"I had two Under Armours on compared to one - two pairs of pants, two pairs of socks. I had toe warmers, I had a ski mask on and hand warmers in my gloves," said Brightbill.
As one of 10 local student-athletes to compete in the CPIHL Doubleheader at Hersheypark Stadium, Brightbill led Team Hockey Plus to a lopsided 8-3 victory over Team MWG Transport in the nightcap. He scored a first-period goal and added four helpers for honorary head coach and Hershey Bears alum Dave Fenyves's club. Palmyra's Alex Daley and Dutchmen Andrew Jocham also skated for the victors.
"It was awesome, the stadium was awesome. It was a little cold out there, but I was well prepared," he said. "I had an experience I'll never forget."
In the opening tilt, Cedar Crest's combination of Dylan Holst and Brandon Kreiser both left the ice victorious following Team Shenk Athletic's 12-5 clobbering of Team Environmental Recovery.
Holst, a junior goalie for the Falcons, picked up the victory with a perfect first period in the net. Kreiser, a senior forward, registered an assist in the blowout.
"I didn't expect it to be quite that one-sided. I thought it would be close and we'd have a little more heated competition," said Kreiser. "I thought a lot of guys went out, had a good time and had fun with it. There wasn't too much of a hot-headed competitiveness. It was more of a relax and enjoy the game type of atmosphere."
The CPIHL All-Star teams were compiled via draft last Sunday. Four former Hershey Bears - Fenyves, Frederic Cassivi (Shenk), Mark Freer (Hockey Plus) and Mitch Lamoureux (MWG Transport) - picked from a pool of 92 players featuring a dozen goalies and 80 skaters.
"I actually did my homework before draft night.
Both games of the doubleheaders turned into blowouts.
"It's just the way it turned out. Usually we have close games, but sometimes they get out of hand," explained Brightbill, who entered with 28 goals and 24 assists in 16 regular season games. "There's a lot of skilled players out there."
Alex Smith, a member of Susquehannock/Kennard Dale, stole the show in the opening act with a five-goal performance. Dylan Garrett and Devyn Tankesley also added two goals apiece for Cassivi's club.
"(Smith) is probably one of the best players in the whole CPIHL. He just really has the game," said Red Land coach Steve Hallman, who joined Cassivi on the bench. "Even when we moved him back to the defensive end after he scored a hat trick, he still had two more goals. He can really play both of ends of the ice."
Three Lebanon County skaters suited up for Environmental Recovery as Annville-Cleona's Tanner Fitting joined Cedar Crest's Alec Baum and Devon Calvert. Calvert registered an assist the setback. Other local participants included Annville-Cleona's Dalton Kapp and Palmyra's Nick Stoner, both who skated for Lamoureux's MWG Transport.
"Just being able to play with your friends, and even the guys we didn't know, and being able to make friends was great," said Kreiser, who missed most of the season with a concussion. "I think the whole experience was amazing, plus it was outside which multiplied the amazing effect that the game had to begin with."
Kreiser related the contest to his childhood growing up in Rexmont.
"My dad would take me outback where we had this little 8x8 ice rink he slapped together with 2x4's and a tarp," added Kreiser. "Together we would just go out there and spend hours on that ice. This ice was so similar to that, the way it felt, the craters everywhere. It was amazing."
Notes: The puck drop temperature was 16 degrees with a wind chill feel of 8 degrees. . .The first game was played with three 18-minute periods. The second contest was played with three 16 minute periods. . .Tanner Fitting's father, Tom, sang the National Anthem.