Thanksgiving Eve was a festive occasion unto itself for the Central Bucks East ice hockey team.
The Patriots kicked off the holiday with a 4-2 win over Suburban High School Hockey League and district rival Central Bucks West at Revolution Ice Gardens.
It was a banner night for CB East’s Corey Kosick. The senior forward started the Patriots off with an unassisted goal less than four minutes into play. He scored again four minutes later with assists from Evan Asimakopoulos and Drew Trask.
Kosick completed his natural hat trick with his third goal just 19 seconds later. Asimakopoulos and Trask also assisted on that goal, which gave the Patriots a 3-0 lead at the end of the first period.
CB East looked to continue its domination in the second period when Asimakopoulos scored with an assist from Kosick just 39 seconds into play.
But the Bucks’ offense finally came alive late in the frame when Anthony Dowd picked up an unassisted goal and 20 seconds later assisted on a goal by teammate Adam Ricci.
“It was a good game,” Kosick said. “There was a lot of hype about it.
“We came out here ready to play and I think after we got three (goals) we kind of let up a bit, thinking it would be a blowout, but they came back with a couple of goals and we really had to step on the gas.
“They scored and it was a wake-up call. We knew we had to shorten the bench up a little bit and get the top guys out there so they didn’t come back.
“We had to work on our backchecking after last week at Pennridge (a 7-3 loss). A lot of our guys weren’t getting back, and I think that’s why we lost that game. We did a better job of that here.”
There were surprisingly few penalties assessed in the game, with CB West putting just one player in the penalty box the entire evening. CB East had five infringements with no repeat offenders, although Gavin Widmer was called for roughing in the first period, then returned to the box in the third period to serve out a two-minute penalty for too many men on the ice.
Every goal in the contest was scored when the teams were at even strength.
“It definitely wasn’t a good performance in the beginning of the game defensively for us,” said CB West senior captain John Cherubini, a defenseman. “We let four in and at that point we didn’t really come back as hard as we should have, as hard as we wanted to.
“We got two goals on one shift from Adam Ricci and Anthony Dowd. That’s a great line and that was great for us but I feel like it’s just hard for us when we don’t come out ready for the aggression right away and we have to spend the rest of the game hustling to just come back.
“Also, turnovers were a problem for us. Defensively we made a lot of really bad passes. We have a lot we need to work on.”
CB East won the earlier meeting this year, 7-3.
“They had their back-up goalie (Isaac Mays) in that game, and we knew their starter (Liam Rogers) was going to be back this game, so we knew it was going to be closer,” Kosick said. “He’s a good goalie.”
Rogers ended the day with 36 saves while his counterpart for CB East, Cole Breen, made 22. CB East held a 40-24 edge in shots on goal.
Both teams had large cheering sections.
“There was a lot of energy,” Kosick said. “It was fun to play on front of all these people because we don’t usually get that many.”