Neshaniny 11, Abington 1

WARWICK­—Neshaminy had things pretty much its own way Wednesday night. The ‘Skins scored four goals in just under six minutes and went on to an 11-1 win over Abington in a Suburban High School Hockey League Class AA game at Revolution Ice Gardens that was halted following the second period via the 10-goal mercy rule.

The result was not unexpected. Neshaminy (11-3, 9-2 in divisional play) is assured of a top-four seed at worst in next week’s SHSHL playoffs and is seemingly in line for a high seed in the upcoming Flyers Cup tournament. The Galloping Ghosts, who have 15 underclassmen on their roster, slipped to 3-13 overall and 2-9 in the division; each team has one regular-season game remaining.

Thursday’s meeting was something of a bridge between two eras of SHSHL history. Neshaminy knew its share of sorrows before taking giant strides forward this season and last. And while Abington has struggled in recent seasons, the Galloping Ghosts have a rich historical legacy that is tied to the origins of the league. Abington won the championship in the SHSHL’s inaugural reason in 1974 and went on to win the first three league titles and four of the first five. There was no Flyers Cup tournament in those days but the Galloping Ghosts claimed two state titles as well.

All told, Abington has won six SHSHL titles of one sort or another, the last of them the second of back-to-back Class AA crowns in 2004. That trails only Germantown Academy (11), Central Bucks South (8) and possibly Council Rock (six documented titles and a possible seventh) on the all-time list.

That a history that Abington coach Ken Brzozowski wants his team to embrace. “I shared that with the tonight,” he said, “and hopefully that will mean something to them.

“For us, we’ve got little goals. Next year, to improve our record, compete for a playoff spot. And then from there, maybe try to restore some of that glory that Abington had in the past.

“We’ve got a few kids that have some talent, we mix in some hard work, and maybe we can get back to that point.”

Jacob Helms scored two goals for Neshaminy while nine other players scored one goal each.

Neshaminy coach Matt DeMatteo urged his team to maintain its focus. “You start to get into a lack of team play,” he said, “where everybody wants to skate up and try and get on the scoresheet. That leads to bad habits, which (Thursday) night against Council Rock South could come back to hurt us.”

Griffin Carpenter scored the Abington goal with 1:12 left in the second period.

The ‘Skins outshot the Galloping Ghosts 35-3. Abington didn’t record its first shot on goal until 2:05 remained in what turned out to be the final period.

Neshaminy, which has won four straight and five of its last six, closes the regular season against Council Rock South on Thursday while Abington finishes against Quakertown on Friday.

Neshaminy 7 4 x—11

Abington 0 1 x—11

First-period goals: J.J. Hathaway (N) unassisted, 1:21; Joseph Hornung (N) from Joey DeMatteo, 2:25; Michael Knipple (N) from Nolan Geria, 5:14; Jacob Helms (N) from Hathaway, 5:59; DeMatteo (N) from Noah Seawagen, 8:23; Geria (N) from Hathaway, 12:32 (pp); Helms (N) from DeMatteo and Knipple, 14:15.

Second-period goals: Thomas Gallagher (N) from Ryan McColgan, 4:09; Matt Buchinski (N) from Gallagher, 4:50; Noah Seawagen (N unassisted, 7:38; Horning (N) unassisted, 7:38; Griffin Carpenter (A) from Joe Stelacio and Tom Rourke, 14:18.

Shots: Neshaminy 35, Abington 3; Saves; Brian Nelson (N) 0 and Andy Nau (N) 2; Sam Nemec (A) 24

By Rick Woelfel

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