The Olentangy Liberty Patriots defeated the Upper Arlington Golden Bears 3-1 last night in the Skyline Chili Capital Hockey Conference Gameof the Week at the Ohiohealth Chiller Ice Haus.
The Patriots extended their win streak to four games, coming back from a 1-0 deficit after the opening period to score three straight in the second and third periods. It was their second consecutive comeback win: last week, they scored three third period goals to beat the Toledo St. Francis DeSales 5-3 after falling behind early in the game.
The Golden Bears did not relinquish victory easily, however. They came out swinging in the opening period, establishing a strong forecheck and testing Liberty’s freshman goalie, Cam Perry, early in the game. Their hard work paid off as Danny Logan scored the first goal of the game for the Golden Bears at 8:55 of the first period.
The second period saw a Patriots revival as John Tirrell beat Upper Arlington’s goalie, Richard Griffin, to tie the game a little more than halfway through the period. Chris Bergamesca scored the game-winning goal and gave the Patriots a 2-1 lead later in the second period when he wristed a shot over Griffin’s shoulder on a breakaway.
Ryan Gratz netted the third and final goal halfway through the final period to extend Liberty’s lead to 3-1 and give the Patriots an all-important two-goal cushion.
“We talked about it after the first period, obviously we were down, but our best players took over,” said Patriots Head Coach Jack Hoogeveen.
“Our best players stepped up, and that’s what we want.”
Penalties hampered the Golden Bears, who found themselves at a two-man disadvantage after Cam Walker received a misconduct call that gave the Patriots a five minute powerplay late in the third pereiod. Shortly after, Cole Kaparos of the Golden Bears got called for tripping.
For the Golden Bears, time simply ran out. After they killed off the 5 on 3 Patriots powerplay, a little more than a minute remained in the game, and they could not regain the ground they had lost in the second period.
“I think we played pretty well, overall,” Golden Bears Head Coach Jay Graham said. “Obviously, we need to stay out of the box.”
The tying goal in the second period by Tirrell set the tone for the Patriots, who had been struggling up that point to get one past a UA defense that was doing a great job of blocking shots, breaking up passes, and knocking guys off the puck. Tirrell’s goal created a spark on Olentangy Liberty’s roster and momentum began to shift in the Patriots favor from that point on.
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