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Kacala’s big day lifts Methacton past Phoenixville for first win

Methacton’s Payton Sikora (2) celebrates with Justin Sanelli (18) after scoring a goal during the Warriors' game against Phoenixville on Wednesday, April 4, 2018. (Thomas Nash/Digital First Media)

PHOENIXVILLE >> With the score tied just over a minute into the fourth period, Methacton’s Kyle Kacala secured the ball in front of the net and sent a rocket past the Phoenixville keeper.

“I saw my guy Jack Pellegrino top left,” recalled the senior attack of his goal. “Defense wasn’t really paying attention so I went in for that cut. Luckily he got the ball right on my hip and I was able to score it.”

Kacala’s fifth goal of the afternoon proved to be the game-winner as the Warriors picked up a 7-6 win over Phoenixville in Pioneer Athletic Conference play on Wednesday afternoon.

Phoenixville’s Matt Napolitana (2) celebrates with Ignacio Ortiz (10) after scoring a goal during the second period against Methacton. (Thomas Nash – Digital First Media)

With the win, Methacton ends its three-game skid to start the year and moves to 1-0 in the PAC and 1-3 overall. Coming off last week’s humbling 12-1 loss against Pope John Paul II, Phoenixville now drops to 0-2 in the PAC (1-2 overall).

After securing the lead early on in the fourth period, Kacala and the Warriors dominated the possession on the way to closing it out over the next 10 minutes.

And in any case where the Phantoms were able to generate some offense of their own, Methacton goalkeeper Matt Wall lived up to his name. The junior was a wall in net, where he made 11 saves on the afternoon, including two big stops in the final five minutes of regulation to preserve the one-goal lead.

“He played his tail off,” said Methacton head coach Nathanael Ryan of his goalie. “I thought we gave them (Phoenixville) a ton of real nice opportunities to score. Without him playing the way he did, we’re not in this game. He came up huge.”

Phoenixville’s Danny Jackson, front, winds up a shot while Methacton’s Justin Sanelli (18) defends. (Thomas Nash – Digital First Media)

Despite never once leading on the afternoon, Phoenixville never let the Warriors pull too far ahead.

Midway through the second period, Methacton was out to a 4-1 lead thanks to three straight goals from Kacala. Down three, Phoenixville was quick to respond.

Less than a minute after Wall’s finish, sophomore midfielder Ian Miller skipped one in from the right side to make it 4-2.

Senior attack Matt Napolitana closed out the half scoring a goal with 7.4 seconds left, then opened the second half with a goal 21 seconds in to even it back up at 4-4.

Both teams traded goals back and forth through an exciting third period that featured five goals before Kacala would eventually end the scoring in the fourth.

Methacton’s Stanley Kolimago (19) carries it upfield while Phoenixville’s Max Strunk (17) defends. (Thomas Nash – Digital First Media)

Payton Sikora and Stanley Kolimago added goals in the win for Methacton while Pellegrino posted assists on his team’s final two goals.

“Our guys who have been there and played for us stepped up and did a nice job,” said Ryan. “It’s nice to get that first win. It would have been nice to play a little cleaner throughout. We’ve got a lot to work on still, a long season ahead.”

Although they came out on the wrong end of Wednesday’s result, Phoenixville head coach Chip Mittnacht sees plenty of positives ahead in his second year at the head of the program.

“We’ve come a long way,” he said. “It’s just the little things — a few mistakes down the stretch proved the difference for us. We’ve just got regroup and fix the deficiencies we have. Overall, we’re coming together.”

Methacton’s Matt Napolitana (2) celebrates with Ryan Gilleland (32) during Wednesday’s game. (Thomas Nash – Digital First Media)

For the game, Napolitana and freshman midfielder Ryan Gilleland each scored twice while Brendan Jenkins added a goal. First-year starter Lucas Kapusta made three saves in goal, including a huge stop just before the buzzer sounded to end the third period.

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