Villanova tops Amherst 5-3; pushes losing streak to three games

 

By Joel Charron

Players and coaches agree, there is something wrong with the General Amherst Boys hockey team…but they just can’t put their finger on it.

“On paper we have a hell of a team,” said Amherst defenseman Blaine Bechard. “I know I’m working my butt off and most of the guys in the locker room are too but it seems like we aren’t gelling. I really don’t know what it is or I would be telling them so we can get it fixed.”

The Bulldogs playoff hope took another hit after a 5-3 defeat at the hands of the Villanova Wildcats. The loss drops Amherst to 4-6-1 and sets them on a collision course for a one game playoff against Essex. The winner of that game will most likely play first place Brennan in the first round.

“I don’t know which team will show up,” said head coach Pat Garrett. “Will it be Jekyll or Hyde that will show up, I don’t know.”

 

Spencer Petrozzi (black jersey) winds up and fires the puck during third period action against the Willanova Wildcats last Thrusday.

Villanova wasted no time getting down to business, Cole Martyniuk gave the Wildcats the early lead just 49 seconds into the game and Greg Fera added another goal to give Villanova a 2-0 with two minute left in the first. Amherst’s Mike Popel put the Bulldogs on the board, finding the back of the net with 51.1 seconds left to  play in the period.

Dean Shepley tied the score in the open minutes of the second frame, only to have Andrew Wellwood  put Villanova back in front less than a minute later.

The Bulldogs got into penalty trouble late in the second period and Villanova took advantage. James Brooks scored a pair of five-on-three powerplay goals just 55 seconds apart to give Villanova a 5-3 lead after two periods.

Spencer Petrozzi knocked in the biscuit on a five-on-three late in the third period for the 5-3 final.

“I thought we played pretty good. Mitch played well. I was pleased with that,” said Garrett. “I’m not happy with the outcome of the game, obviously.

Petrozzi mentioned that the Bulldogs kept the game close and fought their way back from a two-goal deficit but admits penalty trouble in the second led to the demise.

“Our penalty killing just couldn’t shut them down,” said Petrozzi.

Petrozzi noted that Amherst has the skill and ability to put the puck in the net.

“We have to minimize our mistakes and come out with a lot more intensity,” he said.

Bechard added that the team can’t dwell on the games too long as they are set to take on Brennan this week.

“Everyone will have to be on their horses,” said Bechard.

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