Losacco sets the tone as Springfield stops Ridley

ASTON >> In the first big clash of the high school season, one truth emerged from a battle between Central League unbeatens Springfield and Ridley: The Cougars are more than the Tyler Riddle show.

Andrew Astrino scored a hat trick and goaltender Calin Losacco made 37 saves as Springfield bested the Green Raiders 4-1 at Ice Works. The supporting cast played a key role as the reigning Daily Times Player of the Year was limited.

“Our line played well. Ridley knows Riddle. Their coach knows him. We knew he was going to be shut down,” said Astrino. “Me and Kevin Brown connected on a few plays and we were able to put the puck in the net.”

Stopping the puck was the Cougars first concern. The Raiders came out flying. They fired 15 shots on net with several of those chances coming in close to Losacco’s cage. Jake Cross had the two best looks in the frame. With 13:10 on the clock, he pulled in front of the Springfield goal on his forehand. Losacco kicked out a leg to deny him. Cross circled the net on a wraparound attempt. Losacco stopped him again.

Later in the period, the 6-3 goalie robbed Ridley’s top scorer Michael Giampapa with the glove. Giampapa coasted away in disbelief. The Cougars escaped the first unscathed.

“Calin definitely set the tone,” said Astrino.

Last year, Losacco backed up three-year starter Brian Biehl. Friday was the junior’s biggest challenge yet of the 2016 season.

“I just wanted to prove myself,” Losacco said. “I had to stay focused.”

He certainly did that with his stellar first period.

“I saw it as an opportunity to bail my team out,” he added.

Astrino repaid his goaltender 6:16 into the second. He won a draw back to Joe Rice, went to the front of the net and tapped in a slick return pass from Rice. A little more than three minutes later, Mark Rodgers made it 2-0.

“We were definitely a little shaky at the start,” said Astrino. “Once we got that first goal though, the momentum shifted.”

The Raiders, however, threatened to take it back. Michael Giampapa scored on the power play to put the hosts on the board. But it was the only time they solved Losacco all night. Astrino added an insurance marker at the 6:41 mark of the third and then deposited an empty-netter to complete his hat trick.

In the end, Ridley (11-1-1, 9-1 Central) did most everything it could to stretch its unbeaten streak. The Raiders outshot the Cougars, 38-25, and hit two posts. Defensively they held Riddle, who had scored at least three goals in each of his last eight games, to one assist. On the other hand, Ridley also took seven penalties and failed to capitalize on their numerous scoring chances.

“We were in the box,” said Raiders coach Stephane Charbonneau. “Sloppy, sloppy.”

Charbonneau admitted that perhaps his team worried more about stopping Riddle than beating Springfield.

“We focused too much on Riddle,” he said. “We stopped playing our game. Give credit to Springfield. They played a good game.”

The Cougars (11-1-0, 10-0) fit the role of underdog against Ridley for the first time in memory. It’s a position they’re not normally accustomed too. That doesn’t mean they didn’t embrace it.

“No one expected us to get to 10-0 (in Central play),” said Astrino. “Honestly, it gives us more momentum.”

In a nonleague game:

Radnor 9, Interboro 6 >> Brandon Curtis picked apart the Interboro defense to the tune of four goals and an assist and Radnor scored five times in the second period to pull away to a 9-6 win over the Bucs at IceWorks.

Jack Miles checked in with two goals and a pair of assists and Donald Sucher added two scores and a helper for the Raiders.

Interboro kept it competitive thanks to four goals from Stephen Schwartz.

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