Spring-Ford holds off Owen J. Roberts, 8-7

Bucktown — It’s ‘ the’ rivalry in the PAC-10.

Anytime Spring-Ford and Owen J. Roberts meet up, it always seems to become more than just another game.

That was no different Friday night at Owen J. Roberts, as the Rams held on late to defeat OJR 8-7.

Having met in each of the previous eight PAC-10 title games, in which Spring-Ford has won four-straight, both teams have been known to bring out the best in one another.

For Spring-Ford (2-0), the matchup brought out the best in Jake Hvazda and Kevin Todd (one assist), who each finished with a pair of goals. Josh Gliva, Ray Orcutt, Daniel Cassidy and Austin Pecharo each netted a goal in the win.

Todd, a junior who netted four goals in the Rams’ 19-0 victory over Pottsgrove on Tuesday night, scored what proved to be the game-winner with 3:16 to go against the Wildcats.

“We knew this was going to be a battle, it always is against Owen J.,’ said Spring-Ford head coach Kevin Donnelly. “This was a good test for us. We knew they’d bring their best today, so I’m glad we could come out with the win.’

A key part in the win for the Rams was junior Chris Morgan, who finished with nine saves including the game-saver with under a minute to go on a shot from Sam Garges.

Garges (two assists) and Austin Delgatto each finished with three goals for OJR (1-1) while Ryan Michener scored one.

“Our man-up situations just didn’t click tonight, that was the difference in the game,’ said Owen J. Roberts head coach Jeff Neese. “We never took advantage of our man-ups and it ended up costing us. We just didn’t execute tonight the way we should.’

“We made too many small mistakes down near the goal, which we need to fix as the season goes on,’ said Garges. “It’s still early. We played well and hung around tonight. We’ll just have to play better next time.’

Garges kept the Wildcats in the contest in the first half, as he scored twice in the opening frame, and assisted Michener in the second quarter to carry a 3-3 tie into the half.

But Todd opened up the scoring in the second half as the Rams took a 4-3 lead and never gave it back.

“We did a nice job of preventing them from getting into their run game and keeping possession,’ said Donnelly. “We did a nice job in between the boxes. It seemed like anytime they scored, we had an answer and were able to counter it and slow them down. That proved huge.’

With Spring-Ford holding a 5-4 lead in the final quarter, both teams exchanged goals back and forth, including two goals from Delgatto at 8:55 and another at 4:19 to make it 7-6.

But with 3:16 to go, Cassidy found Todd, who skipped it past Austin Koury in net to make it 8-6.

Delgatto added his third goal with just over two minutes left to bring the Wildcats within one, but it was Morgan’s late-game save that gave the Rams the victory.

“All-around, we played really well,’ said Donnelly. “Our offense moved the ball well, made plays on defense and we made all the big stops we needed to. I’m really proud of the way we showed up.’

And for Owen J. Roberts, even though they ride home with a tough loss to swallow, it may be one that the team can learn from.

“We certainly created a ton of opportunities, especially toward the end of the game,’ said Brandon Calle. “There were a few too many bad passes and unforced turnovers down the stretch. Other than that, we did a lot of things well. We’ve got a strong team, and I think there’s a lot we can take away from this loss.’

NOTES — Calle made nine saves in goal for Owen J. Roberts. Spring-Ford will look to remain atop the PAC-10 as the Rams host Perkiomen Valley on Monday, while the Wildcats will look to bounce back as they travel to Pope John Paul II.

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