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The banners for the Central York ice hockey team still adorn the walls inside the York City Ice Arena.

They're reminders of recent years when the Panthers dominated the Central Pennsylvania Interscholastic Hockey League. Those banners inspire coach Rick Ostrowski’s club whenever it practices or plays at the arena.

What they won’t do, however, is provide any help to Ostrowski’s No. 1 issue: depth. With a roster of just 11 skaters, the Panthers typically find themselves short-handed on game night.

That was the case Monday evening when Central hosted Annville-Cleona in a CPIHL Tier 2 battle. The Panthers battled the Little Dutchmen to a 2-2 tie after two periods, rallied back with just under seven minutes to tie things up once more, only to fall 4-3 on a goal just 17 seconds after they deadlocked the score at 3-3.

“We have 11 total, but we have (two) that are out with concussions,” Ostrowski said. “We’re getting healthy and should be there in about a week or so.”

The extra depth probably could have served Central better on Monday. Without even two full lines to substitute, the home team didn’t have much more to give after the final horn sounded.

“They were tired,” Ostrowski said. “Very tired.”

While the Panthers are off to an 0-2-0 start, Ostrowski sounded optimistic about his team’s outlook. Despite fielding one of the shortest rosters in Tier 2, the coach feels that the talent of his club at full strength is second to none.

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“As long as we don’t suffer any more injuries we’ll be all right,” he said. “This team can do whatever it wants. From what I’ve seen so far, we can challenge for first place if they want.”

Ostrowski noted that all of his players are on various travel hockey teams throughout the season. He noted that his two injured players both received their concussions while playing with their travel teams.

Playing for the school team is about pride and fun, and Ostrowski has no problems with that.

“They take it seriously,” Ostrowski said. “But this is all about fun. Their real hockey is played on the weekends.”

Carter McCormack led Central Monday with two goals, both of which came on the power play. In fact, it was McCormack’s second tally with 6:53 left in regulation that pulled the Panthers even at 3-3.

Teammate Garrett Myers had the other Central goal, while Griffin Long finished with 24 saves in net for the Panthers.

OTHER CPIHL RESULTS

Susquehannock moves to 2-0: Susquehannock remained unbeaten in their 2016-17 CPIHL campaign with a 4-3 Tier 3 victory over Penn Manor on Monday night at Lancaster Ice Arena. Susquehannock scored the only goal in the third period to break a 3-3 tie. Susquehannock got goals form Alan Reider, Ethan Schwartz, Bryan McGillin and Elijah Emenheiser, while Timothy Schwensen added two assists. Goalie Hayden Folfas made 35 saves.

Reach Ryan Vandersloot at sports@yorkdispatch.com.

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