HATFIELD TWP. — The Souderton crowd was begging their hockey team to give them a reason to get loud on Friday night at Hatfield Ice. On several occasions they delivered. However Central Bucks East quieted the capacity quickly. The Patriots picked up an early goal and answered every Indians response en route to a 5-2 victory in the SHSHL.
A mere 48 seconds after the seniors of Souderton (10-4-2, 9-3-2) were recognized on Senior Night the Patriots Bily combination went to work. Andrew Bily's centering pass was finished by Shaun Bily and right away the amped attendance went mute. A second goal by the Patriots (16-2-0, 12-2-0 in conference) did nothing to help the Indians cause.
"It was just a terrible start,' Indians coach Matt Montagna said. "We did not hold the tie-breaker over them to begin with. But were going to be OK. We are going to recover and move forward. That is what we do.'
With 2:39 remaining in the first period, senior Danny Rock revived the bench and brought emotions back to the ice with his 26th goal of the season. The energy only lasted a few seconds as Austin Chase collected the Patriots' third goal of the opening period.
"I thought the difference in that game was their defensemen Joey Ridolfi and Austin Baty, who played very well back there,' Montagna said. "I thought they played very well. We did not get time to set up and they beat us to a lot of loose pucks.'
Play unfolded in a similar fashion in the second period. A Clay Anders answer brought the Indians within one score. It was the senior's second goal of the year, but less than a minute later Andrew Bily blasted another shot past freshman goalie Dawson Anders, who finished the night with 20 saves.
"We had good energy for our Senior Night,' Anders said. "We just could not keep it up for the whole game. I thought we were going to start the comeback (after my goal), but the next shift went out, let up a goal, and killed all the momentum we had.'
The Indians continued to push in the third period to no prevail against the Patriots. The defensemen denied any clear opportunities on net and goalie Evan Angotti made 22 saves in the crucial conference win.
"I think we could not get good shots,' Anders said. "The puck was not going in the net and we were not moving our feet for the first two periods.
Forget that it was the Indians' Senior Night, Big Red was right on the edge of Continental Conference contention and fighting for the best playoff seed possible. The all-important early goal by the Patriots set the tone in the conference showdown. The Indians know they cannot led an early goal deflate them down the road.
"The bench was not into it and in this sport that happens,' Montagna said. "There is no excuse for it, but I am not going to sit here and try and figure out why we had no jump.
Follow staff writer Andrew Marcus on Twitter @amarcus515.