GENEVA – With six players missing from the Leyden Eagles roster Sunday afternoon at Fox Valley Ice Arena, the Fox Valley Hawks hockey team knew it would only be a matter of time until it had its way with the visitors.
The Eagles were only able to dress 11 skaters against the Hawks, and in the end it proved their downfall as Hawks won, 4-1.
“We were excited to play those guys [Sunday] because they did not have many players on their side,” said Hawks forward Santino Salamone, a St. Charles North junior. “Things are getting much better for us. Our coach [Jim Quinn] has been trying to get us to know each other better as a team and it’s starting to show.”
After a scoreless opening period, the Hawks (4-3) finally broke through when forward Garrett Evenson let go a long slap shot from the far point through a screen in front of Leyden netminder Anthony Allegretti (35 saves) and into the Leyden net for a 1-0 lead with 6:26 left in the second period.
The Hawks increased their lead to 2-0 just over two minutes later when Matthew Koske took a pass from Salamone and beat Allegretti from five feet out at the 4:22 mark of the second period. However, Leyden (1-6) would get back into the game, cutting the Hawks’ lead in half at 2-1 when Jordan Neidziela sent a long shot past Hawks goaltender Jonathon Durrbeck (16 saves) with 2:54 remaining in the period.
“We wanted to cut our penalties down against a team like Leyden who can be a dirty team,” Salamone said. “We also wanted to get the puck on net as much as we could and we did a good job of that.”
The Hawks increased their lead to 3-1 with 11:32 left in the final period when Salamone scored the first of his two goals in the period with the first one coming off a rebound chance given up by Allegretti from an original shot by forward Nathan Podraza.
Salamone finished off the Hawks scoring with 9:01 remaining in the game off an assist from Podraza for the 4-1 advantage.
“We started off a little slow tonight,” Podraza said. “But we are a third-period team by nature. We knew they could not match our intensity in that third period. We just had to regroup after that second period. We were getting a lot of second chances to score tonight because their goalie was giving up a lot of rebounds.”
“It just was not our night tonight,” Leyden coach Mike Niedziela said. “We are just not there yet. Missing as many people as we are, we are a much better team when everyone is here for us.”