By Rick Woelfel
WARWICK—North Penn and Central Bucks East made a bit of hockey history Wednesday night. The Knights and the Patriots engaged in the first regular-season overtime game in Suburban High School Hockey League history.
Ryan Cunningham scored with a slapshot from just off the left circle 2:08 into the five-minute overtime to give the Knights a 4-3 win. The goal came off a right-circle faceoff. Tyler Greenstein sent the puck across the ice to Cunningham, who rocketed the puck past Patriot goaltender Chris McIntyre.
Prior to Wednesday night the Knights (1-1, 1-0 in league play) had a bit of experience with three-on-three overtime.
“We did a scrimmage game with C.B. West,” said North Penn coach Kevin Vaitis, “and we played the last five minutes of that with the three-on-three. We got to get a little exposure to it. A lot of the kids have played travel hockey and they do it in travel hockey now.”
Cunningham’s goal came on a play that was executed as designed. “We work on specific plays like that,” the junior defenseman said. “For specific moments in overtime and on the power play and it happened to work out pretty well.”
Goals came fast and furious early on. Greenstein and Josh Kaufhold scored first-period goals for North Penn and East’s Sean Gorman scored in between. The three goals came in a span of just 48 seconds. Phil McIntyre tied the game for the Patriots just 23 seconds into the second stanza.
After that, the game turned into a goaltending dual between McIntyre and North Penn’s Nick Ebbbinghaus, both of whom were first rate. McIntyre finished with 45 saves.
Mike Capps filled in behind the Patriot bench for Ken Latchum, who was absent.
“(McIntyre) could be the best in in the league,” Capps said. He’s a young guy, only a junior. A very good player. We’re lucky to have him.”
With seven minutes left in the middle period the Patriots just missed taking the lead when Matt Cipriano’s blast from the top of the slot eluded Ebbinghaus but the referee on the play ruled the puck did not cross the goal line.
Luke Van Why gave North Penn a 3-2 lead with a power-play goal 4:33 into the final period before the Patriots with his second goal of the game at the 9:36 mark.
After a one-sided loss to Holy Ghost Prep in their season opener, Vaitis said Wednesday’s win was a big step forward for the Knights. “It was very important for us,” he said. It was our first league game of the season. We only get to play these guys once. We played them last year to a real close game and we knew with a bunch of the guys coming back they were going to be a tough team.”
There would not have been a shootout had the teams played a full five minutes of overtime. The game would have been considered a tie.
North Penn 2 0 1 1—4
C.B. East 1 1 1 0—3
First-period goals: Tyler Greenstein (NP) from Josh Kaufhold, 8:50 (pp); Sean Gorman (CBE) unassisted, 9:27; Kaufhold (NP) from Greenstein, 9:38.
Second-period goal: Phil McIntyre (CBE) from Bogden Borodenko, :23.
Third-period goals: Luke Van Why (NP) from Thomas Boyle, 4:33; Gorman (CBE) from Jasen Cluckey, 9:36 (sh).
Overtime goal: Ryan Cunningham (NP) from Greenstein and Van Why, 2:08.
Shots: North Penn 46, C.B. East 22; Saves: Nick Ebbinghaus (NP) 19, Chris McIntyre (CBE) 42