MS hockey team off to good start
The Bethlehem middle school ice hockey team got off to a fast start in the 2019-2020 season.
The team won a back and forth battle with Salisbury. Five minutes into the first period Caden Dudeck scored an unassisted goal to give Bethlehem a 1-0 lead. Salisbury answered three minutes later to tie the score. Salisbury had three, first-period power plays, but Bethlehem’s defense limited Salisbury’s opportunities. With six minutes left in the second period Nick Moniz scored for Bethlehem to break the tie.
Salisbury managed to even the score again with only 34 seconds left in the second. In the third period, Bethlehem erupted for three goals on 14 shots. On an early power play, Dudek scored off a Salisbury turnover to give Bethlehem a one-goal lead for the third time in the game. One minute later, Salisbury responded to make the score 3-3. With eight minutes left, Dudek completed the hat trick with an assist from Landon McRae. This time Salisbury didn’t have an answer. Patrick Michael found the back of the net to seal the victory for Bethlehem with one minute left on the clock.
McRae, Zander Frey, Thomas Horvath, Mason Beck, and Jayce Hamm anchored the Bethlehem defense which held off several Salisbury rushes late in the game. Ryan Fleming starred in goal for Bethlehem. He finished the game with 19 saves including a dazzling kick save on a breakaway with the game tied at 3-3.
Bethlehem did not have much time to enjoy the victory, as it hosted Phillipsburg the next day at Bethlehem Municipal Ice Rink. Bethlehem dominated puck possession and earned a 7-1 win.
Nick Moniz had a hat trick and scored two goals in the first four minutes to give Bethlehem an early lead. Moniz’s first goal was assisted by Nolan Schleppy and Sam Neuffer. Phillipsburg scored late in the first to make it a 2-1 game after one period. In the first minute of the second period, Schleppy scored for Bethlehem with assists from Zander Frey and Neuffer. Seconds later, Moniz added his third to give Bethlehem a 4-1 lead.
Nick Howey continued the scoring in the third with a spectacular swirling goal that ricocheted in off the far post. Defenders Zander Frey and Landon McRae finished impressive full ice rushes to increase Bethlehem’s lead.
Schleppy, Moniz and Neuffer all added third period assists. Both teams played the game with limited benches. Bethlehem stayed committed to short shifts and maintaining position on both ends of the ice. Despite limited action, goalie Ryan Fleming was once again solid in the net.