The Bucs took their "Quest For The Ship" North to the Frozen Pond in Valencia, to do battle with the Ringgold Rams in a game that ended up being high scoring and hard hitting. Both teams had something to prove as the Rams tried to avenge their 4-2 loss against the Bucs earlier this season and the Bucs tried to remain unbeaten halfway through the season.
The Rams started the shootout, scoring at the 13:50 mark of the first period and before the Bucs even had to realize they were down a goal, Ringgold found the back of the net at 12:23 again, to take an early two goal lead. The barrage didn't end their, as the Rams added a short handed goal and a fourth at 6:00.
Determined to stop the hemorrhaging, Coach Max Rickard called a timeout, after a normally stingy defense, allowed 4 goals on just 6 shots. Its not clear what was said during timeout, but it worked. Drew Burkett stopped the rest of the shots that came his way in the first period and at the 1:19 mark, Dylan Zelonka scored his 15th goal of the season from Gio Palombo cutting the Rams lead to 3 and giving the Bucs the jump they had lacked early in the period.
Both teams felt each out early in the second period and midway through the second period, the tide turned as the Bucs capitalized on a 5 on 3 power play with Tyler Stewarts 26th goal of the season on an assist from Bryce Schueler and Jonas Sopko at 6:03. Not be outdone, Stephen Yezovich scored another power goal from Nate Smith at 3:53, closing the gap to just one goal. Then, at the 2:41 mark, Gio Palombo scored the eventual tying goal from Zelonka and Anthony George.
Then, as if commanded by a higher being, Tyler Stewart danced through the Rams defense and scored a highlight reel goal at the 1:07 mark to give the Bucs a 5 - 4 lead. The goal, Tylers second of the game, was assisted by Gio Palombo and Cole Vazzana.
The third period began, much like the second ended, with a Logan Schoepf goal at 13:21 from Zelonka and Palombo. Giving the Bucs six goals in a row and giving them a 2 goal lead in a game they earlier trailed by 4. But the Rams were not about to give up as they cut the Bucs lead in half at the 8:23 mark with a power play goal. However, only 37 seconds later Palombo added a power play goal of his own. The goal was Gio's 10th of the season. The Rams were able to add one last goal of their own at 4:47, again closing the gap to one goal, only to have the curfew clock strike at 11:13, bringing the end to an incredible night of PIHL D2 hockey.
The Bucs record improved to 12-0 and giving them 24 points in the division, 5 points better than second place Neshannock. Palombo finished the game with 5 points (2 goals, 3 assists) and Zelonka finished with 3 (1 goal, 2 assists).
The Bucs next D2 action is a road game against Central Valley, who they beat 7-1 early in November, at Brady's Run on January 3, 2019.
This Sunday, December 23, put your Festivus celebration on hold, as the Bucs and Plum Mustangs will be playing an exhibition game to benefit the "Jewish Victims Of Terror Fund" at the Pittsburgh Ice Arena at 7:10PM. The day will begin with a Plum Alumni game at 5PM and the Plum / Burrell game follows at 7:10PM. The evening will also feature a Chinese auction. Be There !!!!