WARWICK— Council Rock South stepped up Wednesday night, just when it mattered most. Jeremy Purcell scored three times in the third period as the Golden Hawks bested Central Bucks East 5-2 at the Bucks County Ice Sports Center in a Suburban High School Hockey League National/Continental matchup.
The evening was virtually a case of two games in one. After a scoreless first frame the Golden Hawks (5-3-0-2 overall, 3-2-0-1 in divisional play) got a breakaway goal from Blaize Pepe 27 seconds into the second period.
Stephen DiRugeris answered for the Patriots at 3:29 bit the biggest moment of the period and perhaps of the game occurred 5:32 into the period when the Hawks’ Douglas Lopez drew a major penalty for catching the Patriots’ Phil McIntyre with a high stick. The Patriots failed to score during the five-minute power play.
The first part of the third period featured three goals in a span of just 54 seconds. Purcell gave the Golden Hawks the lead when beat Matt Mangiacapre from close range at the 1:23 mark. Chris Mangiacapre drew the Patriots even with a shot from the slot midway between the two faceoff circles at 2:03 but James Diiulio gave South the lead for good just 14 seconds later. Purcell scored his second goal of the game with 2:26 left and completed his hat trick with an empty net goal with 16 seconds remaining.
Purcell said he and his teammates found the energy they needed in the third period. “Everyone was tired,” he said, “but we knew we had to keep going. The boys were just buzzing tonight I guess. Everyone was feeling it, everyone had the hot hand.”
Under head coach Joe Houk, the Golden Hawks have a tradition of playing their best hockey late in the season. Purcell, a senior, says it’s a matter of all the pieces fitting together. “Everything slowly starts to merge together,” he said. “Everyone starts to feel better out on the ice together.”
Purcell says that chemistry is particularly important late in the season. “We work hard in practice,” he said. “We work hard every week. It’s just a matter of everything merging together better.”
The win was South’s second in three games, but the team is just 2-3 since February 17.
“We had a rough couple weeks,” Houk said. “We lost a couple close games, there were too many mistakes. We had a real strong practice on Monday. We (worked the kids hard) and that brought the same intensity to this game.
“I thought we really controlled the game right from the start to the end.”
Council Rock South 0 1 4—5
Central Bucks East 0 1 1—2
Second-period goals: Blaize Pepe (CRS) from Chase Tovsky, :27; Stephen DiRugeris (CBE) from Connor Keiser, 3:29
Third-period-goals Jeremy Purcell (CRS) from Pepe, 1:21; Chris Mangiacapre (CBE) from Adam Bostock and Tyler Godown, 2:03; James Diiulio (CRS) from Purcell and Kevin Koles, 2:17; Purcell (CRS) from Koles, 13:34; Purcell (CRS) unassisted, 15:44 (en)
Shots: Council Rock South 29, C.B. East 39; Saves: Jimmy Sweeney (CRS) 37; Matt Manigacapre 24
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