Hatboro-Horsham’s defense makes stand to beat CB West

DOYLESTOWN — For Hatboro-Horsham goalie Kurt Dick, it all came down to instinct.

His team clinging to a one-goal lead, Dick knew who was getting the ball for Central Bucks West. So when Bucks senior Clark Hawes shot, the Hatters’ senior goalie was ready.

“It came down to instinct, it wasn’t a big deal, I’ve been through it,’ Dick said. “It’s magical that it happened on West’s senior night in one of the biggest games of the year to push us toward playoffs was really special for me.’

Dick’s clutch save with less than a minute to go preserved a hard fought 7-5 win for the Hatters at War Memorial Field. He made 12 saves and rallied his defense in a lockdown effort between two teams that went all out.

The game was a dog fight in the first half, with the two SOL Continental foes seemingly even. The Bucks had a sloppy first quarter in terms of penalties, but their defense was more than up to the task.

Anchored by St. John’s recruit Pat Kiel, the Bucks applied pressure anytime the Hatters forayed onto offense. CB West cut down on the penalties in the second frame, holding Hatboro-Horsham scoreless in the quarter.

“Our goalie played very well too, stopping a number of one-on-ones in front of the cage,’ CB West coach Matt Coverdale said. “We had to be better with our ball security. Hat’s off to Hatboro, they did a nice job and capitalized on a number of penalties that we had.’

The Bucks were on the wrong end of an 11-2 margin in penalties and while keeper Steve Hogan and his defenders played stout, that was a lot to ask. Still, Hogan made 11 stops, many of them in tough spots, to keep his team in the game.

“We battled through a lot of situations to keep ourselves in the game,’ Coverdale said. “It was a 3-3 tie at halftime so it was anybody’s game.’

Morgan Kratzke opened the scoring for CB West with a lefty overhand shot in the first quarter though the lead wouldn’t last long. Hatboro-Horsham’s Owen Winters leveled the game on a one-time from Tony Zollo with 8:46 left in the period.

Hatboro-Horsham took its first lead when Logan Eldridge staked his team to a 2-1 lead. Hawes, a co-captain, fed Will Ross for a goal to knot it with 6:51 left in the quarter.

Pierre Armstrong gave the Hatters a 3-2 lead with 5:56 remaining in the opening period before both defenses tightened up. Hawes and Ross combined again, this time flipping roles, as the co-captain tied it 3-3 up a man with 11:20 left in the second quarter.

From there, the scoring stalled with both teams stifling man-down possessions.

“It’s funny for how young they are and our goalkeeper Kurt talks about how he has to keep rallying them,’ Hatters coach John Kurek said. “I told him to stay calm and he told them what to do. It was a great team effort, it got a little scary there at the end but they pulled together.’

Armstrong came out and imposed himself early in the second half. The attack man scored a strong individual goal to break the tie 50 ticks into the third.

Positioned behind the net, he made a run to his right, curling around the net and placing a shot low against the near post. His effort slipped in by CB Hogan, who still managed to seal most of his net.

“They have a good defense, we just neeeded to get the ball moving from the midfield,’ Armstrong said. “Coach Durkin kept telling me to push to the cage more, I’ve been more aggressive of late and I think it’s been working out for us.’

Armstrong, who wore the No. 13 jersey of injured teammate Brian Hood, fed Connor McPoyle for a man-up goal to make it 5-3. Then the junior made a hustle play to set up his next goal.

Chasing down a missed shot, Armstrong set himself up for a nother run from behind the net, again going low and scoring, this time as he was hit. Even as he rolled, the attack man knew he had put one through.

“Absolutely, you’ve gotta look right there and know if it went in or not,’ Armstrong said. “There are times where you get hit and you don’t know but then you hear your teammates cheering and that’s exciting.’

CB West looked to pull a goal back on a quick restart halfway through the fourth quarter when Shane Early beat Dick on a break. But, the officials ruled Dick wasn’t given the five allowed seconds to return to his crease and the tally was waved off.

It didn’t deter the Bucks, who got goals from Kratzke and Brandon Gervais to make it 6-5 with 1:20 left. After Hogan made a huge save and the Bucks forced a turnover, they called a timeout to set up a look.

“We have some great character kids,’ Coverdal said. “They play with a ton of heart.’

The ball went up to Hawes and his teammates cleared out. The senior rifled in a good shot, but Dick caught the ball for a game-saving stop.

“There was no doubt he was taking it,’ Dick said. “He’s a great player, he’s a senior but I had to stop him there.’

Dick flipped the ball to defenseman Pat Haggerty, the only returning defensive player from last year. Haggerty ran down the field and found Bryan Remailey for a one-timer and goal with 40.1 that put the Hatters up 7-5.

“I just told (the defense) to play their game,’ Dick said. “I knew I was hot coming in and I knew if I had them in front of me, anything was possible. We only let up five goals tonight, I was proud of them and they stepped up.’

Still, that didn’t mean the leader of the defense wasn’t worried.

“I was very worried,’ Dick said. “But I didn’t want to tell anybody and I tried to stay positive but I was very, very nervous.

“I’m also very happy that we won.’

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply