HATFIELD TWP. >> Alex Peterson with a puck on his stick is a sight few, if any, teams want to see.
The Knights senior front-liner wasn’t overtly flashy Thursday night and he still wound up with six points. Peterson put five pucks in the net and assisted another as North Penn skated by Souderton 7-1 at Hatfield Ice.
“We stayed out of the box which is always a good thing,” NP coach Kevin Vaitis said. “We did a much better job defensively in our own zone. We’ve been giving up 38 or 39 shots our last few games so to hold them to 19, it was a better job.”
Both teams were playing with short benches, Souderton dressing 12 skaters and 13 for North Penn. The first five minutes of the contest were a bit choppy with neither team able to control the puck for long.
“You have to know that you’re going to play because we don’t have the extra guys,” Peterson said. “Everyone has to come out to work and you can’t miss a shift.”
Peterson just needed some time to get his skates under him and the Knights’ top scorer soon showed why he’s in that spot. After slaloming his way through four Indian players, Peterson got a window and delivered a backhander for his 10th goal of the season with 10:36 left in the first.
Four minutes later, Peterson doubled his total and the lead on a power play from Nathan Oh.
“It wasn’t an up and down game, there weren’t a lot scoring chances, they had one guy put up six points on us,” Souderton coach Matt Montagna said. “We scored one, they scored seven. (Peterson) is awesome and we just tried to stop him.”
The second period was a bit livelier and Peterson didn’t need much time to complete the hat trick, re-directing Andrew Galetta’s hit in on a power play with 11:34 left in the second. Not even a minute later, assistant captain Green extended the Knights lead to 4-0 with a close range goal.
The goal prompted a change in net for the Indians and they responded by getting on the board when Tyler Johnson assisted Austin Mower with 7:36 left.
With 1:28 left in the second, Peterson struck again. The senior, who is also a member of North Penn’s baseball team, got helpers from Oh and Derek Heckler on his fourth.
Peterson also had an imprint on the third period, starting things off by assisting Jacob Verrillo’s first goal of the season. Verrillo also got a souvenir to take him when his dad won a raffle for a signed Claude Giroux jersey.
Vaitis said the key defensively was keeping shots to the outside where towering North Penn goalie Jake Snyder could see them coming. When he does that, he has no problem making the saves.
So long as he makes the stops, he has the right guy to put a few away and lead the Knights to a few wins.
“I’ve gotten the chance to coach (Peterson) for the last four years,” Vaitis said. “He has a great shot and offensively he’s very dangerous when he gets the puck. He doesn’t need much time or space when he gets it. He did a nice job and yeah, he does make it look effortless at times but it was just a very solid job by him.”
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