Red Land holds off the Warriors, 5-1 Crawford, Witmyer named All-Stars
By: BRUCE MORGAN Record Express Sports Editor, Staff Writer
Red Land’s Brett Gummo has been a one-man wrecking crew in the Central Pennsylvania Interscholastic Hockey League’s Tier-2 Division this winter.
With an eye-popping 27 goals and 23 assists in 50 games this year, the star forward is atop the Tier-2 scoring chart.
"(Gummo) is in a league of his own right now at the high school level," Warwick head coach Adam Wood remarked.
Red Land’s high-scoring forward added to his statistics on Monday, Jan. 7 in a league game against Warwick at the Lancaster Ice Rink, picking up one goal and four assists to lead the Patriots in a 5-1 victory.
That marked the second time this season that the two teams have played, with Red Land also earning a 6-4 win on Nov. 5. In that game, Gummo lit the lamp with two goals and added one assist.
"He is one of the top goal-scorers and he single-handedly beat us pretty much both games," Wood said. "He’s putting a hurtin’ on us and other teams too."
The Warriors, though, are better than their 1-12 record might suggest. They twice hit the post behind Red Land goalie Devon Foutz and were nearly even in shots on goal. The Patriots (9-3) had a power play late in the game and ended up with a 34-26 edge in that category.
"I was happy with the way our guys played," Wood said. "We hit two posts in that game, so it could have easily went the other way. And the shots were actually relatively close … The league is pretty balanced. I mean, we can compete with anybody even though our record doesn’t show it right now. We’ve definitely improved and hopefully we can run off some wins going into the end of the season here."
In that game against Red Land, it didn’t help that Warwick was playing without a solid blue-liner in Drew White, who was sidelined with a broken hand.
"That really hurt (not having Drew)," Wood said. "Otherwise, I would’ve had him marking (Gummo). He’s one of our top defensemen."
Special teams were costly for the Warriors in the first period, as Joshua Lafferty and Gummo both scored short-handed in the stanza to stretch the Patriots’ lead to 3-0 at the end of the stanza.
It remained that way through a scoreless second period, as Warwick goalie Mark Howland finished the game stopping 29 of the 34 shots that he faced. Then with 4:01 elapsed in the third, the Warriors’ Dylan Bleacher scored his second goal of the season, on an assist from senior Casey Witmyer, to cut the Patriots’ lead to 3-1.
"We played with them," Wood said. "It was an even game."
Red Land, though, added two insurance goals in the final 9:15, courtesy of Lafferty and Austin Metz, to seal the deal. Gummo earned assists on both goals.
"You take (Gummo) away, it’s an even game or we win, I think, truthfully," Wood said. "He’s definitely a strong player. "
Following an 11-day break, the Warriors return to the ice this Friday, Jan. 18 at the Lancaster Ice Rink when they host West York (2-11 Tier-2).
"We’ve been improving," Wood said. "There’s been a learning curve for us this year. Obviously, we lost a lot of seniors that were helpful for us last year and we have two, basically, very young goalies. So there’s been a learning curve for us and our goal production’s been down a little bit this year."
Witmyer’s assist against the Patriots increased his scoring total to 13 points (9 goals, 4 assists) this winter, just one behind senior Stephen Crawford (8 goals, 6 assists, 14 points) for the overall team-scoring lead.
Both Crawford and Witmyer have been selected as CPIHL All-Stars and will participate in the league All-Star games next Wednesday, Jan. 23 on the outdoor rink in Hersheypark Stadium. Four teams will be selected from a pool of 80 players and 12 goalies as selected by coaches and the CPIHL All-Star committee. Games will be played at 6:45 and 8:45 p.m.
"They both do almost everything well," Wood said of Crawford and Witmyer. "Casey is probably our most solid all-around player. He’s coachable, he’s a goal-scorer, he’s quietly a leader. He does all the good things and he’s improved through the years I’ve coached him. Crawford has got a great heavy shot. He’s competitive, he battles and he’s the captain of our team this year. He’s a very quiet leader … he just goes out and performs. Both of them are a pleasure to coach. As you can imagine, they’ll be sorely missed next year."
On Friday, Jan. 4, Warwick suffered an 8-2 loss to Manheim Township in their first game since returning from the holiday break.
The Warriors took a 2-1 lead in the first period on goals by Witmyer and Luke Mariano just over five minutes apart. Witmyer lit the lamp with an unassisted tally, while Kyle Joseph assisted Mariano on the power play with 5:33 left in the period.
But Township got the equalizer to tie it 2-2 after one and then outscored the Warriors 6-0 the rest of the way to earn the win.
The Streaks outshot Warwick 38-23 in the game and Howland saved 30 of 38 shots between the pipes in the losing cause. More ICEMEN, page B-3