WILKES-BARRE — Stefan Krupski found the back of the net six times, which included a natural hat trick, en route to an eight-point night as he led the Crestwood Comets to a 10-1 victory over Wyoming Valley West during the first night of the annual Casey Classic Tournament on Saturday.
Krupski broke through at the 9:29 mark of the first period to open the scoring and quickly followed that goal up with another two. The natural hat trick was scored in the span of just 5:26.
Although Krupski led the Comets on the score sheet, the young player was quick to deflect the praise to his fellow teammates.
“We were coming to win,” Krupski said. “The team played good as a whole and I think we played a good first period. We came out strong and we just got the job done. I think it’s a really great start to the tournament.”
Crestwood won the Casey Classic last year, defeating Pittston Area in the final, which is something that Krupski, who played on the tournament-champion squad last year, said is a driving force for the Comets’ roster.
“It’s motivation for us,” he said. “This is a big thing around this area and we take a lot of pride in winning and being the best that we can be. We are looking for another championship and I hope we get it.”
By the end of the game, the Comets had put 49 total shots on Valley West goaltender Ken Vought. The offensive onslaught of Crestwood was only stopped once when Jeff Engle scored for the Spartans at 10:37 of the third period, ending Crestwood goalie Patrick Croke’s shutout bid. The Comets’ netminder didn’t see much work during the contest, facing just 11 shots during the game.
Crestwood head coach Paul Eyerman said it was a great start for the team, but with some changes in the roster and tougher teams ahead, he’s going to count on a few of the junior varsity players to step up to the varsity level and make an impact over the weekend.
“In the coming games we are going to have a little bit of change in personnel,” Eyerman said. “We have a few of our players that are going away to play in an outside tournament. So tomorrow we need to call up a couple JV kids and we are looking for them to fill the roles.
“We play Holy Redeemer again tomorrow, we played them several times this year, one time we tied and another we played quite effectively against them. We also play Back Mountain, who is currently number one in the league, so we are quite excited about playing them again. It’s a six-team tournament and four make the semis, so we have to play two more great games, but hopefully, by the time we are done, we have a spot in the semifinal.”
With a nine-goal difference in their first game, Crestwood showed why they’re a perennial favorite in the Northeastern Pennsylvania Scholastic Hockey League.
“Crestwood has a very good tradition for playing high school hockey,” Eyerman said. “We’ve been involved with the Casey for many years and if you look at the runner-up trophy, it has our name on it a lot. Last year was the first year that we won it in quite a few years, so we are hoping through the semifinal and the finals that we can play well and bring home the championship trophy again.”
Pittston Area 6, Holy Redeemer 3
Despite allowing two goals on the night, Pittston Area goaltender Brandon Walker made 15 saves to backstop the Patriots to a win in their first game of the Casey Classic Tournament at the Toyota Sportsplex.
Pittston Area played aggressively throughout the game, which included the team’s defensemen getting in on the rush to help offensively.
“The guys I have in front of me, the experience that a lot of them have, is a huge boost in confidence for me,” Walker said. “They are able to score goals and play solid defense at the same time. They help get the loose pucks out so that there are no garbage goals and that certainly helps me.”
Pittston Area will have a very quick turn around as they will faceoff against rivals, Wyoming Area, on Sunday morning at 10:10 a.m. The last time the two played, Wyoming Area came away with a 7-1 victory.
“We are all ready to go,” Walker said. “We were missing two key guys last game and they are back now. We will certainly have more confidence going into this game.”
H.S. Ice Hockey
Crestwood 10, Wyoming Valley West 1
Wyoming Valley West`0`0`1`1
First period — 1. CRES, Krupski (Angle), 9:29. 2. CRES, Krupski (Angle), 6:16. 3. CRES, Krupski (Tyler Govan), 4:03. Second period — 4. CRES, Kulak (unassisted), 9:18. 5. CRES, Krupski (Kulak), 7:29. 6. CRES, Edwards (unassisted), 5:18. 7. CRES, Krupski (Maher), 0:56. Third period — 8. WVW, Jeff Engle (unassisted), 10:37. 9. CRES, Brennan (Krupski), 8:55. 10. CRES, Krupski (unassisted), 6:15. 11. CRES, K. Frisbie (Krupski), 2:11.
Shots — CRES 49; WVW 11. Saves — CRES (Kroke) 10; WVW (K. Vought) 39.
Pittston Area 6, Holy Redeemer 3
First period — 1. PIT, Walton (unassisted), 8:47. 2. PIT, Schwab (Langdon), 7:44. Second period — 3. PIT, Hilbort (Scavo), 11:08. 4. HR, Gartley (Semenza), 10:07. 5. PIT, Augenstein (Flanagan, Landgon), 9:25. 6. PIT, Mackell (Flanagan), 5:11. 7. HR, Gartley (Semenza), 4:26. Third period — 8. PIT, Langdon (unassisted), 14:05. 9. HR, Hontz (Boland), 13:25.
Shots — PIT 33; HR 18. Saves — PIT (Walker) 15; HR (Karaska) 27.
Reach Russell Hryvnak at 570-991-6401 or on Twitter @TLRussHryvnak