There were a few tense moments in the third-period on Wednesday night for Dallastown.
The Wildcats were taking on rival Central York in an early-season Central Penn Interscholastic Hockey League Tier 1 clash at York City Ice Arena.
The Panthers did their best to make things uncomfortable against their York County rivals over the final seconds, but Dallastown's Nick Werner soothed things over with a big goal.
Central cut into the Wildcats' 4-2 lead with a power-play goal with 2:39 left, but Werner's power-play tally with 47 seconds left iced a 5-3 victory for the Wildcats.
"I was worried," Dallastown coach Jed Winemiller said.
Winemiller's worry was certainly justified, especially after his team was tagged with back-to-back penalties that gave the Panthers a two-man advantage. The Wildcats managed to kill off the first penalty, but just as their man from the penalty box hit the ice, Central's Dylan Zavetsky beat goalie Wyatt Malone to cut the deficit in half.
"That was a lot of time on the penalty kill," Winemiller said. "They had already scored two power-play goals against us, so I was definitely worried."
Dallastown was still down a man after that goal, but got a little relief when a Central player was called for interference with 2:15 remaining. That call evened things up for a little under a minute, but gave the Wildcats a big break.
"That penalty really saved us," Dallastown captain Grant Duvall said. "I don't know how much longer we could have kept up with the penalty kill."
Werner's goal came on a breakaway after the Wildcats cleared the puck out of their zone. The Dallastown forward corralled the puck along the board and beat a Central defender on his way to the net before chipping the puck past Panther goalie Bryan Briggs.
"That was huge," said Duvall, who played despite suffering from a cold.
The victory was a huge morale boost for a Dallastown side that has seen their York rivals ascend to prominence atop the CPIHL Tier 1 standings the past few years.
"It was pretty big for us," said Duvall, who finished with two assists. "They've been pretty good the past few years and they're still pretty good this year. They have a lot of lines of forwards that can really skate and handle the puck."
Malone was solid in the net for Dallastown, recording 28 saves.
"He was really one of the main reasons that we won," Duvall said.
Dallastown rallied from a 1-0 deficit by getting three goals in a three-plus minute stretch late in the first-period. Ben Kelkis, Joe Didusch and Jacob Mitchell found the net over the spurt to give the Wildcats and their fans something to cheer about.
"That was the game right there," said Winemiller, a former Wildcat player and first-year head coach. "If we didn't get that there was no way we would have won."
Kelkis added a second goal in the second period, while both Didusch and Mitchell also recorded assists.
Central got power-play goals from Collin Potter and Adam Linker. The Panthers managed to score once in all three periods. Briggs finished the night with 16 saves.
Dallastown improved to 1-0-1 on the season, while Central fell to 1-1.
-- Reach Ryan Vander sloot at sports@yorkdis patch.com.