Even when Bryan McGillin scored a goal for Susquehannock to put the Warriors ahead by two scores late in the third period, his team wasn’t ready to breathe a sigh of relief just yet.
That didn’t come until time had expired and the Warriors had officially defeated Central York/Dallastown, 5-3, in their Central Pennsylvania Interscholastic Hockey League Tier 3 elimination-bracket semifinal.
With the win, the Warriors move on to face Penn Manor on Friday at a time and location to be determined.
The reason Susquehannock couldn’t rest easy with its two-goal margin late in the third period is because it saw a similar margin vanish quickly during the second period.
“They (CY/Dallastown) won the season series, but I’m happy to win this and lose the season series any day,” Susquehannock head coach Mark Prego said. “They (the Warriors) settled down and did what we’ve been doing all season. Just kept plugging away, a total team effort.”
In the second period, Cory Madison had just answered a CY/Dallastown power-play goal with one of his own with a man advantage to put Susquehannock up 3-1. But in the course of the period’s final 60 seconds, the Warriors saw their grip on the game disappear. CY/Dallastown’s Alan Reider created a turnover in the neutral zone before taking off with the puck. On his breakaway chance, Reider was tripped up from behind and awarded a penalty shot. He converted to cut the lead to 3-2.
With seven seconds left in the period, Harrison Batt was able to atone for his penalty that led to Madison’s goal. Batt collected a loose puck in the neutral zone and raced down the left side before beating Hayden Folfas to enter the second intermission with the game tied at 3-3.
“Three penalties we had to kill in a row, and we only gave up one goal at the end of the last one,” Prego said. “I was more concerned when we gave up the third goal to tie it up.”
CY/Dallastown rebounded well after a first period that saw it outworked by the Warriors. Susquehannock held a 2-0 lead after the first period and a held an 8-6 edge in shots on goal. But the second period was all Dallastown, tying the game and swinging the shots total to 32-16 in its favor.
The Warriors were also able to survive a wild series midway through second that could have easily spelled doom. Susquehannock was whistled for three penalties in a span of a minute and spent more than two minutes of that time down two skaters. The Warriors nearly escaped unscathed before a Brandon Heath goal made it 2-1 in the closing seconds of that third penalty.
Timothy Schwensen scored Susquehannock’s other third-period goal.
Nathan Smith finished with a pair of goals and an assist for Susquehannock. Nicolas Prego pitched in three assists, and Schwensen added a goal and an assist to the winning cause. Folfas made 35 saves in net for the Warriors.
Colin Young had two assists for CY/Dallastown. Goalie Griffin Long stopped 22 of the 27 shots he faced.
Reach Elijah Armold at email@example.com.