By Rick Woelfel
WARWICK— As the clock counts down to the Suburban High School Hockey League’s annual holiday break, the upper-echelon teams are beginning to emerge.
Central Bucks South continues to be the measuring stick for the 12 teams in the SHSHL’s Class AA Division. But the Titans got all they wanted from Central Bucks East Wednesday night before prevailing 3-2 over the Patriots in an entertaining scrap at Revolution Ice Gardens.
Reis Braccio scored a goal and assisted on two others as South (6-2, 5-0 SHSHL) won its sixth straight. But the Patriots (5-2-1, 2-2) made a statement as well and served notice they are a team to be reckoned with.
“That’s what we just told them in there,” said East assistant coach Jim Stampler. “That was a good gut check after what happened to us last week (a 6-2 loss to Pennridge last Thursday).”
The Titans started out strong. Alex Glushek put in a rebound of D.J. Loverdi’s one-timer from the left point to put his team in from 2:19 into the first period. Ryan Gingras scored from the left point himself on a power play at 6:33 to make it 2-0 and South was seemingly in control.
C.B. South’s Braccio looks to shoot against C.B. East Wednesday night. Connor Kelser is defending on the play; Chris McIntyre is the goaltender. South won the SHSHL game 4-2.
Photo: Dara N. King
But Sean Gorman scored a power-play goal of his own with 1:08 left in the period and it was a one-goal game the fact that The Patriots were outshout 11-2 in the first frame.
Braccio said he and his teammates might have had a loss of focus after their quick start. “There shouldn’t be,” he said, “but I guess we just got too comfortable and we just let our foot off the gas. Now, we’ve learned from that …not to take our foot off the gas pedal.”
South coach Shaun McGinty conceded his troops might have gotten caught up in their own success at the start. “We changed what we were doing or the kids started getting too confident too early,” said. “It was only 2-0. Yeah, we were outshooting them by quite a bit but I think the kids kind of got ahead of themselves.”
With 3:55 left in the second period the Patriots; arc Green was sent to the box for tripping. The Bucks scored off the ensuing faceoff with Braccio beating East goaltender Chris McIntyre.
But East responded almost immediately or, more specifically, Gorman did, forcing a turnover at his own blue line and going end to end on a breakaway. South netminder Oscar Levin made the initial save but Gorman put in the rebound with 1:07 left in the period.
East had the momentum at the state of the third period as well but midway through the final session, momentum shifted. McIntyre made some big saves for the Patriots to keep the margin at one goal before Matt Milanesi scored insurance goal for the Titans with 1:19 remaining. The sequence started seconds earlier when the Titans won a faceoff deep in their own zone to prevent East from lifting McIntyre for an extra skater.
The sophomore finished with 32 saves.
C.B. South 2 1 1—4
C.B. East 1 1 0—2
First-period goals: Alex Glushek (CBS) from D.J. Loverdi, 2:19; Ryan Gingras (CBS) from Reis Braccio, 6:33 (pp); Sean Gorman (CBE) unassisted, 14:52 (pp).
Second-period goals: Braccio (CBS) from Colin Abbonizio, 11:09 (pp); Gorman (CBE) unassisted, 14:53
Third-period goals: Matt Milanesi (CBS) from Braccio, 14:41.
Shots: C.B. South 36, C.B. East 14; Saves: Oscar Levin (CBS) 12, Chris McIntyre (CBE) 32.