The Pittsburgh Vengeance traveled to Wooster, Ohio on Friday night to face the Oilers in a tough East Division matchup. Both teams came out of the gate sluggish, playing to a scoreless first period with Wooster holding the edge in shots 6-5. Pittsburgh broke through late in the second as Nolan Puhala notched his fifth goal of the season to give the Vengeance a 1-0 lead assisted by Vincent Casale and Nick Hawkins. The Vengeance, behind the strong goaltending of Jacob Hough, held on to win the game 1-0. Hough stopped all 21 Wooster shots for his first NA3HL shutout.
“It wasn’t a pretty win, but we got the job done and at the end of the day that’s all that matters,” said Coach Dorsey.
Pittsburgh traveled back home Saturday Night to host the second place team in the East Division, the West Michigan Wolves. Puhala put the Vengeance ahead once again, scoring on a breakaway assisted by Cam Smith and Kenny White. Pittsburgh skated to the locker room with a 1-0 lead after the first. The Vengeance got into penalty trouble early in the second, but were able to kill off a 5 on 3 West Michigan advantage that set the tone for the second period. Pittsburgh managed to strike for three straight goals to open up a 4-0 lead. James Unger opened the rally with a powerplay goal from Cam Williams and Gavin Cummings to make it 2-0. Casale notched his fourth of the season to make it 3-0, with assists going to Ryan Loebig and Puhala. Dillon Joyce then added his first career junior goal to put Pittsburgh up 4-0, assisted by Dom Glavach. West Michigan added a late goal on the power play to make it 4-1 Vengeance after two periods.
“I thought that the second period was our best period of the year so far minus the last 12 seconds were we stopped competing,” said Coach Dorsey. “The 5 on 3 kill by Nick Lyon, White and Cummings set the tone for the period.”
Puhala added his second of the night to extend the Vengeance lead to 5-1 with assists going to Joyce and Anthony Szurlej. Joel De Simone closed the door in net the rest of the way, blocking 36 of 37 West Michigan shots in for the 5-1 Pittsburgh victory. It was De Simone’s seventh consecutive win between the pipes.
“De Simone a rock for us in the first, because we didn’t have our best start as a group,” said Coach Dorsey.
Pittsburgh will travel to play the Southern Tier Xpress in Jamestown, NY on Friday night and then head back home to host the Xpress on Saturday night at the Alpha Ice Complex.
“These are going to be tough games against a very talented team and we need to keep getting better as group,” said Coach Dorsey. The Vengeance are now 7-2-1 in their last ten games.