HATFIELD—Council Rock North is one of the major success stories of 2021-22 hockey season. Unable to field a pure team last season, the Indians were forced to drop out of the Suburban High School Hockey League.
But they have returned this year are unquestionably making an impact.
Chapter One of the North Saga concluded Thursday night with a 5-2 win over Central Bucks West at Hatfield Ice in the regular-season finale for both sides.
Jackson Accardi, Will Pasch, and Karson Grainey all scored goals in a span of 2 minutes, 9 seconds midway through the second period to break the game open.
North concluded its regular season at 8-6 (5-5 in divisional play). The Indians will be seeded somewhere between fifth and seventh for next week’s SHSHL playoffs and are hoping to land a bid in the upcoming Class A Flyers Cup tournament.
“We talked about it,” said North coach Greg McDonald. “We only had like 11 skaters. The difference between when we have a full bench and when we don’t is tremendous.
“So that was exactly what we talked about; win the small game. Win the puck battles with shifts, win the puck races, win the open spot for your teammates.”
Ryan Keil gave the Indians a 1-0 lead 7:23 into the first period off a scramble in front of West goaltender Liam Rogers
Billy Loughnane tied the game for the Buck (5-9, 2-8) off the faceoff that commenced the second period.
Rogers kept the game tied when he turned aside a blast from Lucas Siomos with 11;35 left in the period.
But the Indians eventually broke through. Accardi put his team in front for good at the 7:16 mark, Pasch followed up at 8:23 and Grainey completed the trifecta at 9:25.
The Bucks got a bit closer when Loughnane scored his second goal of the game with 2:56 remaining in regulation but couldn’t get any closer.
Grainey scored his second goal of the game into an empty net just before the clock hit all zeroes.
The evening marked the conclusion of the career of five West seniors. Their coach, Dave Baun, is pleased with how his young team matured over the course of the season.
“I’m very optimistic about the team going forward,” he said. “Nine of our players are freshmen and sophomores and that’s pretty young, but they’re all good players. When they’re all good and they’re that young, that’s a good thing because they’re only going to get better.
“And we’re expecting to add a few more good players next year.”
Ice chips— Ian Goldberg made 33 saves in the North net. The Indians will learn on February 27 whether they made the Flyers Cup field.
Council Rock North 1 3 1—5
C.B. West 0 1 1—2
First-period goal: Ryan Keil (CRN) from Noah Epstein and Karson Grainey, 7:23
Second-period goals: Billy Loughnane (CBW) from Nick Bruno and Anthony Dowd, :11; Jackson Accardi (CRN) from Grainey, 7:16; Will Pasch (CRN) from Keil 8:23; Grainey (CRN) from Accardi and Epstein, 9:25
Third-period goals: Loughnane (CBW) from Dowd, 14:04; Grainey (CRN) from Accardi, 16:59 (en)
Shots: C.R. North 43, C.B. West 35; Saves: Ian Goldberg (CRN) 33, Liam Rogers (CBW) 38