Brandon Ritchey's favorite NHL player is Sidney Crosby. Macky Power's is Alex Ovechkin.
"I didn't know he was an Ovechkin fan," Ritchey said after overhearing Power spill the beans "I may not like him anymore."
Although their idols are archrivals, Power and Ritchey have been clicking together for the Hollidaysburg ice hockey team, and that combination accounted for 11 points on Monday night as the Golden Tigers came back from a three-goal deficit and scored the last three goals to emerge with an 8-5 victory over Altoona in PIHL Open Division action at Galactic Ice.
Mirror photo by Gary M. Baranec
Hollidaysburg’s Jon Bilek (right) scores the first goal of the night past Altoona goalie Catcher Cumming.
The Tigers celebrated senior night by snapping a two-game losing streak to move to 10-4-1 overall. Altoona slipped to 9-10.
"It's huge, because we haven't been playing well our last couple of games," said Power, who scored four goals - including the go-ahead tally on the power play with 12:08 left - to go along with three assists. "This will give us more confidence for the rest of the season."
Ritchey had a hat trick as well. He tied the game at 5 with 13:07 to go, beating Catcher Cumming from right in front of the net just 61 seconds after Adam Badorrek's fourth goal of the night gave Altoona the lead.
"We knew they were going to come out physical," Ritchey said. "We just had to come out and put the puck in the net and go home with the W."
Altoona seemed on the path to turning around a 12-3 loss to the Tigers earlier in the season, surging to a 4-1 advantage after giving up the opening goal. Badorrek, dangerous in the open ice, found the net three times in the first 22:04 and also assisted on a Shane Burgmeier goal.
"I've watched him develop. It's incredible how good he's gotten," said Tiger goaltender Charlie Lafferty, who turned aside 27 of 32 shots, including a big stop of Jake Russo midway through the third period moments after being down on the ice after taking a stick to the neck. "Sometimes it's not fun watching him come down on you one-on-one with your defenseman in front of you. You're like, 'OK, let's make the save. Defenseman ... stop him."
"That's the best game we've played all year," Altoona coach Garth Rhodes said. "We had to try to outwork them. They have amazing skill level."
In addition to Badorrek, Rhodes was getting a standout performance in net from Cumming before he wore down under the weight of 48 Tiger shots after playing a full junior varsity game immediately beforehand.
"That [to pepper Cumming with shots] was the strategy coming in, but we really didn't get off to a good job of doing that," Ritchey said. "When we got down 4-1, Macky and I looked at each other and said, 'OK, let's do this. We need to turn this around.'"
Tiger coach Brad Blair helped get that message across, calling time after Badorrek's third goal and chewing out his team.
"I just had to kind of light a fire under them," Blair said. "It's not a group I have to do that to. Our issue is we only have 11 skaters because of guys staying on the ice."
It was a physical game, featuring 40 penalty minutes. Power had his helmet knocked off by a check not long after beating Cumming with a backhand on a penalty shot.
"It made my adrenaline pump so much more and go so much harder," Power said. "We knew they were going to come out and play a lot harder than they did last time and play a lot more physical. We turned it around by playing more physical, like they came out. We hustled, and our chemistry just put it all together."
SCORE BY PERIODS
Altoona1 3 1-5
Hollidaysburg1 3 4-8
FIRST PERIOD: H-Bilek (Power, Ritchey), 6:36; A-Badorrek (Dalto, Keating), 16:35.
SECOND PERIOD: A-Badorrek (Yahner, Cumming), 1:57; A-Burgmeier (Badorrek), 3:12; A-Badorrek (unassisted), 5:04 (SH); H-Ritchey (Bilek, Power), 12:52; H-Power (penalty shot), 15:05; H-Power (Heaton, Lafferty), 15:56.
THIRD PERIOD: A-Badorrek (unassisted), 2:52; H-Ritchey (Power), 3:53; H-Power (Heaton), 4:52 (PP); H-Brustle (Mi. Gregory), 12:00.
Goalies: Altoona, Cumming 40-48; Hollidaysburg, Lafferty 27-32.
Officials: Mike Bowman, P.J. Pfahler.
Records: Altoona (9-10); Hollidaysburg (10-4-1).