The Susquehannock and Central York/Dallastown ice hockey teams don't have much choice when it comes to being rivals.
As the only two remaining York County teams in the Central Pennsylvania Interscholastic Hockey League, it was essentially an arranged marriage.
However, on Wednesday night in a Tier 3 battle between the two York County teams, close proximity wasn't the only thing the two sides had in common.
They entered the night just one point apart in the standings.
The Warriors started the game holding the slim advantage over CY/Dallastown, but left York City Ice Arena three points ahead, courtesy of a 5-2 victory.
"Anytime we play York teams, it's a rivalry," Susquehannock head coach Mark Prego said. "There aren't that many teams, and with them coming down from Tier 1, it felt like it."
The Warriors (6-3-1) lost the first meeting between the two teams earlier in the year, so getting even was on their minds. It didn't take long for Susquehannock to put its stamp on the game, scoring twice in the opening period to jump out to a 2-0 lead. The two goals, scored by Nicolas Prego and Carson Kratzer, came just 2 minutes, 55 seconds apart.
That was just the beginning of an overall dominant effort by the Warriors, who held a 26-14 shot advantage after two periods. Susquehannock, however, only managed the two first-period goals on CY/Dallastown goalie Griffin Long in the first 32 minutes. Knowing that it was controlling the play, Susquehannock believed that getting one more insurance marker could all but end CY/Dallastown's chances.
"I thought their goalie played pretty well," Mark Prego said. "We scored a power-play goal in the third, there, which I think kind of broke their back a little bit because they weren't really mounting any kind of offense."
Timothy Schwensen scored that all-important third goal for the Warriors, which was then followed by a second goal by Prego and then Andrew Darragh's first of the night, all coming within a six-minute span to open up a 5-0 advantage.
Despite being outplayed for the entire night, CY/Dallastown kept pushing, ultimately scoring the final two goals. Carter McCormack scored just 10 seconds after the fifth Susquehannock goal to ruin Hayden Folfas' shutout bid, and then Alan Reider got his name on the score sheet with a late goal. CY/Dallastown pressed until the final horn, but it wasn't enough, and it saw its current losing streak extended to four games, dropping its overall mark to 5-4.
Prego had a four-point game, scoring two goals and adding two assists. Folfas finished with 18 saves on 20 shots for the Warriors, while Long made 35 saves on 40 shots for CY/Dallastown.
It was an all-around strong performance by Susquehannock, which had something to prove after dropping the first showdown between the two local teams.
"After the first game... I told our guys we were flying under the radar," Mark Prego said. "We like to make a statement, and I thought we came out and did well for the first couple periods."
Susquehannock moved into a tie with MSMCC for first in the Tier 3 standings with 13 points, but has played two more games than MSMCC.
— Reach Patrick Strohecker at email@example.com