BRISTOL— Six minutes into Tuesday’s second period, Council Rock South’s path to the second round of the Flyers Cup tournament seemed wide open. The Golden Hawks, who were coming off a SHSHL championship game win, held a 6-1 win over Parkland and seemed to be in command.
Instead, sixth-seeded South had to battle to the final buzzer to hold off the 11th-seeded Trojans 7-5 in a Class AA first-round game at Grundy Arena. The Golden Hawks indeed advanced, to Thursday’s quarterfinals against third seed Perkiomen Valley (6:15 at Ice Line) but there were some anxious moments along the way.
The evening got off to an explosive start with three goals in less than five minutes. Bill Harrelson and Jeremy Purcell scored for South before and after a tally from Parkland’s Eric Dennis to give their side a 2-1 lead after just 4 minutes, 47 seconds. Harrelson and Michael Roby added additional goals to give the Golden Hawks a 4-1 lead after one period.
David Mueller extended the Hawks’ lead 4:53 into the second period before Harrelson completed a hat trick at 10:07. Even after Joshua Bower scored for the Trojans with 3:11 left in the middle period, the Hawks were seemingly in control.
But then came the third period and the Trojans, who reached the Flyers Cup finals in 2013, didn’t roll over over. First, Alexander Doe scored a goal with 8:18 remaining in regulation. Then Dennis, the Trojans’ leading scorer, pocketed his second goal of the night during a power play with 6:30 left and then completed his own hat trick with 1:45 remaining.
After having a comfortable lead, the Golden Hawks found themselves hanging on.
“We made a lot of bad turnovers in the neutral zone,” Harrelson said, “and it ended up costing us, I think. We need to control the puck, get in deep, play our game really because (Parkland) knocked us off it a lot. We started losing our heads and taking bad penalties (four in the third period and five of the six in the game) and it was killing us. But we pulled out the win.”
The issue was settled with Michael Roby scored an empty net goal for South with 27 seconds remaining. But South coach Joe Houk remarked that his team will have to play better to have hopes of claiming a fourth Flyers Cup title.
“What we did last week (in the SHSHL final) we did not do this week,” he said. “We’ll have to regroup a little bit. It’s just the little things that make a difference and we didn’t do them tonight.”
Parkland coach Chad Loomis lamented his team’s slow start. “That was definitely our downfall,” he said. “I think we had a hard time just marching their intensity and adjusting to their game.
“We had an opportunity to take a little break (after the second period) and talk about it and make the necessary adjustments. We just kind of ran out of time.”
Parkland 1 1 3—5
Council Rick South 4 2 1—7
First-period goals: Billy Harrelson (CRS) from Brennen Wright and Antii Autere, 2:45 (pp); Eric Dennis (P) from Joshua Bower, 4:12; Jeremy Purcell (CRS) from David Mueller, 4:47; Harrelson (CRS) from Andrew Darling and Purcell, 9:40; Michael Roby (CRS) from Autere and Douglas Lopez, 12:01.
Second-period goals: Mueller (CRS) unassisted, 4:53; Harrelson (CRS) from Roby and Purcell, 10:07; Bower (P) from Alexander Doe and Dennis, 12:49 (pp)
Third-period goals: Doe (P) from Zachary Averill and Hunter Dolan, 7:42; Dennis (P) unassisted, 9:30 (pp); Dennis (P) from Luke Yocum, 14:15; Roby (CRS) from Autere, 15:33 (en).
Shots: Parkland 29, CRS 25; Saves: Vincent Bylick (P) 18, JImmy Sweeny (CRS) 24