vs. Cushing Academy
|Date:||January 9, 2019|
Salisbury Rolls Behind Hall’s 2 Goals; Cushing 9th Straight Victim
Salisbury hosted Cushing on Wednesday afternoon and topped the Penguins, 5-2, for their ninth straight win. Defenseman Bayard Hall posted two goals to pace the Knights.
Large and physical, Cushing played the body from the onset, and Salisbury responded in kind. The refs gave the players leeway but kept things under control with judiciously called penalties on both teams. Ironically, both Cushing goals occurred with the Knights on a power-play, and both were scored by Jacob Banks, who happens to be the younger brother of Salisbury alumnus Zach Banks ’18.
Cushing pushed the action early, keeping the puck in the Salisbury end past the opening minute, but once the Knights collected themselves, they were soon on the board. At 16:18, Matt Coronato put a cross-ice pass from the right side onto the stick of a charging Jake Quillan, who sent the puck along the ice into the open side of the net behind Penguin goalie Joe Sharib for a 1-0 lead. Clay Korpi also collected an assist on the play.
The Knights nearly upped the lead at the 12:11 mark off a scramble in front of the Cushing net, but the defense held. Thirty seconds later, Knight goalie Nick Haas made a clutch save on a play that mirrored Salisbury’s score. Haas moved quickly from left post to the right to shut down the streaking Penguin attacker who had just collected a pass from a teammate on the other side of the ice.
Hall beat Sharib at 9:17 on the tail-end of a two-on-two to give Salisbury a 2-0 advantage. Justin Hryckowian made the initial pass to Nick Capone, who set Hall up on the play. Both teams had quality opportunities as the first period wound down. Quillan tested Sharib with a hard shot at 7:10, but the Penguin goalie stood strong. Bobby Metz found an opening for a hard drive from the blue line at 6:12, but Sharib blocked it. A giveaway at the Salisbury blue-line during a four-on-four at 1:08 gave Cushing a golden opportunity, but Haas snuffed the threat, and the period ended soon after.
A power-play early in period two gave Cushing another opportunity, and the Penguins nearly took advantage. Haas had to make a series of reflexive saves around 16:44 to keep the puck out of the net. The pattern would continue on subsequent Cushing power-plays: the Penguins would keep the puck in the Salisbury end with effective movement and passing but would be unable to convert.
At 12:20, Brendan Kennedy had a scoring chance on the right side, but Sharib made a fine save. Twenty seconds later, Sharib could not do the same on a well-placed shot by Hall, trailing a three-on-two foray into the Cushing end and giving the Knights a 3-0 lead. Capone assisted on the play. Matthew DeBoer had a chance to make it 4-0 with 10:36 left in the second, but Sharib showed quickness and agility in darting to the other side of the cage to frustrate DeBoer. Less than a minute later, Sharib stopped a Coronato breakaway. On a subsequent Cushing powerplay, Haas blunted the Penguins’ best chance at 7:20.
As play moved under six minutes to go in the period, both teams had good chances, with Sharib deflecting a Hryckowian shot from ten feet out at 5:55. At 5:37, after several strong rushes by Cushing had been quelled without a shot on net, the Pens put together a flurry in front of the Salisbury net that demanded all of Haas’s and his defensemen’s derring-do to keep the puck out of the net. Finally, with the Knights on a power-play, Banks’s first of the day put Cushing on the board at 4:05, trimming the lead to 3-1. Moments later, Cushing incurred another penalty, giving the Knights a 5-on-3 opportunity for 1:04, but nothing came of it. But with just 17.8 seconds before the second intermission, Coronato got his stick on a loose puck during a scramble around the Cushing net and buried it to give Salisbury a 4-1 edge. Assists went to DeBoer and Michael Cameron.
The third period continued with the Penguins holding their own in most areas of the ice but struggling to create percentage shots in the attacking end. A power-play for Cushing at 16:57 resulted in several shots that Haas handled with his pads or stick. The Knights took a turn with a man-advantage at 14:17, and early in the 5-on-4, Banks secured another breakaway, converting at 14:03 to pull the Pens back within two goals, 4-2. Cushing developed another short-handed rush at 3:22 with Haas blocking the shot.
As play continued at even-strength, Coronato found an opening at 8:48 in the low slot but shot wide. Cushing upped its pressure with several strong sequences in Salisbury’s defensive zone, but Haas and his defenders withstood the threats. Then with just 1:13 left and the Knights on a power-play, Ilya Usau picked up a deflection on the weak side of the net and pounded it in for the final 5-2 margin, with Cole Vallese and Michael Fairfax earning assists. Cushing pulled Sharib for an extra skater and moved the puck effectively in the Salisbury end over the final minute but to no avail.
Haas finished with 23 saves while Sharib made 20.