When your team has lost 24 games in a row, it’s sometimes hard to find bright spots through the bleak moments. While the Elizabethtown Area High School ice hockey club lost its latest game, there was also much to be hopeful about by the end of the action.
The Bears ended up falling 8-3 to the Shamrocks of Trinity at Klick Lewis Arena near Palmyra on Friday, Nov. 16, but not without a fight. The first period was very tightly contested, with neither team finding the net after 16 minutes. Elizabethtown goalie R. Jacob Gregory and his Shamrocks counterpart Jaxson Hibbard combined to stop 17 shots on goal.
However, things began to fall apart for the Bears early in the second, where the Shamrocks notched six unanswered goals in a six-minute span. Four of them came in the first five minutes from Michael Soule, who scored off assists from a variety of teammates (Berklee Hibbard, Sean Cudahy, Aiden Brenzie, Neal Cudahy and Shane Orris). Trey Guyer and Julian Fertig each added a goal as well, the latter off a power play.
Elizabethtown battled back to make things closer, however. Late in the period, Max Wetzel put the Bears on the scoreboard to make it 6-1. Then, he and Matthew Merlo found Chris Haldeman on a power-play goal with just over 18 seconds on the clock to narrow the gap to 6-2.
Early in the third, Avery Merlo found the net off a pass from Colton Grove on a short-handed goal to make things even closer. However, the Shamrocks were able to give themselves a cushion afterward; Soule assisted to Neal Cudahy on a power play, followed by a second goal from Fertig.
Gregory stopped 24 of 32 shots on goal for the Bears, his second highest total of the season. He now has 88 on the year, tied for sixth in the CPIHL. Haldeman currently leads the team in goals with 2, while Wetzel has a team-high 3 points (1 goal, 2 assists). Jaxson Hibbard had 25 saves for the Shamrocks against Elizabethtown’s highest shot on goal total of the season at 28.
While the loss does drop the Bears to 0-5 on the season, the final score was their closest defeat of 2018 thus far. They’ll return to the ice after a two-week break to face Warwick in their fifth straight game at Klick Lewis Arena on Friday, Nov. 30, followed by a rematch against the Shamrocks at Twin Ponds West in Mechanicsburg on Monday, Dec. 3.