After scoring an unheard of 14 goals in each of its first two games, Upper Moreland, going up against a first-place Central Bucks East team, finally got a dose of reality.
Following 14-4 wins on the previous two Fridays, respectively, the Bears hosted the Patriots in Upper Moreland's first home game of the season. This time, things weren't so easy, as the Bears found themselves on the opposite end of the scoreboard for the first time this season.
The final result was a 6-4 CB East win in a non-conference Suburban High School Ice Hockey League game at Wintersports Ice Arena on Thursday night.
The Patriots (6-0-0), who hold a commanding lead in the Continental Conference after just a few weeks of play, scored first when Joe Ridolfi put home a rebound at the 9:17 mark of the first period. The goal was the only tally of the first period, but Ridolfi wasted no time in the second, scoring just 20 seconds in to put the Patriots up 2-0.
"One of the things is that we're missing two of our key players,' said Upper Moreland coach Michael Angelo, who was without Jordin Holmes and Sean Lloyd. "But the kids who were here tonight played with heart and they played with character. They really put forth a great effort and once we got down, we got back up.'
Upper Moreland (2-1-0) certainly had its chances, including a couple of quality ones on the power play early in the second period, but CB East goalie Evan Angotti made a number of big saves.
"They were missing two key guys and so were we, but I thought we came out a little sluggish and had our goalie keep us in it,' CB East coach Ken Latchum said. "In the middle of the first period and the second, we were able to get a lot of offensive pressure on them and that's when we got our goals.'
The Bears were finally able to get on the scoreboard when Colton Arizini scored his sixth goal of the year, but CB East had an answer less than 90 seconds later, as Austin Chase beat Upper Moreland goalie Patrick Beissel to put the Patriots back on top by two goals. Chase and Ridolfi assisted on a Liam Kolar goal a few minutes later to open the game up with a 4-1 CB East lead.
Ridolfi and Chase both added goals late in the second period to put the Patriots up 6-1 and put the game out of reach for Upper Moreland, which remains in second place in the American Conference following its first loss of the season.
Upper Moreland's Andy Iehle tallied two goals and Alex Caligiuri scored another in the third period to make the final score more respectable, but it was too little, too late for the Bears.
"In the third period, our guys kind of went to sleep and dozed off, but we had a good overall game and it was a good game between two good teams,' Latchum said.
Angelo was very pleased with the way his team finished, scoring the final three goals while making it a game in the final two minutes of the contest.
"When you're down 6-1 and the final is 6-4, it says a lot about the heart and character of your team,' he said. "This is one loss, so maybe it sharpens our intensity to come back and focus a little more on winning, so I think we'll be all right. We finished real strong and I just said to them that it wasn't one thing we did wrong tonight. What we did was we adjusted and changed up later in the game.'
Nick Park, who now has 10 points on the year after only three goals, recorded two assists for the Bears.
Upper Moreland is off until next Wednesday night, when the Bears will take on Abington in a Thanksgiving Eve affair.