WHEELING - Michael Grove finished with two goals and an assist as the Wheeling Park hockey team beat Linsly, 5-1, at WesBanco Arena on Wednesday.
"Our guys were ready to go," Patriots coach Brian Syrylo said. "They came in focused and all set for a big game.
"It's a small town when it comes to hockey, and you never want to give one up to a local team, so they were really anxious to get one back from them after the first game."
Wheeling Park’s Michael Grove (15) readies for a puck drop against Linsly’s Luke Edgerton (14) during their game on Wednesday night.
The two teams first met on Dec. 5 where Linsly escaped with a 6-5 victory against Park, but according to Cadets coach Craig Tredenick, the Patriots changed up their game plan for the second meeting.
"Park did a great job of taking away what we took advantage of the first time we played them," he said. "I think we did a good job of trying to create some opportunities. If I went back through the stats, I'd probably see that we missed the net 10 or 12 times which, in a game against a very good defensive team, if you get an opportunity and you don't hit the net, you're not going to get too many more of them."
Grove started the scoring for the Patriots (11-2) with an unassisted goal at the 10:13 mark of the 1st period, but Jordan Patrick answered back with an unassisted goal of his own for the Cadets (7-4) as the two squads finished the period tied at 1.
An Ian McArdle goal off an assist from Nicco Catalano and Dalton Haas in the second period gave Park a 2-1 advantage heading into the third, but that's when the Patriots erased any hope for a Cadets comeback.
Catalano scored the first of three Park goals in the final period, while Grove and Derek Smith recorded the second and third, a mere 25 seconds apart from each other.
"A hard fought game for sure," Tredenick said. "(Park) just took the momentum in the middle of the third period, and we couldn't recover."
"But still, a hard fought game, very close, very physical up and down the ice. The boys definitely played hard and I'm proud of their effort. The good thing is we have 19 more games to go, so we have a long way."
As for the Patriots, the team has 10 more games left in a season that Syrylo sums up as "pretty good."
"We've lost two games," he said. "One game we lost, we lost to the team we're tied for first place with in the PIHL, and the other was to Linsly. Both two very good teams. But outside of that, we've picked up some pretty good wins along the way. We're confident to be in it at the end. We feel we have a good squad going forward and hope to be competitive all the way through."
Patriot goalie Noah Clune registered 16 saves on 17 shots in the victory, while his counterpart, Drennen Atherton, made 15 out of 20.