wing and dashed to the net for the high short-side shot and AH-P was able to run out the clock to preserve the win.
AH-P is back in action on Monday as they travel to Orlando for an interesting two-game swing with Oviedo and Lake Highland Prep while Bolles finished up it’s southern trip with the Saturday game at Pine Crest.
Faceoffs: AH-P 14-1
Shots: AH-P 37-24
Shots on Goal: AH-P 19-14
Turnovers: AH-P 20-18
Penalties: AH-P 5-2
Kadin Schillo 3G
Ryan Robins 2G
Zac Bitar 1G/2A
Gian Del Rio 1G
Jake Marek with 9 saves
Stefan Mostovych 3G
Andrew Sledzik and Jack Munoz with 1G each
Oliver Wilson 2A
Thanks to Coach Moore and Coach Mulvey for talking to me before and after the game.