Weaver, Hill lead Warwick skaters past Palmyra, 7-1
By: JOHN CRAWFORD Record Express Correspondent, Staff Writer
On paper, it looked like Warwick should have handled Palmyra easily last Friday.
The Warriors were battling West York (11-0, 22 points) for first place in the CPIHL Tier-2 standings, Palmyra was in the basement with a an 0-10-1 record.
Through two periods, however, that was hardly the case, as the Cougars trailed just 2-1. But Warwick erupted for five goals in the third and pulled away for a 7-1 victory. Nathan Weaver scored two goals and Mitchell Hill had a goal with three assists.
With the win, the Warriors improved their record to 9-3, good for 18 points in second place in the CPIHL’s Tier-2 standings.
The game started slowly for both teams, but Weaver opened the scoring from a goal mouth scramble with 8:50 left in the first. From there, it appeared as though the Warriors may take control of the contest early when Marc Wiczkowski had a rebound chance with 5:00 minutes left in the period. The shot was turned aside but 12 seconds later, Palmyra took a penalty for too many men on the ice. However, the Warriors generated only two chances on the power play and Palmyra escaped the first down by just one goal.
Going into the second period, the game had the aura as a trap game. Palmyra, winless entering Friday’s action, broke through to tie the game 1-1 with 9:03 left in the second when Nicholas Stoner scored his third goal of the season. The unassisted goal came when Stoner hit the net right under the crossbar.
"The fact that (Palmyra) came into the night as a senior night, they’re going to come out and play," Warwick coach Gary Baylor said. "They have nothing to lose. We have everything to lose as far as making the playoffs … We weren’t finishing our plays and following up our shots."
As the score was only tied, all did not seem lost. But Hill’s goal, which proved to be the game-winner, put the Warriors back in control of the game with 7:35 left in the second.
"(The goal) came right off the faceoff," Hill said. "Steven Crawford won it and Marc Wiczkowski slipped the puck up to me. I had a lane and I took it. Coach said to take shots, so I shot it and it ended up going in."
While Hill placed the puck where he wanted, it appeared, at least initially, that goalie Sam Wasson might have made the save.
"It looked like the goalie stopped it at first, but then I realized it went in," Hill said.
Both Wasson and Steven Jostes stopped everything thrown at them for the rest of the period and Warwick took the 2-1 lead into the third period.
"After the second period, I told them the same thing I did after the first period," Baylor said. "We have to finish, score and play the game."
The message got through to the players the second time as they took command of the game with three quick goals in the third period. Wiczkowski opened the scoring with 2:03 gone when he converted Hill’s pass into the third goal.
"I saw traffic in front and put (the puck) on his stick and he did his work from there," Hill said of Wiczkowski’s goal.
Then Aaron Wright scored 56 seconds later when he converted with assists from Danny Gordon and Stephen Crawford for the 4-1 lead. Nathan Weaver padded the lead less than a minute later unassisted when he scored from the front of the net.
Now in command, the Warriors worked on shutting down the Cougars. With 9:11 left in the game, Jostes gloved a hard wrist shot from Alex Daley. Later in the period, Crawford lifted the stick of a Palmyra forward coming in on Jostes to allow Jostes a much easier save.
Casey Witmyer and Crawford each scored late to make the final score 7-1. More SKATERS, page B-6