BROCKWAY — Coming off a near week-long layoff, the Brockway boys soccer team a while to get going Wednesday night against Punxsutawney, but once they did, the Rovers rolled to a 6-1 victory in a physcial contest at Frank Varischetti Field to remain undefeated on the season.
Punxsy capitalized on the Rovers slow start, with senior Kyle Neal sneaking a shot past freshman keeper Garet Park just 4:16 into the game. The blemish proved to be the lone for Park, who finished with eight saves in the victory.
The Chucks maintained that 1-0 for more than 20 minutes, but a goal by Rover senior Hunter Allenbaugh with 14:28 not only evened the score by seemed to breath some life back into the Rover.
Brockway (12-0) proceeded to score three more times in a 28-minute period on either side of halftime to take a commanding 4-1 lead with 26:20 to play. The Rovers tacked on two more goals in the final 19 minutes to win going away.
Allenbaugh netted four goals to lead the Rovers attack, with Zane Puhala and Eli Fremer also finding the back of the net.
“It was a good physical game, and I thought our kids responded well to it,’ said Rovers coach Rich Esposito. “The first couple times they complained a little bit, but you have to play the way the refs are calling the game, and we did that after that.
“We haven’t played in a while (last Thursday), so the slow start, we kind of expected that tonight. You don’t like to see it, but it happens. There’s just been no consistency losing practices and games to the weather.
“But, they had a real good second half tonight and kept moving the ball around. We told them keep passing it and playing it though to Zane or Hunter, and we used our wings a lot tonight, which is something we’re working on.
“That opened up the middle a little bit, and then they just finished (goals). We had a lot of good looks in the second half, and we just came out as a different team.”
After Neal gave the Chucks the early lead, Punxsy continued to control the action though the midway point of the first half. Park did his part to keep the score where it was, as the freshman made three saves in the first 15 minutes. One came on a header attempt by Neal off a corner kick, while the other two were on long shots.
Punxsy’s Caleb Bodenhorn also had a shot sail high over the net from the left side in the 16th minute.
Brockway recorded its first shot just before the 18-minute mark when Linkin Nichols tried to redirect home a cross only to be denied by Punxsy keeper Jacob Ebel.
The Chucks keeper turned away a shot by Tino Inzana less than a minute later, then hauled in a direct kick shot by Allenbaugh in the 23rd minute. Rover Noah Bash had a shot from the top of the box go high with just over 15 minutes left in the half.
Brockway struck for the first time shortly thereafter.
Allenbaugh tracked down a loose ball on the left side and fought off a Punxsy defender at the top of the box before making a a run on goal. He quickly blasted a shot that found the back of the net with 14:28 remaining in the half.
Allenbaugh made it 2-1 just before the 30-minute mark when he converted a penalty kick. Freshman Marcus Bennett earned the PK when he was pushed down from behind on the right side of the Chucks box.
Park was forced to make two more saves before the half, while Ebel denied a shot by Rover freshman Jared Marchiori to keep it 2-1 at the break.
Punxsy recorded the first shot of the second half, with Park stopping the effort by Ethan Presloid. It was all Rovers from there as they outshot Punxsy 10-2 over the final 35 minutes of the game. Brockway finished with a 17-10 edge in shots in the game.
Puhala had a shot sail just over the Chucks net in the 6th minute of the half, while Evan Humble — who replaced Ebel in net for the second half — stopped a direct kick by Allenbaugh less than a minute later.
Allenbaugh didn’t miss on his next opportunity, as he fired a shot from the right wing that beat Humble to make to 3-1 and complete his hat-trick on the night.
Puhala nearly made it 4-1 just over three minutes later but had a long shot stopped by Humble. Punxsy countered with a shot by Andrew Wehrle that Park denied.
Brockway rushed up the field after that save, and Puhala was on target with a shot to put the Rovers up 4-1 with 26:20 to play.
Allenbaugh netted his fourth goal of the game in the 62nd minute on another direct kick following yet another foul on the Chucks.
Marchiori had another prime scoring chance in the final 10 minutes, but his shot off a cross by Bennett was stopped by Humble.
The Rovers did put one final goal in with 1:26 to play when sophomore eli Fremer scored off a pass from Allenbaugh to set the final at 6-1.
Brockway is back in action today at Port Allegany. The teams have battled in the last two District 9 Class A title games, with each school winning a title.
However, a third straight matchup won’t be possible this season as the Gators have moved up to Class AA for the postseason.