Hockey: Pine Creek power play pushes Eagles past Palmer

By Scott Kaniewski Published: December 2, 2013 | 11:10 pm 0

Not a bad start for a power-play unit that hadn't spent much time together on the ice.

Pine Creek scored four power-play goals and cut short every attempt by Palmer to get back in the game, as the Eagles won on opening day 6-4 at Sertich Ice Center on Monday.

Zach Zimmerman and Dylan Stickle scored 1:04 apart on a 5-minute major to put the Eagles up 3-1 after two periods.

Zimmerman, who also opened the scoring for the Eagles on a 5-minute major advantage, also dished out two assists.

"Funny, because we haven't even worked on it (the power play) really at all, except for off ice," said Zimmerman, who's led the Eagles in scoring his first two seasons. "Our line just clicks and use that for our advantage."

Palmer refused to go away. Captain Sam Horning opened and closed the scoring for the Terrors (0-1). His first goal put Palmer up 1-0, while his last goal came short-handed and closed the gap to 5-4 with 45.1 seconds remaining.

"We kind of got behind," Horning said. "We need to put the whole game together and not get far behind and play consistent, so we don't have to claw back."

But as they'd done all game, the Eagles answered. Andrew Sandel scored 20 seconds later to put the game away for good. It was the third time in the game the Eagles answered a Palmer goal with one of their own within a 1-minute span.

With 8:04 left, Zach Donovan pounded in a power-play goal for the Terrors to cut the gap to 3-2. Riley Gregory responded 43 seconds later for the Eagles. With 2:21 remaining, DJ Stanec stole the puck and scored on a breakaway for the Terrors. But Dawson Wright's breakaway goal 54 seconds later put the Eagles ahead for good.

"It's all about positive mentality and not beating yourself up after a bad play," said Wright, who also had two assists.

Seeing his squad bounce back every time Palmer cut the gap had Pine Creek coach Ken Martel feeling encouraged.

"Really good resiliency from our kids," Martel said. "The other team gets a goal, makes it close. Our guys say, 'Hey, no problem, coach. We got this.'"

With as little 5-on-5 as the game saw - there were 25 penalty minutes in the 17-minute second period, and 50 penalty minutes total in the 51-minute game - Palmer coach Paul Bingham knew his team couldn't afford to give up so many power plays.

"Power-play goals are what win games," Bingham said. "When you're short-handed and the other team capitalizes, it's hard to come back from that."

Martel said his power play walked through practice off the ice one day and practiced with about half the team over the holiday. The penalty kill never practiced, yielding one goal on four kills.

"Worked pretty well," Martel said.

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