GRATERFORD — As Owen J. Roberts came into town, a team that Perkiomen Valley hadn't beat in seven years, Vikings second-year head coach Bryan Churchey stressed to his team about maintaining confidence.
Not just confidence in themselves, he explained, but confidence in their team as a unit.
Spearheaded by Sean Tornetta's four goals and Connor Dee's hat trick, the Vikings showed clear signs of confidence as they earned a 14-5 Pioneer Athletic Conference victory over the Wildcats Wednesday afternoon.
"From the beginning, we knew this would be a game of matchups,' said Churchey. "I told them the only way to win these sorts of matchups is to be confident and gain an edge over the opponent.'
Owen J. Roberts struck first as Jack Colt found the back of the net off an assist from Sam Garges at 6:47. Tornetta responded two minutes later with an unassisted goal to tie the game at 1-1. OJR's Eric Antich then shook two defenders and fired a shot past Kevin Mo, but an unassisted goal from Perk Valley's Shawn Dickey knotted the score at 2-2 heading into the second quarter.
Just 23 seconds into the second frame, the Vikings took the lead for good as Dee took a pass from Dickey and snuck it past Owen J. Roberts goalie Christian Wood to make it 3-2. From that point on, the Vikings (8-3) never looked back.
PV outscored Owen J. Roberts (7-3) 4-1 in the second quarter, getting goals from Dickey and Kris Boyd as well as an ankle-breaking score from Jake Willis with 37 seconds to go in the half. Garges scored the lone goal for the Wildcats in the period off an assist from Zach DeCarlo as the scoreboard read 6-3 at halftime.
"That second quarter was huge for us as a team. We came out, and knew we had nothing to lose.' said Dee. "All day long our defense carried us and gave us chances to score. We knew we had to take advantage of those chances.'
In the third quarter, Nick Tordone seemed determined to bring the Wildcats back as he won the faceoff and charged to the net, firing in a goal just eight seconds in. Two minutes later, Garges found Austin DelGatto who skipped it past Mo to bring the Wildcats within 6-5.
However, after that goal, Mo stood tall for the Vikings. Having allowed two goals in the first three minutes of the second quarter, Mo didn't surrender another throughout the contest in totalling nine saves.
"I was seeing the ball really well and the defense did a great job of keeping them out of the alleys,' said Mo. "We knew this was our game to win.'
At the 3:21 mark, Wood had a miscommunication in goal with his own defender, allowing Perkiomen Valley's Sean Tornetta to scoop up the ball and fire it in to make it 7-5. Just a minute later, Nick Marren found Ben Minardi who fired a laser into the goal to extend the Vikings' lead.
"We made too many mental errors today,' said Owen J. Roberts head coach Jeff Neese. "This was a rude awakening for us, but I'm confident that we can recover. We're going to need to work hard.'
As the third quarter winded down, the Vikings offense continued to create pressure and attack.
With 55 seconds left, Zac Lynn found Shawn Coulter for a goal to make it 9-5. Still, the Vikings weren't satisfied.
With just nine seconds left, Dee found Minardi for his second goal in the game to give the Vikings a comfortable five-score lead entering the fourth quarter.
"Hats off to our defense, they really went to work out there today and forced a ton of turnovers,' said Tornetta. "Coach (Churchey) brought us together today, and we really felt good coming into this game.'
"The biggest thing I've been emphasizing to the guys is playing four quarters and finishing out games,' Churchey said. "Our approach today was to take it one quarter at a time, and that's just what we did. As a team, we really showed what we are capable of doing every game.'
Follow Mercury Staff Intern Thomas Nash on Twitter @Thomas_Nash10.