HATFIELD TWP. >> It was a scoring deluge for the North Penn and Souderton ice hockey teams in the second period Thursday night.
The sides combined for nine goals in the middle session at Hatfield Ice, the Knights tallying the last three to pull level with the Indians 6-6.
But the third somehow became an offensive drought, neither squad finding the back of the next in the period to force the SHSHL National contest to head into overtime.
“I think everybody used so much energy in the second period felt like the third period just short of dropped off,” North Penn coach Kevin Vaitis said. “And then you get to overtime, 3-on-3 it’s just exciting.”
John Stinson completed the Knights’ comeback and his hat trick, striking with 3:39 remaining in OT to lift North Penn to a 7-6 victory over the Indians.
“I saw an opening so I took it,” Stinson said. “Got the puck, put a toe drag on the defenseman and then just tucked it back goal.”
Nolan Shingle added a pair of goals while Joe Silvotti recorded three assists for the Knights (3-3-0), who ended a two-game skid after finding themselves down 6-3 with 8:55 remaining in the second after back-to-back tallies from Souderton’s Nicholas Smith.
“I think it was just the whole team started to slow down,” said Stinson, who also collected an assist. “And then once we realized we had to pick it up we all picked it up and played hard.”
Matt Yothers scored 64 seconds later to cut the margin to two while Stinson’s shorthanded goal at 4:06 has the Knights within one. Cole Pluck proceeded to knot things at six at 2:39.
“Back and forth, wild, high scoring – a lot of excitement,” said Vaitis of the second period. “The thing I liked best about it was we got down in the second period but we never quit, we continue to work. And a couple of the last games that we lost, there’s been times where we’ve gotten down. I think it’s sort of taken the wind out of our sail.
“Tonight, I think we fought to the very end and I think it was a great work in the second for us to get back in it.”
After splitting a dozen goals over the first 34 minutes, the scoring came to a halt in the third before Stinson struck in overtime – driving from the left side to the front of the net to send in the winner with Silvotti getting the assist.
“Feels good to know all the kids on the team are working hard,” Stinson said. “Especially my linemates, Joey and Nolan, they can all work hard to come back and win the game.”
Smith finished with a game-high four goals for Souderton (1-5-0), which dropped its second straight. Matthew Malanga had two assists for the Indians, who have scored at least five goals in their last three games – besting Central Bucks West 6-1 Nov. 17 before being edged by Pennridge 6-5 Nov. 23.
“We knew that first minute of overtime, they were going to have their three best players out on the ice,” Vaitis said. “And we were kind of like, hey we got to just defend and try to wait a minute until they go off and then look to capitalize on the next shift. And that’s what we ended up doing.”
Both teams have games back at Hatfield Ice next week. North Penn faces Central Bucks South 9 p.m. Wednesday while Souderton takes on Pennridge 7:10 p.m. Thursday.
“We have four freshmen on the team and all four of the freshmen are contributing this year, right, which is great to see,” Vaitis said. “So I’d say we have a fairly young team but we do have some seniors that have been here for a while that are sort of leading the way so it’s good to see.”
It took more than 12 minutes into the first period before the Knights’ posted the opening tally as Shingle raced to reach the puck then drove in for a goal at 4:25.
Smith, however, responded by scoring the next two – his second coming at 3:00 – to give the Indians a 2-1 advantage at the end of the first period.
Stinson had North Penn back even, collecting the first of his three goals just 52 seconds into the middle period.
“All season long, one of our assistant captains, just continues to work hard every game,” said Vaitis of Stinson. “Never questioned his effort and he’s always there, looking to support the team, do whatever he can for us whether it’s scoring goals or hard work defensively, penalty killing tonight, whatever it is.”
Drew Savarese put Souderton 3-2 at 14:31 before Shingle struck for his second to tie the contest only 29 seconds later.
The Indians regained the lead on a Timothy Alexander tally at 12:24 with Smith notching his third just seven seconds after to make it 5-3 Big Red.
Smith put Souderton up 6-3 on the power play, going behind the net and putting the puck in with a lacrosse shot at 8:55.
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