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Pennridge defense locks down a victory over Central Bucks West

Pennridge’s Eric Slater looks to shoot as Central Bucks West’s Reese Daizell defends during their game on Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018. (Gene Walsh/Digital First Media)
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HATFIELD TWP. >> Pennridge skated to its second and most complete win of the young season Wednesday night, with a resilient defense beginning to carve its way into the picture.

“The first two or three games, what killed us was our defense,” said Rams coach Jeff Montagna. “And tonight, they shut (Central Bucks West) down. They gave them no room at all to move out there.

“And when you get up on a team like that and play defense like that, you’re gonna create turnovers because they’re pressing, taking chances.”

Defense created opportunities. Leave the rest to Michael Walker.

Central Bucks West’s Daniel Poliak battles Pennridge’s Eric Slater for the puck during their game on Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018. (Gene Walsh/Digital First Media)

“They’re just fast breaks. It’s in the moment,” a smiling Walker said of his pair of goals. “You’re just kinda going with the flow and you put it where the puck belongs.”

The Rams led 4-0 by the second period and pulled away to a 5-1 victory over the rival Bucks in a Suburban High School Hockey League Continental Conference battle at packed Hatfield Ice.

“We’re getting the puck moving a lot more than we were in the beginning of the season,” Walker said. “We came out a little iffy but now we’re starting to get back into play.

“We’re clicking and stuff so it’s awesome.”

Central Bucks West’s goalie Jake Coddington watches the play near his net at game with Pennridge on Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018. (Gene Walsh/Digital First Media)

Pennridge (2-1-1, 1-1 conference) allowed the Bucks just three shots in the opening period while producing its early lead.

Goals by Michael White and Walker made it 2-0 Rams, and then Walker scored early in the second period followed by a goal by Eric Slater.

Rams goalie Luke Stranick flirted with a shutout, making 20 saves, but CB West (1-4, 0-2 conference) got on the board with 1:03 to play, a goal by Pavel Serhiayenka making it 4-1.

“I told the defenseman who turned it over that he’s gotta buy lunch for the goalie tomorrow,” kidded Montagna. “But what are you gonna do? You’re trying to make a play. You make a mistake. It happens.”

Central Bucks West’s Matthew McCarthy works to control a pass near Pennridge’s Andrew David during their game on Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018. (Gene Walsh/Digital First Media)

Fittingly, the Rams completed the scoring, off the stick of Conrad Frisch.

Said Montagna: “A real quality win, just because of the way we did it. It was efficient. Everyone got involved. And it’s something to really build on moving forward.”

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