BRISTOL— It was a rivalry game that matched all expectations. Noah Seewagen scored with 7:52 remaining in the third period to give Neshaminy a 5-4 win over Pennsbury Thursday night at Grundy Arena in a Suburban High School Hockey League game that had significant ramifications.
The ‘Skins improved to 6-4-1 overall and 5-2 in National/Continental Division play and, it should be noted, 2-0 against Pennsbury this season. The Falcons (9-1-0-1, 6-1 in divisional play) suffered their first regulation loss.
Both teams were trying to strengthen their case for a favorable placement on the Flyers Cup bracket when the field is revealed on March 28.
Neshaminy was taking the ice 24 hours after a loss to Central Bucks East and ‘Skins coach Matt DeMatteo said the loss gave his team a jolt.
“I think (Wednesday) night was a huge wakeup call,” he said. “I think the older guys realized how few games are left and they knew they had to being it tonight.”
The key sequence in the game commenced 63 seconds into the second period. With Pennsbury holding a 1-0 lead, the Falcons’ Eddie Bossler drew a five-minute major penalty for high sticking.
It took Nolan Geria just 30 seconds to tie the game and Matt Buchinski put Neshaminy in front just 26 seconds after that.
The ‘Skins never trailed again.
Brendan MacAinsh tied the game for the Falcons at the 5:29 mark of the period while the teams were skating four on four but goals from Max Gallagher and Jacob Helms gave Neshaminy a two-goal lead before the period ended.
Erik Eisler and Justin Marlin scored third period goals for the Falcons but Seewagen’s goal off a Pennsbury turnover proved decisive.
“They came to play and we were just a little undisciplined,” said Pennsbury coach Ryan Daley. No matter the circumstances, these games are always tight and that’s what makes a great rivalry.”
•Thursday’s game was the third annual Gannon Cup game, played in memory of former Neshaminy School District students and hockey players Patrick Gannon and Phil Oseredzuk. Both would have been seniors this year and both played club hockey with many of the players who took the ice Thursday night,
Gannon died as the result of an an accident in July of 2016 at age 13 and Oserdzuk perished in an accident in May of 2019 at age 16.
More than $6,100 was raised Thursday night for charitable organizations that were established in memory of the young men who perished.
Neshaminy’s Rob Seewagen noted that while Thursday’s win meant a lot to he and his teammates, the evening was about something more important.
“At the end of the day, it’s more remembering Pat and Phil,” he said. “They were our age group in terms of the class of 2021. It hurts that they’re not here but this why we come out and do this every year. We love them and we want to honor them and their families.”
The Gannon Cup is named for Mike Gannon, Patrick’s father a longtime coach with the Grundy Senators youth program.
Neshaminy 0 4 1—5
Pennsbury 1 1 2—4
First-period goal: Brendan MacAinsh (P) from Shane Siegmund and Reece Millman, 13:51
Second-period goals: Nolan Geria (N) from Thomas Gallagher, 1:43 (pp); Matt Buchinski (N) from Max Gallagher and Geria, 2:09, (pp); MacAinsh (P) from Shane Siegmund and Reece Millman, 5:29; Max Gallager (N from Michael Knipple, 7:15; Jacob Helms (N) unassisted, 13:57
Third-period goals: Erik Eisler (P) from Justin Marlin, :33 (pp); Marlin (P) from Jake McCaw, 7:49; Noah Seewagen (N) from Max Gallagher, 8:08
Shots: Neshaminy 40, Pennsbury 36; Saves: Brian Nelson (N) 32, Marek Jorgenson (P) 35