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Penns Valley gets 3-1 home victory over Bellefonte

By SHAREIK FLOWERS

sflowers@lockhaven.com

SPRING MILLS- In Penns Valley’s Sept. 5 meeting with Bellefonte the Rams suffered a 4-3 overtime loss on the road. The defeat created a sense of urgency in the Rams– who had every intention of winning yesterday’s matchup without the aid of extra minutes.

“We knew we wanted to win this one in regulation,” Penns Valley coach Ken Gore said. “That was a big thing there. So we wanted to get up early on them in the first half and second half.”

Penns Valley got its early score when Zach Heckman notched a tone-setting goal just 13 minutes into the game to put the Rams ahead 1-0. The score boosted the Rams who cruised to a 3-1 win versus the Raiders to even its record at 5-5 on the season.

“We made a few mistakes here and there, but I told my guys that they just needed to want it more than Bellefonte [and they did],” Gore said. “We needed to challenge every ball, and they did what I asked them to do. They did a fantastic job and I couldn’t be any more proud of them.”

Zach Heckman led the Rams with a game-high two goals. His first score just 13 minutes into the game put the Rams ahead early, 1-0. He added another when he launched a shot that smacked off Bellefonte goalie Quinn Tooker’s right hand and landed in the back of the net.

“He did a fantastic job today,” Gore said of Heckman. “Every time we had the ball up there he was pushing hard and getting the chances [to score]. He did a great job finishing and gave everything he had and laid it all out there, and that’s exactly what I ask my guys to do.”

Heckman pushed for the hat trick– and would’ve secured three goals if not for the stout second-half defensive play of Bellefonte goalkeeper Quinn Tooker. Heckman and Tooker battled in the second half before the two collided into each other as Tooker exited the goal to make a save and scoop up a loose ball that Heckman was dashing toward. Tooker was unscathed following the collision while Heckman exited the game with a bruised shin.

“He’s doing pretty good,” Gore said of Heckman. “We’re thinking it’s probably just a bad bruise and hopefully nothing more serious than that. But he seems to be doing OK.”

Aidan Culver added an insurance goal halfway through the second half to increase Penns Valley’s lead, 3-1, in the game. The Rams recorded 15 shots-on-goal Monday night in what was a balanced-offensive showing.

“We’ve been really working on controlling better, winning the ball more and making sure that we possess the ball more often, and that’s exactly what we did,” Gore said of the offense. “Every time that we push harder, possess the ball and get more control we control the game and get the wins.”

Shane Cronin scored Bellefonte’s lone goal of the evening in the first half to knot the game at one score apiece. Outside of the score Bellefonte was shutout, despite recording 17 shots on goal in the game.

“I thought offensively we moved the ball really well up top,” Bellefonte coach Scott Martz said. “But we’re just struggling to finish off shots now.”

Bellefonte switched up its base offense Monday night to combat its recent scoring struggles. They’ve transitioned from a 4-4-2 to a 4-3-3 package to try and create more pressure on opposing defenses .

“We’re trying to spread out and get a little more offense now,” Martz said of the adjustments. ‘Before we just weren’t getting enough generation up front, but I think tonight with this formation they pushed the ball up front a little more better and they moved the ball up front a lot more better.”

Monday’s loss dropped Bellefonte’s record to 2-9 on the season. They return Wednesday with a home matchup versus Central at 6 p.m.

Penns Valley returns Wednesday with an away matchup against Tyrone.

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