MOUNT VERNON – After scoring only one goal on 39 shots against Skaneateles in a three-goal loss last Saturday, Pelham head coach Ed Witz thought his team was being a bit too fine.
In two games this week, the Pelicans scored 18 goals, including eight against visiting Salmon River in a dominating 8-0 win at the Ice Hutch on Friday.
“It seems we got on track; we’ve been working on shooting and we got a tremendous amount of offensive talent,” Witz said. “Tonight, we got the puck to the net. We scored a couple of dirty goals, and that’s what you got to do at this level.”
Right off the opening faceoff, Pelham controlled possession, and prevented Salmon River from executing clean breakouts out of its own end.
By the end of the first period, Pelham held a 3-0 lead and a 16-2 advantage in shots.
“We’ve been forechecking a lot harder; getting to loose pucks and beating them in the battles,” Pelham junior defenseman Gibson Smith said. “We take every shot we can and crash the goal.”
Salmon River’s best chance in the game came with around six minutes left in the second period. Otto Thomas found himself alone in front of the net on a Salmon River power play, but Pelham goalie AJ Gugliara stayed with a deking Thomas to make the save.
Pelham improved its record to 10-4, with games against Rye and Mamaroneck coming up next week.
“Those are two big-time rivalries,” Pelham junior winger Nat Heintz said. “They are two top teams, and we want to beat the best.”
Player of the game: Gibson Smith, Pelham. One of the captains of the team, Smith helped lead a defensive effort that shut out Salmon River. He also scored two goals – one on a blast from the right point, the other one on an unassisted, end-to-end effort.
Turning point: The Pelicans came out at Salmon River hard, and were rewarded at the 9:39 mark of the first period, when Phil Dutko deflected Will Case’s point shot to open the scoring and officially set the tone.
Stat line: For Pelham, Heintz had a goal and two assists, Stefan Miklakos, Willie Scialis and Dutko all had one-goal, one-assist games, Drew Montanerella and Ben Hurd had a goal each, Case has two assists and Gugliara made 12 saves for the shutout.
Quotable: “Our first two games, we didn’t play too hot here, so we wanted to come out and dominate,” Heintz said. “We’re playing pretty well, we definitely have things to improve on. We got to keep scoring, but our defense has been solid, and AJ has been unreal this year.”