Elizabethtown captain Max Wetzel recorded a hat trick, but Elizabethtown lost its season opener to Manheim Township 13-3 on Monday, Nov. 6, at Klick Lewis Arena.
Despite the loss, coach Don Doremus said that the team performed “better than expected” due in part to the team’s youth and inexperience at certain levels.
“We have three seniors that have never played hockey before and I put them together on the same line and sent them out there with never playing in a hockey game ever and they held their own. It was a very successful night even though we lost. It was very good for our first game,” Doremus said.
Manheim Township staked themselves to an early 2-0 before Wetzel gained possession of the puck and finished a breakaway to cut Elizabethtown’s deficit in half.
Manheim Township responded with five straight goals before Wetzel finished his second goal with 55 seconds remaining in the first period.
Trailing 7-2 to open the second period, Elizabethtown began to settle in and put forth a more competitive defensive effort, which was aided by the ability to control the puck more consistently. Elizabethtown was unable to cut away at the deficit, however, as Manheim Township added three more goals to give themselves a 10-2 lead.
“We kept pretty much the same lines throughout the game. We set up three offensive lines and we had five defensive players and we pretty much just rolled with those lines. No changes, just our seniors getting acclimated to playing ice hockey and our team getting used to playing with one another,” Doremus said on the approach in the second period.
Wetzel scored his third goal of the game off an assist from Matthew Merlo and Erik Webb. Merlo and Webb are two of the three assistant captains on the team. Zev Stark is the third assistant captain and fourth overall captain on the team.
“Max is very talented. He gives us goals, which we need. We have a lot of other really talented players on our team, some of them are younger, but Max is truly special,” Doremus said.
Elizabethtown goalie Jacob Gregory made 25 saves on the 38 shots that he faced. The 38th shot beat him over his left shoulder and Manheim Township finished off Elizabethtown 13-3.
The 2017 season is the third for Elizabethtown as they compete in the Central Pennsylvania Interscholastic Hockey League. There are three tiers in the CPIHL and Elizabethtown is in Tier Two, in the Viola Division.
Doremus coaches Elizabethtown with his son and assistant coach, William Doremus. Don Doremus said that he had coached his son for the last 12 years, but getting to coach alongside him is a special opportunity that he’s glad to have.
“That was priceless. From going from a player and me coaching for all these years to him actually becoming a coach and helping me do what I do was very special,” Doremus said.
Elizabethtown is scheduled to play 17 more games, all of which will be played on a Monday, Wednesday or Friday. Fourteen of the 18 games are scheduled to be played at Klick Lewis Arena and the remaining four are scheduled to be played at Lancaster Ice Rink. The next game was scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 8, against Annville Cleona at 8:30 p.m.
When asked what he would take away or build on from the season opener, Doremus simply said, “We plan to win on Wednesday.”