Hollidaysburg's Sam Lafferty entered Thursday's game as the fifth leading scorer in the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Hockey League Open Class. A strong performance against Altoona moved the sophomore center even closer to the top spot.
Lafferty scored four goals and assisted on another in the Golden Tigers' 9-2 win over Altoona at Galactic Ice.
"It's hard to keep their big two off the board," Altoona coach Garth Rhodes said referring to Lafferty and Macky Power. "They just keep coming and coming, and they've capitalized all season."
Lafferty has 24 goals and 27 assists for 51 points. Power entered the game ranked third in scoring with 48 points. He had an assist on Lafferty's first goal.
Hollidaysburg also got big games from Mitch Gregory and Tanner Sidehamer. Gregory had two goals and two assists while Sidehamer scored a pair of goals 33 seconds apart in the first period.
The first one came when he threw the puck on net from just inside the blue line. The second came moments later on a 2-on-1 breakaway. The Mountain Lion defenseman closed the passing lane so the junior forward took it himself, hitting the top right corner of the net for the score.
"We scored on a couple breakaways. We tell the kids if they have a play, break on it," Hollidaysburg coach Brad Blair said.
Kent Brustle added a goal and an assist and Matt Gregory backstopped the win with 26 saves as Hollidaysburg improved to 11-4 on the season, 3-0 versus Altoona.
Hollidaysburg has second place in the Section 3 secured with five games to go before the playoffs.
"The big thing is we need to be sound defensively as we get ready for the playoffs," Blair said. "We have the goal scorers. We need to play well in our own end."
Lafferty agreed with his coach.
"We need to backcheck better and do a better job with our d-zone coverage to do well in the playoffs," he said.
Altoona stayed with Hollidaysburg for the first half of the opening period and grabbed a 1-0 lead when Adam Badorrek took a pass from Nathan Baker, streaked to the net and buried it in the top right corner of the net.
Hollidaysburg quickly seized control of the game, however, with a four-goal barrage over the next three minutes of play.
Badorrek made it a 4-2 game early in the second period when he slipped a low backhand shot just inside the left post for an unassisted goal. Hollidaysburg closed the period with five straight goals to seal the win.
Lafferty started the run with back-to-back unassisted goals. The first was a short-handed tally. The second came on a steal at opposite blue line.
"The d-man lost the puck. I saw a lane and took it to the net," Lafferty said. "I got the goalie to go down and went upstairs with it."
The loss puts Altoona at 2-12 on the season.
"Despite the score, we're a much better hockey team then we were at the start of the season," Rhodes said. "They're a proud group. They've stuck with it and want to do well for each other."
Badorrek now has 24 goals on the season, ranking him in the league's top 10 in goals scored.
"Adam's our captain. He's the guy we look to for big plays," Rhodes said. "You couldn't ask for a better kid or a harder worker."
SCORE BY PERIODS
Altoona1 1 0-2
Hollidaysburg4 5 0-9
FIRST PERIOD: A - Badorrek (Baker), 7:08; H - Lafferty (Power), 7:52; H - Sidehamer (Baser), 8:14; H - Sidehamer (Mi. Gregory), 8:47; H - Mi. Gregory (Brustle), 10:09.
SECOND PERIOD: A - Badorrek (unassisted), 1:16; H - Lafferty (unassisted), 4:03; H - Lafferty (unassisted), 6:34; H - Brustle (Lafferty), 7:35; H - Mi. Gregory (Satkunas), 8:55; H - Lafferty (Mi. Gregory).
Goalies: Adams, A, 16-25; Ma. Gregory, H, 16-25.
Records: Altoona (2-12); Hollidaysburg (11-4).