By Rick Woelfel
HATFIELD TOWNSHIP—The combination of solid defense and quality goaltending will win a lot of hockey games, especially in the postseason. The Pennridge Rams utilized that formula to become champions Thursday night.
Luke Stranick stopped 35 shots and Matt Guinette and Michael Eissler provided the necessary scoring as the Rams downed Central Bucks South 2-0 in the Suburban High School Hockey League Class AA championship game at Hatfield Ice
It’s the second SHSHL title in history for the second-seeded Rams, who improved their record to 14-2-3. The top-seeded Titans (13-4-2) were attempting to capture an unprecedented fifth straight SHSHL crown and their ninth in history.
After shutting down one of the most potent offenses in the area, the Rams were savoring their success.
“I’ve only gone here for two years, and it feels great to me” said junior defenseman Frankie Rota, who transferred from Quakertown prior to last season. “I can imagine the guys that have been going here for four, I imagine it feels incredible.”
The Rams outshot the Titans by just 40-35 but the efforts of the blueline corps limited South’s quality chances and made life easier for their goaltender.
“My defense played perfect,” Stranick said. “They did everything I could have asked for. They kept the shots to the outside, they kept the screens out of my way, they made it real easy.”
The Titans had the better of things early on until the pace picked up midway through the opening period. Guinette got the Rams on the board at the 8:18 mark of the first frame with a shot from midway between the tops of the two faceoff circles that beat South netminder Oscar Levin, who had a solid game between the pipes despite the defeat.
Pennridge’s second goal, which came 3:30 into the middle period, was the result of a picturesque individual effort by Eissler, who went up the middle and over the blue line before deking around a South defender and beating Moyer. That was all the scoring there was but that was all that was needed.
“Defensively, we gave up some chances,” said Pennridge coach Jeff Montagna, “but we did a real good job not giving up second-chance opportunities. Our defensemen blocked a ton of shots in this game and we swept everything up.
“(South) is a hard team to hold off for 51 minutes and we did.”
Notes: The Rams won their first league crown in 2008 …Both teams will see action in the Flyers Cup tournament next Wednesday. The second-seeded Titans will face 15th-seed Downingtown West on Wednesday at Revolution Ice Gardens at 7:15. The fourth-seeded Rams will take on 13th seed Garnet Valley the same evening at Hatfield Ice at 8:40 … Shaun McGinty was not behind the Titans’ bench Thursday night because of work commitments. Assistant Tyler Skronski stepped in for him.
Pennridge 1 1 0—2
C.B. South 0 0 0—0
First-period goal: Matt Guinette (P) from Eric Slater, 8:18
Second-period goal: Michael Eissler (P) from Jeff Manto, 3:30
Shots: Pennridge 40, C.B. South 35; Saves: Luke Stranick 35 Oscar Levin (CBS) 33
The Grundy Skate Shop is a full service hockey pro shop inside the Grundy Arena, offering a great selection of equipment, brands and various services. We do a range of repairs as well as offer custom hockey jerseys. We recently celebrated our 5th year at the shop but owner, Bill Keyser, has over 25 years experience in the industry and specializes in skate sharpening, including profiling. Please visit our Facebook page or stop in and check us out!