The Lightning High School Hockey League (LHSHL) had eight contests take place this past Friday night, and there were more than a handful of intriguing games. The LHSHL Game of the Week between East Lake and East Manatee made for one the league’s most memorable games on the year, River Ridge’s Anthony Lioacano played the role of hero for his Knights and Troy Burkhart led Plant to its fifth straight win.
Speaking of winning streaks, the Mitchell Mustangs extended their winning streak to six games after the team defeated the Newsome Wolves by a final score of 6-2 at the Clearwater Ice Arena (CIA). The Mustangs wasted no time in getting on the score sheet – early and often, too. Mitchell found the back of the net four times during the game’s opening frame, and two of those came from the blade of Tucker Tassone (2G-1A – 3pts). While Tyler Gay (1G-1A – 2pts), Alex Majerczak (1G-1A – 2pts) and Timothy “Raise The” Ruf (1G-2A – 3pts) all recorded goals on the night, Mitchell’s Jon Heller chipped in four helpers and helped guide the ship on Mitchell’s blue line all night.
Additionally, goaltender Jacob Serpe turned away 13 shots in two periods for the Mustangs, and the team’s other netminder, Jason Capelo, entered the game in the third period to record six saves on seven shots.
“We’re just working harder as a team together, bonding stronger on the bench and working hard on pressuring the other team down low.” – Mitchell’s Alex Majerczak #91
For the first time since September the Palm Harbor Hurricanes left the rink with a “W.” But, where would the ‘Canes be without their leading goal-scorer, Garrett “Toe Jam” Toenjes? Number four for Palm Harbor led the team to a 3-0 win, as Toenjes recorded a hat trick in the third period to add to all of the dramatics at the Tampa Bay Skating Academy (TBSA) on Friday night. Also, Palm Harbor’s Duncan Willis earned his first shutout on the season.
No, the Steinbrenner Warriors did not extend their winning streak to three-games; but Steinbrenner did collect another point as it tied with the George-Jenkins Eagles by a final score of 3-3. While the Eagles outshot the Warriors 35-29, Steinbrenner’s masked man, Gavin William, stayed strong between the pipes and was able to help the Warriors hold onto the tie.
As for the Green and Gold, Luke “Now Watch Me” Rouleau, posted a two-goal night (2G-0A – 2pts) vs. the Warriors. Rouleau’s first goal came during the first period and while the Eagles were on the penalty-kill. The senior’s second tally was a power-play goal during the early stages of the third period (10:41).
If you were in attendance for the Durant Cougars taking on the Plant Panthers at CIA on Friday night, then you witnessed an entertaining and well played matchup. Plant won the game by a final score of 1-0, as Jacob Grossman (1G-0 – 1pts) scored on a half-breakaway with just 8:41 remaining in regulation. Both teams moved the puck well up the ice and had a number of scoring chances, but it was the goaltenders that stole the show.
Plant goaltender, Troy Burkhart, shined as he turned away all 34 shots that he faced. The Panthers netminder also stopped 18 shots in the third period, as the Cougars outshot the Panthers 18-7 during the game’s final frame. Durant’s Dillon Garasz also turned heads by making a number of keys saves throughout the night, as Garasz recorded 21 saves on 22 shots.
“Our defensemen cleared my rebounds out very well tonight, especially in the last few minutes of the game. I let up a few rebounds, but thank God for the defensemen.” Plant’s Troy Burkhart #42
The Bloomingdale Ice Bulls took to the road and defeated West Manatee 9-4 down in Ellenton on Friday night. Andrew “Big Bull” Miranda led the way for the Bulls, as the senior posted a six-point night (4G-2A – 6pts). Additionally, Evan Hoffberg posted a four-point night (2G-2A – 4pts), and let’s not forget about the Young Bull, either…
Brennan “Young Bull” Cyhaniuk found the back of the net twice and chipped in a helper to earn himself a three-point outing and in a much needed win for Bloomingdale. The Bulls have now jumped to fourth place ahead of West Manatee in the Modin Division.
TBSA played the role of host for what ended up being two intriguing LHSHL matchups this past Friday night. The Freedom Patriots and River Ridge Knights skated faced-off for the second time this season, as the Pats defeated a (then) 4-0 Knights squad (5-2) back on September 29th. However, it was River Ridge that won this time around, and it dramatic fashion. Freedom became a victim of the old hockey saying “that a two-goal lead is the worst lead in hockey,” as the Red, White and Blue surrounded a 2-0 lead and lost to the Knight by a score of 3-2.
River Ridge scored in the later stages of the second period to get on the score sheet, and then found the back of the net with under five minutes left in regulation to tie the game at 2-2 (Anthony Loiacano assisted by Cody Atkinson). It was Loiacano who ended up stealing the game’s headline, as the senior scored with game-winning goal with just three seconds remaining in the game. Additionally, Daniel McCarthy earned the win between the pipes for River Ridge, and the Knights broke their two-game losing-streak.
Yes, the Wiregrass Ice Hawks were the first and only team to hand the Jesuit Tigers a loss this season, but Jesuit made sure it sought out revenge. The Tigers defeated Wiregrass by a final score of 12-1 on Friday night at the Brandon Ice Sports Forum (ISF). Jesuit scored six goals during the first period and with four different skaters finding the back of the net (Owen Forrest, Nolan Forrest, Deacan More & Trent Gephart). While Jesuit netminder Paul Coats turned away 21 shots, his team’s power-play was the key difference maker; as the Tigers went five-for-nine (55.5%) on the power-play. Jesuit has now won two-games in a row and has separated itself from second place George-Jenkins by six points.
EAST LAKE-EAST MANATEE
Game of the Week
What was anticipated to be one of the best games all season for the LHSHL did not disappoint; as the East Lake Eagles and East Manatee Admirals skated to what ended up being a one goal contest (5-4). The game’s first goal wasn’t scored until late in the first period (40 seconds left) and thanks to East Manatee’s, Jackson Bennett (2G-0A – 2pts).
While the two teams each scored twice during the second period, East Manatee still led 3-2 heading into the third period – and the Admirals’ Peter Morgan (3G-0A –3pts) left his mark on the game’s score sheet. Morgan ended up scoring the third period’s first two goals, which gave East Manatee a 5-2 lead.
Still, the Eagles would not go down without a last stand. East Lake forwards, Justin Garr (2G-0A – 2pts) and Nickolas Belanger (1G-0A – 1pts), both scored to make it a one goal game. Keep in mind, Belanger’s tally came with an empty net for East Lake and with just 30 seconds remaining in regulation.
Also, let’s not forget the notable play from East Lake’s Marcus Alfaro between the pipes. The senior was tested all night and recorded 35 saves against a power-house offense in East Manatee.
The LHSHL’s top two teams will face-off again on Friday, January 12th, and at TBSA for a 7:15pm puck-drop.
(The Lightning High School Hockey League can be followed on Twitter @TBLHSHL)
Tag(s): Home LHSHL Western Conference Lecavalier Division Palm Harbor Seminole Berkeley Bradley Division Plant Mitchell Steinbrenner East Lake River Ridge Eastern Conference Andreychuk Division Freedom Jesuit Wiregrass Manatee Newsome Modin Division Bloomingdale Jenkins Durant West Manatee