WILLOW GROVE—As is the case with most high-school hockey games, there were moments of brilliance mixed with a miscalculation or two. When the final buzzer sounded, Central Bucks East and Abington had skated to a 2-2 draw Thursday night at Wintersport Arena in front of an audience that had turned out in large part to celebrate the Galloping Ghosts’ Senior Night festivities.
Perry Carpenter, playing in his final true home game, tied the game for Abington with 7:14 left in the third period when he scored off a left-wing faceoff that he himself took. His laser-like shot beat East goaltender Chris McIntyre in a matchup of the two players who, it could be argued, were the best on the ice for their respective sides.
“Our defenseman shot it,” Carpenter said, “and it got tipped. One of my wingers shot it with his backhand and I just shot it, hoping to get a scoring opportunity.”
Jeff Carp had given the Patriots a 2-1 led when he beat Mason Large in the Abington net on a shot from the right circle at the 5:03 mark of the third frame.
Carpenter’s goal, his 17th of the season, kept Abington’s Suburban High School Hockey League playoff hopes alive. The Galloping Ghosts now stand at 3-7-4 overall and 2-5-3 in the Class AA standings for seven points with one league game remaining.
The tie allowed the Patriots to pick up a point; they now carry a mark of 9-4-2 overall and 5-4-1 in league play and have what would appear to be a firm hold on a playoff spot.
The player with the biggest smile at the end of the night was likely McIntyre. The sophomore netminder hadn’t played in a game since before Christmas for medical reasons but returned to action Wednesday in a 5-1 won over Truman. He came into the week with a goals-against average of 2.60 and a league-best save percentage of .912 before recording 25 saves Thursday night.
“It feels great to be back on the ice,” he said. “I was on the ice all week, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and today. It feels great. I enjoy it a lot.”
McIntyre said he only had to deal with a minimal amount of rust as he prepared for a return to game competition. “A little bit on Monday,” he said, “but that was it, and I kind of got back into it.”
Sean Gorman put East up 1-0 7:50 in to a first period that saw McIntyre make three superb saves. Ryan Gosselin tied the game for Abington 5:13 into the second frame.
The Galloping Ghosts lost senior defenseman Elijah Coston at the 8:53 mark of the second period after a tussle with East’s Max Ermigliotti earned him a double minor plus a misconduct and a game misconduct.
Large, who, along with Carpenter and Coston, was part of an eight-member senior class that was honored before the game, was as sharp as McIntyre, and finished with 26 saves.
Central Bucks East 1 0 1—2
Abington 0 1 1—2
First-period goal: Sean Gorman (CBE) from Rob Kern and Shane West, 7:50.
Second-period goal: Ryan Gosselin (A) unassisted, 5:13 (pp).
Third-period goals: Jeff Carp (CBE) from Nick Locastro, 3:33; Perry Carpenter (A) unassisted, 8:46.
Shots: C.B. East 28, Abington 27; Saves: Chris McIntyre (CBE) 25, Mason Large (A) 26.