BROCKWAY — The Brockway and Elk County Catholic boys soccer teams put together an intense, and sometimes chippy game on Thursday evening.
The Crusaders tied the game with less than 14 minutes left in the second half, but Brockway’s Zane Puhala scored twice from there, helping Brockway to a 3-1 win over ECC at Frank Varischetti Field and improving to 6-0 on the season.
“This was a typical Brockway-Elk County game,” said Brockway coach Rich Esposito. “We practiced for the last couple days for what was going to happen today –our style of play vs. their style of play. Give our kids credit because they were really patient. They didn’t get frustrated. They played well. I thought we controlled the game for the most part.”
Brockway goalkeeper Austin Moore went down in the game as him and an Elk County Catholic player collided going up for the ball just 12 minutes into the game. Moore was taken to the hospital, and was replaced in goal by Angelo Inzana.
“Angelo did a really nice job when Austin got hurt in the first half,” said Esposito. “You lose a field player (Inzana) and you lose your starting goalie, so I thought the kids that went in, they played hard. They practice hard for situations like this. That’s why we always have two or three goalies ready.”
Brockway’s Hunter Allenbaugh was close to a goal around the 17th minute, but still got his team on the board first in the 25 minute.
The Rovers’ Zane Puhala was tripped up in the goal box at 25:04, giving Brockway a penalty kick. Allenbaugh took the kick and buried it in side the left goal post for the first goal of the game.
“We were fortunate enough that Zane got that P.K. and he earned it,” said Esposito. “Hunter got the goal to get us going.”
The Crusaders didn’t get their first shot of the game until the 33rd minute, which was their only one of the first half. Brockway led the shots, 10-1, at halftime as the teams went to the break with the Rovers leading 1-0.
Inzana made a diving save around the 58th minute of the game, but the Crusaders still got the equalizer about eight minutes later off the foot of Erick Mader to tie the game.
But not to be outdone, Puhala got his team the lead back just a minute later. The ECC keeper didn’t catch an initial shot from Puhala, and the ball bounced in front of the goal line. Puhala got his head on the ball and placed it just under the crossbar to give Brockway a 2-1 lead at 67:09.
Five minutes later, Puhala put in his second goal to put the game away. This time, Allenbaugh was credited with the assist as the Rovers took the 3-1 lead at 72:12.
“That’s a good win for us,” said Esposito. “We needed a game where we needed to play 80 minutes. Elk is always putting good kids on the field. They’re always pushing you, and that’s just what you expect. It was good for everybody.”
Brockway is back in action on Tuesday with a home game against Brookville. The Crusaders will travel to Brookville on Monday.