Elizabethtown played its most competitive period of the season against Annville-Cleona, but the 1-0 deficit they faced at the end of that period turned into an 11-1 loss on Friday, Dec. 1.
After a scoreless, free-flowing start to the game, a penalty on Elizabethtown generated the first power play of the game, which Annville-Cleona was able to capitalize on to take a 1-0 lead.
“That was the best first period that our team has played yet. Our goalie [Jacob Gregory] is usually a little slow warming up, but he stepped up and I think our kids played our best period of the season,” coach Don Doremus said.
Gregory faced, and saved, several shots, but he would have been tasked with saving several more if Elizabethtown was unable to win faceoffs. At the end of the first period, Elizabethtown won seven face-offs, which was one more than Annville-Cleona.
Elizabethtown closed out the first period, and began the second, with a power play of their own. Unlike the Dutchmen, the Bears were unable to score and the game began to escape them shortly after.
Annville-Cleona scored eight goals in the second period, four of which came within 3:35 of each other. Two of those four goals were scored within nine seconds of each other.
Face-offs proved to be an underlying reason as to why the deficit grew as quickly as it did. The Dutchmen won 16 faceoffs, but Elizabethtown won only three, which meant even more shots for Gregory to try and turn away.
“It definitely turned the game around. That’s probably a good reason why the score ended up where it was at the end of the second period,” Doremus said.
Heading into the third period down 9-0, Doremus chose to flip his lines in the hopes of making the game more competitive. Freshman Caden Nagel, typically a defender, was moved up to an offensive line and made the most of his opportunity.
“It’s funny because when the game is not going our way, I usually stir everything up and take my defensive guys and put them on offense. Caden is normally one of my defenders, but at that point of the game, it was time to switch everything up a little bit. We did and we got a goal out of it,” Doremus said.
Nagel gathered the puck at the blue line and then battled an Annville-Cleona defender for possession until the two were in front of the net. Nagel’s poke was enough to get the puck from the defender and passed the goalie for Elizabethtown’s first goal of the game.
“It seems to be working so we’ll probably continue to do that in the future,” Doremus said.
It was Nagel’s second goal of the season and he is one of two Bears to score this season. The other Bear to score, Max Wetzel, assisted on Nagel’s goal. Christopher Haldeman also assisted on the goal.
Annville-Cleona responded to Nagel’s goal with two of their own, which ended the game 11-1 with 11:57 remaining in the third period. While he and the team did give up 11 goals, Gregory made 34 saves on 45 shots (75 percent).
When it comes to turning around an 0-6 start to the season, Doremus said that he hopes the team will continue to practice hard and have some fun.
“We know the talent level that we have on our team and the kids just need to continue to have fun because, to me, that’s what it is all about; the love of the game. Yeah, it would be nice to win, but just have fun,” Doremus said.