The Hobart Statesmen (11-5-5) tallied three goals in the third period to overcome a two goal deficit and defeat the Lebanon Valley Flying Dutchmen (2-20-1) by a 5-4 score. Four of the Statesmen’s five goals were scored while on the power play.
“No matter who you are, when you take that many penalties it is going to catch up with you, particularly in the third period,” said Lebanon Valley coach Howard Hutton.
Hobart held a big territorial advantage the majority of the first period, but Lebanon Valley did a good job of clogging the passing lanes, keeping most of the Statesmen shots to the outside. Hobart got in to penalty trouble just after the sixteen minute mark of the period when the Statesmen were tagged with three penalties in a twenty four second span.
This gave Lebanon Valley 1:40 of five-on-three advantage and over four minutes of a power play, and the Flying Dutchmen poured on the pressure. But Hobart netminder Keith Longo held firm and maintained the scoreless tie as the first period wound down.
Two penalties to Lebanon Valley in the first thirty seconds of the second period gave Hobart a five-on-three of its own. The Statesmen converted to break the scoreless tie on a nice tic-tac-toe passing play. Mike Manos and Andrew Brennan assisted, and Jason Merritt finished the play 1:12 in to the second period for the for 1-0 Hobart lead.
“It was an exciting game, a hard fought one” said Hobart coach Mark Taylor.
Lebanon Valley answered quickly, not just once but twice, in rapid succession to take its first lead of the game. First, Eli Facchinei picked the puck off the stick of a Hobart defender in the Statesmen slot and put a quick wristshot past Longo for a goal at 4:25.
Next, Alex Beatrice took a long breakout pass at the Hobart blueline, skated around a defender and slid a backhand in to the net at 5:26 to give the Flying Dutchmen a 2-1 lead.
Play was quite balanced at even strength during the second period, but a steady succession of Lebanon Valley penalties helped Hobart to outshoot the Flying Dutchmen by a healthy 20-6 margin in the period.
Hobart tied the game at 2-2 early in the third period with another power play goal when Brennan wound a slapshot from the left point through a sea of bodies that whistled past Lebanon Valley goaltender Aaron Miller at 4:49.
Again, for the second time, Lebanon Valley answered with two more quick goals of its own. Beatrice scored his second of the game when a harmless flipshot from the left faceoff dot eluded Longo at 5:28. And Casey Mignone crashed the net and crammed the puck home at 6:21 to give Lebanon Valley a 4-2 lead.
Brennan cashed in again on the power play less than four minutes later for Hobart as the Statesmen tried to climb back in to the contest. Nineteen seconds later, Hobart tallied again to tie the game, when Shawn Houde scored the Statesmen’s only even strength goal of the game right off a draw deep in the Flying Dutchmen zone at 10:36.
The game remained tied 4-4 for just over four minutes, until Kirk Golden chipped in a rebound to score Hobart’s fourth power play goal of the game at 14:08 to give the Statesmen a 5-4 lead.
Lebanon Valley poured on the pressure for the remainder of the game, even pulling goaltender Aaron Miller with 1:22 remaining. But the Hobart defense held firm until the final buzzer to hard fought 5-4 victory.