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DeMaio, Lower Moreland hockey top Upper Moreland/Archbishop Wood

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UPPER MORELAND >> The more opportunities he saw, the more dangerous Vincenzo DeMaio got.

The Lower Moreland sophomore saved his best for last Thursday night, scoring two of his three goals and assisting on another in the third period against Upper Moreland/Archbishop Wood. As a team, the Lions kind of followed DeMaio’s lead, getting stronger in each consecutive period.

Thanks to their strong finish, Lower Moreland topped UM/AW 8-4 at WinterSports Ice in their SHSHL matchup.

“I just work off the momentum of our team,” DeMaio said. “The way we work together, it’s easy for me to work off that. Usually, I get better as the game goes on.”

Statistically speaking, it was a pretty even first period. Lower Moreland controlled the puck a bit more, but Upper Moreland/Wood almost matched the Lions in shots, 8-7. Both goaltenders had a nice start to the game, but LM was able to capitalize on a power play when defenseman Adam Bostock set up Devin Green with 8:31 left in the frame.

Bostock had strong game himself, netting two goals and assisting a pair while playing solid two-way hockey, especially with his puck movement.

“Our goalie made a couple nice saves to keep us in the game and we got some momentum going,” LM defenseman Adam Bostock said. “We started to get some offense going then got some goals.”

Lions freshman netminder Jacob Lungin kept a scoreless opening 16 minutes, then extended the streak six more minutes into the second period. By the time Andrew Boyle put UM/Wood on the board for the first time, Lower Moreland led 4-0.

Lower Moreland scored three goals in the first four-and-a-half minutes of the second, with Noah Gazzara, Bostock and DeMaio pushing the lead out.

 “We were confident in our shots, their goalie was standing on his head back there but we just had to keep going at him,” DeMaio said. “I started to see a couple things each time I was going down. He was starting to leave his glove side open a little bit, so I was able to see that and score on it.”

Lower Moreland, which has just 11 players on its roster, played shorthanded with a couple players absent at the football team’s season-ending banquet including leading scorer Coleman Peppelman. DeMaio said the Lions knew that going in Thursday, so they wanted to step up as a group to replace the output and minutes.

Numbers also caused the merger of the Upper Moreland and Archbishop Wood programs this season. UM only had eight players come out while the Vikings had nine, so they just joined forces to field a team.

Sporting jerseys that were a mix of the schools’ colors – purple, yellow and green – and with a logo of a purple bear in a Viking helmet, chemistry hasn’t been a problem despite players coming from two different schools.

“We have a lot of first or second year players, so that’s our weakness right now,” UM/AW co-head coach Mike Denardo said. “We played a lot better than we did last night, which is good, they showed a lot of hustle.

“We’re all basically from the same neighborhood. Most of the guys played Little League together, so I know most of the guys from being around Upper Moreland in general.”

Boyle’s second goal cut the LM lead to 4-2 in the final minute of the second period and UM/AW went into the second intermission with a little momentum on their side. Upper Moreland/Wood goaltender Michael Denardo played well, giving his team a chance heading into the final frame.

However, Lower Moreland had other ideas. Off the first puck drop of the period, the Lions gained possession and took less than a minute to score when DeMaio went in unassisted, faking a shot then pinging his second goal in under the crossbar.

Mike Denardo said it was a bad start to the period, but he was encouraged by many things his team did on Thursday.

“They are improving, it has been a tough year so far but they’re getting better,” Denardo said. “This was the closest game we had so far. They’re not giving up, which is a good thing.”

Lower Moreland improved to 4-1-1 on the season. After DeMaio opened the third with a goal, he added his third to make it 6-2, then Bostock notched his second for a 7-2 lead.

Upper Moreland/Wood cut it down to 7-4 on goals by Ben Helsinger and Tom Hill before LM freshman Tyler Scolnick capped the scoring.

“We got through the game, and that’s all that matters,” Bostock said. “We talk a lot, we have a ton of communication out there which can help us. We just have to stay defensively strong and that will give us a chance against the stronger teams in the league.”

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