The Ithaca High boys hockey team won its home opener on Thursday, scoring a goal in each period to pull away for a 3-1 victory over Geneva/Waterloo before approximately 250 fans at Lynah Rink.
Chandler Pfaff, Scott Partington and Michael Abdulky scored the goals for the Little Red (3-0), which got 20 saves from junior goalie Brandon Kasel.
Derek Grillone scored the lone goal for the Panthers (1-3), while goalie Donavan Ingram made 20 saves.
Thursday’s game was the first of just four home games Ithaca will have this season; all will be at Lynah Rink. Its other three will all come in early January.
Pfaff put Ithaca on the board at 3:45 of the opening period, assisted by Sunghyun Won, who fed the puck from behind the net. It was Pfaff’s third goal of the season.
But just over three minutes later, Panthers scoring leader Grillone got the equalizer on a nice individual effort. His original shot was stopped by Kasel, but just as he was about to cross the goal line and behind the net, he swatted his own rebound past the Little Red junior goalie for his team-leading fifth goal and 11th point of the season.
The visitors enjoyed a slight edge in shots, 8-6.
Partington gave the home team back its one-goal lead in the first minute of the second period, putting home a loose rebound after Ingram failed to cover up a shot by senior assistant captain Wilson Gearhart. Jacob Grippin also got an assist on Partington’s third goal of the year.
Ithaca was forced to kill off a two-man disadvantage midway through the period when, after Charlie Estill was whistled for elbowing, Zarach was given a bench minor for arguing the call. But Ithaca kept the Panthers off the board during the 90 combined seconds of 4-on-3 and 5-on-3 skating.
Later in the period, during a scrum in front of Kasel, Ithaca’s Dom Cicchetti and G/W’s Jake Rotenberg were both given a pair of minors plus 10-minute misconducts.
Abdulky gave Ithaca some breathing room on the power play at 6:28 of the third, beating Ingram on a rebound putback with assists going to Estill and Won.
The Panthers, forced to play catch-up, hurt their own cause by taking five minor penalties in the final period. G/W was called for 13 minor penalties for the game to 12 for Ithaca. Both teams got five power-play chances, with IHS getting the lone man-up goal of the game.
Ithaca heads to the Syracuse area this weekend for the Baldwinsville Tournament.