Two of the most respected figured in Philadelphia area scholastic hockey circles were behind the benches Wednesday night when Holy Ghost Prep and Council Rock South squared off at Grundy Arena.
The Firebirds’ Gump Whiteside and the Golden Hawks’ Joe Houk have seen an abundance of high-quality hockey over the years and the teams they’ve coached have had considerable success; including collecting four Flyers Cup titles between them.
On this night, the Firebirds, the defending Class 3A Flyers Cup champions, dominated, scoring six goals in the second period and going on to a 9-1 win over a depleted South squad in a Suburban High School Hockey League non-league matchup. Max Massari scored twice for the winners (7-3) while seven other players scored one goal each.
Houk was without six of his regulars, including Dylan Feoli and Matt Owens, who have been out all season with injuries, and Matt Meli, who is leading the team in scoring.
“We’re a short bench to begin with,” Houk said. “we’ve only got 11 rostered guys, we bring up five guys from (the junior varsity) every game).”
The Firebirds led just 1-0 after the first period on a goal by Shane Stevens at the 10:53 mark. South goaltender Mason Procz kept his team in the game by making 15 saves in the opening period.
It was a 3-0 game with five minutes left in the session when the Firebirds broke the game open by exploding for four goals, including two by Massari, in a span of 3:37.
South avoided the shutout when Jared Wagenmann scored with 56 seconds left in the game off Sean Joyce, the Firebirds’ backup goaltender who came on in the third period to spell Tristan Devine who had little to do; his team outshot the Golden Hawks (4-2-1) 57-10.
Whiteside was concerned about his team’s slow start. “We had a really slow start,” he said, “just a lack of focus. We responded really well in the second and third periods.
“We still have a lot of work to do. This is a veteran team but we still have lot of work to do. I wasn’t happy with their focus in the first period at all.”
Council Rock South 0 0 1 —1
Holy Ghost Prep 1 6 2—9
First-period goal: Shane Stevens (HGP) from Andrew Serafin, 10:53.
Second-period goals: Evan Midrick (HGP) from Eric Pohl and Beau Brusius 1:15; Luke Aquaro (HGP) from Byran Hartley, 6:34; Max Massari (HGP) from Thomas McNulty, 10:53; Colin Costello (HGP) assist unavailable, 13:18; Massari (HGP) from Casey Buck, 13;53 (sh); Alex D’Angelo (HGP) unassisted, 14:30 (sh).
Third-period goals: Serafin (HGP) from Hartley, 8:47; Pohl (HGP) from D’Angelo, 11;59; Jared Wagenmann (CRS) unassisted, 15:04.
Shots: Council Rock South 10, Holy Ghost Prep 57.
Records: Council Rock South (4-2-1); Holy Ghost Prep (7-3)