LEISENRING — Connellsville stunned visiting Carrick with three quick goals midway through the first period to break open a close game on its way to an 8-0 victory in PIHL Division 2 action at The Ice Mine.
Ryan Brown, Jeffrey Golembiewski and Milan Deffibaugh scored 70 seconds apart to give the Falcons a 4-0 lead with just under nine minutes remaining in the first period.
“We set the tone. We jumped on them real quick. The kids put the pedal to the medal,” said Connellsville coach Ray Brown. “We took the gas out of them (with the three-goal barrage). We used our speed and passing to our advantage.
“They’re a good team. I wasn’t expecting that.”
Luke Wascak opened the scoring with a power play goal with 12:21 remaining in the first period. Golembiewski and Milan Deffibaugh assisted on the first goal.
Brown doubled the lead three minutes later, swooping down the right wing, cutting in front of Carrick goalie Joseph Forster and slipping a backhand past Forster. Wascak and Gregory Hensh assisted on the goal.
Golembiewski gave the Falcons a 3-0 lead 25 seconds later off an assist by Alexander Gesk. Deffibaugh capped the scoring run with a goal at 8:52 with the assists going to Golembiewski and Gesk.
Hensch extended the lead to 5-0 at 4:48 of the second period with a power play goal. Ryan Brown and Travis Sipple set up the goal. Ryan Brown scored his second goal of the game late in the second period, assisted by Hensh and McKitrick.
The Falcons invoked the mercy rule when Gesk powered his way down the left wing and beat Forster for a 7-0 lead. Wascak had the lone assist on the goal.
Hensh capped the scoring with about 7½ minutes remaining with his second goal of the game. Ryan Brown and McKitrick assisted on the final tally.
While his teammates were finding the back of the net with regularity, Connellsville goalie Sebastian Skarzenski was the hockey version of “the Maytag repairman,” hardly pressed in the first period and in spurts in the final two periods. Skarzenski turned aside 20 shots for his first shutout of the season.
The Falcons peppered Forster with 43 shots with the Carrick netminder making 35 saves.
Connellsville has now won three in a row, improving to 6-1-2. The Falcons have lost only once in regulation and are tied for second place with Ringgold at 14 points. Burrell is in first place with 18 points.
Connellsville has scored the second-most goals (50) and allowed the least (18).
The Falcons play three tough road games before the Christmas break, at Burrell (Dec. 3), Central Valley (Dec. 13), and Morgantown (Dec. 20).
“We’ve won three in a row, but there are things we need to improve over Christmas break. We need to stay focused. We have tough games coming,” said Ray Brown.
Carrick goes to 4-4-0 and eight points.