By Rick Woelfel
BRISTOL—There was a hockey game played at Grundy Arena Wednesday night. For the record, Pennsbury defeated Neshaminy 4-3 in front of a full house.
But what transpired between the Falcons and the ‘Skins and Neshaminy transcended what happened on the ice.
The occasion was the second annual Gannon Cup game, named in honor of Patrick Gannon, a former Neshaminy Middle School player who perished in an accident at age 13. Prior to the opening faceoff a ceremony was held recognizing Gannon and Neshaminy player Phil Oseredzuk, a who was killed in a kayaking accident this past May at age 16. Replicas of both players’ jerseys are now displayed at Grundy Arena.
Some $1,400 dollars was raised via various pregame goodie baskets and raffles, with the funds earmarked for the Gift of Life Foundation which promotes organ donation efforts.
Neshaminy coach Matt DeMatteo spoke to that topic before the teams took the ice. “I think a night like tonight is a great way to raise awareness,” he said. “Especially with all the high-school kids that will be in attendance tonight. I think it’s a very important message and we can’t overlook the fact that through Patrick’s tragedy, there were six or seven lives that were saved through organ donors.”
Pennsbury coach Ryan Daley noted the evening exemplified hockey’s sense of community. “Both teams have ties to the Gammon family,” he said, “and our players know the families. It’s a lot more than a game.”
The game itself saw the Falcons (3-1) hand Neshaminy (4-1) its first loss of the season.
Jake Machlovitz gave Pennsbury a 1-0 lead with 59 seconds left in the opening period. The senior made it 2-0 just 34 seconds into the second period.
Momentum shifted at the 2:02 when Pennsbury captain Ben Dous drew a five-minute major penalty plus a game misconduct for a hit from behind on Neshaminy’s J.J. Hathaway. Matt Buchinski scored for Neshaminy just 59 seconds later to make it a one-goal game. The ‘Skins didn’t score again during the power play but Robert Seewagen tied the game with a shorthanded goal with 4:31 left in the period.
The Falcons regained and extended their lead in the final minute of the period when when Beau Brusius-Yedman and Machlovitz scored 19 seconds apart during a four-on-four situation.
Thomas Gallagher scored for Neshaminy with 6:07 left in the game; it proved to be the only goal of the third period.
Machlovitz savored playing in front of a packed house. “It’s electrifying, really,” he said, “and three goals too? I’m shaking still.”
Many of the players on both teams have played or do play together on various club teams but that does not diminish the intensity of the rivalry when they’re wearing their school’s colors. “A lot of these guys off the ice will joke around,” he said, but on the ice, it’s for blood.”
Pennsbury 1 3 0—4
Neshaminy 0 2 1—3
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. 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!