North Penn stays unbeaten with win over Pennridge

HATFIELD TWP. >> Most teams know that if they’re going to have a chance to beat North Penn, they’re going to have to stop Alex Peterson from controlling the game. Unfortunately for the competition, that’s a task that is easier said than done.

Wednesday night, Pennridge found out just how hard it is to stop the Knights and Peterson as they fell 7-3 in a game where the Rams were the busier team but just could not manage to keep up.

Pennridge did get on the board first, just 16 seconds into the game when a bouncing puck off a North Penn defender found the back of the net, but the Rams struggled to hold the momentum and just three minutes later the Knights’ Spencer Silver scored the equalizer.

“We came out strong and it was just finding that shift afterwards to kind of reinforce that first good shift to get into it and we just couldn’t seem to put it all together,” Pennridge coach Matt Stabile said. “We had a strong game from Pat McGinley, Nate Runk, and Mike Walker. They’re a line and played excellent together but we just couldn’t get everyone going on the same page at the same time.”

Next, it was time for Peterson to get involved in the goal scoring action as he took a long pass from his goalie Jake Snyder and went the length of the ice to bury one in the back of the net for a 2-1 lead. And he did not stop there.

Peterson finished the night with seven points on three goals and four assists, having a hand in every goal scored for the Knights.

“He’s a very, very talented hockey player,” North Penn coach Kevin Vaitis said. “Last week combined between the two games we played he had I think 13 points maybe in the two games so he’s a very talented player, probably the best player in the league and we’ve been very fortunate to coach him the last four years.”

It is not just on the stat sheet that Peterson leads this Knights team. Vaitis has noticed that as a senior and the captain of this team, he has done a great job energizing the players around him in other ways.

“He’s kind of even stepped it up this year I think as the captain of this team, leading by example on the ice a little bit with some of the energy and the jump he has,” Vaitis said. “It’s interesting because I think games like this he kind of feeds on it even more and kind of elevates his game even more which is surprising to see that there is another level for him to go to.”

One of the mores surprising stats in this one was the differential in shots. When a team wins 7-3, you would expect them to heavily outshoot their opponent, but that was not the case.

The Rams outshot the Knights 40-21 and were by far the more active team, controlling the puck for most of the game.

However, the North Penn defense was especially sharp in its own zone, preventing Pennridge from getting more than a handful of solid chances, and it did not hurt to have Snyder standing on his head behind them.

“Jake Snyder, he’s outstanding,” Vaitis said. “Between him and Johnny (Roberts) they’ve been playing well for us all year long and I’ve been fortunate enough to have Jake for the last three years and he’s playing very well for us now and doing a lot of good things for us.

“I’ve told our team if we can play good solid D in our own zone, keep the shots to the outside and let Jake see the puck, we’re going to win a lot of hockey games by doing that because Jake’s a very talented goalie.”

After a dominant second period from North Penn that saw it go up 6-2, Pennridge showed some life, getting on the board early in the third off of a goal from Nate Runk .

The Rams then drew a penalty to go up a man and looked to gain some more momentum to bring their team back but as Stabile stated, they just could not seem to string together good shifts. After Pennridge failed to score on the power play, the Knights scored once more to finally seal the deal and ruin any plans for a comeback.

The Rams fell to 4-3-1 after this disappointing loss and watched as their rivals extended their unbeaten record to 7-0-1 as they look to go into the holiday break still perfect.

“We’ve got one more tomorrow,” Vaitis said. “Were starting to get it going here and we usually play our best hockey after the new year so this is good for us that we’re playing well now heading into the new year now. We’ve got one more game tomorrow that we can’t overlook and then we’ll come back after the new year ready to go.”

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