Pates top Liberty; fall to Trojans in finals
It is a cliché that has been around for decades, but it was certainly on display at the Bethlehem Municipal Ice Rink on Feb. 28: When these two rivals meet, you can throw the record books out.
The Freedom Patriots ice hockey team was dominant over their Christmas City opponents this season. Freedom beat Liberty 11-0 in the season opener and the Patriots out-scored the combined Becahi-Central Catholic squad 32-4 in three games this year.
But for the first two periods of the Bethlehem Winter Classic, that Freedom dominance was missing. Liberty scored three goals in a seven-minute stretch to take a surprising lead over their cross-city rival.
Then it all came together for Freedom at the last possible second…literally.
Luke Day’s breakaway goal with one second remaining in the second period was the trigger that the Patriots needed. Freedom went on to score six-straight goals to cap their season with an 8-3 win.
“I think we got a little scared,” captain Blayne Tasillo said about his team’s second period struggles. “We needed to step on the gas a little bit.”
The Patriots finished second in the Lehigh Valley Scholastic Hockey League’s regular season behind undefeated Parkland.
Freedom defeated Northampton in the opening round of the playoffs before getting bounced by the Trojans. John Musella recorded four goals and three assists in the Patriots’ three playoff games.
Dominic Augello finished the LVSHL season second in both points and goals behind Parkland’s Timmy Doe.
The future appears to be bright for the Patriots. Day, Musella and Augello – Freedom’s top three scorers this season – are all underclassmen.
The Winter Classic was not an official game on either team’s LVSHL schedule.
Proceeds from the game went to The Race for Adam, named after Adam Recke who has a rare disease called Niemann-Pick Type C. More information about The Race for Adam can be found at raceforadam.org.
Liberty did beat the Patriots this season in a game from Feb. 12, 2-1. Jared Meyer scored in the second period and Tyler Moore scored in the third for a 2-0 lead before the Pates cut it to 2-1 on a goal by Blayne Tasillo. Hurricane goalie Ryan Miller stopped 27 of 28 shots for the win.