OAKS >> With a man down and his team up two, Ryne Moore slipped behind the defense, gained control of the puck, put a move on his defender and iced the game.
Moore’s short-handed breakaway goal served as the graceful tally that put it out of reach, as Spring-Ford defeated Perkiomen Valley, 5-2 in the Pioneer Conference semifinals at Center Ice in Oaks, Monday night.
With that, Spring-Ford will take on Boyertown for the inaugural Pioneer Conference title on Thursday.
“That’s my go-to move,” Moore said afterward of his goal to make it 3-0 early on in the third period. “I had a defender on my right shoulder, so I brought the puck to my right side. At the last second, I pulled it over and tucked it in behind the (goalie’s) pad.”
The junior also added an empty-netter with 40 seconds left to seal it to go along with two assists on the night. Christian Graff scored two goals for the Rams, including the opener just under seven minutes into the game while Moore also added two assists. Ben Geremski registered four assists in the win. Aidan Cooley also added a goal.
“This win was amazing,” said Moore. “The fans were crazy and kept us going the entire time. We really wanted this. Perk Valley is a good team, but we really wanted to win this one.”
Adam Panzarella made 25 saves for the win, letting up just two goals including a huge glove save two minutes into the final period.
“We knew we wanted to make their (Perk Valley’s) defense work and cause a lot of turnovers,” said Spring-Ford head coach Joseph Palmer. “Overall we really stepped it uptonight defensively. It was good to see, especially with the championship coming up.”
The Rams’ main concern was shutting down Perkiomen Valley forward Kevin Lombardi, who led the Pioneer conference in points entering the night. In their two matchups during the regular season, Lombardi registered four goals and an assist, though Spring-Ford was able to pull out both games.
On Monday, Lombardi registered both of Perkiomen Valley’s goals, each with assists from Kyle Zahour.
“He did get a couple goals on us, but that’s almost to be expected,” added Palmer of Lombardi. “He’s a really talented player, but for the most part, we did a good job of shutting him down and keeping him quiet.”
The Vikings were able to create a few more scoring chances, but couldn’t find ways to convert. With 3:43 left in the second period, Lombardi knocked a slapshot off the post, which would have evened it at 1-1.
Perkiomen Valley head coach Harvey Friedland anticipated a tough defense coming in. Though they could only convert two goals on the night, he says the Vikings, namely Lombardi, deserve plenty of credit for clawing back from a 3-0 deficit early in the third.
“I’m proud of our guys,” he said. “We got down, but never really played like we were down.
“Kevin’s a pure-goal scorer with a really bright future. He shows up at every practice and does exactly what he needs to do. There’s a reason why he was selected as our team captain. He’s someone all of our younger kids should look up to.”
Christopher Fiorillo made 40 saves on 36 shots faced.
After completing the season-sweep of Perkiomen Valley with the win Monday night, Spring-Ford will look to reverse that trend against Boyertown in the title bout on Thursday night.
Having faced off three times since mid-January – Boyertown winning all three – Spring-Ford will bring plenty of life into Thursday.
“Hopefully the fourth time’s the charm,” said Palmer with a laugh. “They’re a really good team, so we’ve got to see what we can do against them this time around.”
“We’ve got to contain their playmakers like (Hunter) Canestra and (Bransen) Mackey,” said Moore. “If we can find a way to shut their offense down and put some goals up, we’ll see what happens. It should be a fun one.”
NOTES >> After Moore’s empty-netter with 40 seconds remaining, the referees waived it off once fans began throwing items onto the playing surface. … Spring-Ford and Perkiomen Valley each spent 14 minutes in the penalty box on seven infractions.