C.R. South, Pennridge Set for Key SHSHL Matchup

It shapes up as the most significant game of the year in the SHSHL, and one of the league’s most meaningful regular-season games of recent years.
Council Rock and Pennridge will square off Wednesday night in a game that is likely to have a profound impact on the SHSHL’s National Division standings and the Class AA Flyers Cup rankings.

Game time is 7:20 in the Blue Rink at Hatfield Ice. The game will also be streamed on the Flyers Cup YouTube channel.

It’s the second meeting of the season between the two teams. Pennridge won the first meeting 7-4 on December 15 in a game that counted toward the Flyers Cup rankings but not in the division standings.

Here’s how the teams match up for Wednesday’s game.

Council Rock South (11-1-0-1, 5-0-0-1 in the National Division)

Coach: Joe Houk

Leading scorers: Blaize Pepe 13 goals 12 assists 25 points

                              Kevin Koles 9/13/22

                              Jake Weiner 15/6/21

Goaltender: Carson Lopez .915 Save percentage 2.16 GAA

Pennridge (10-3, 5-1 in the National Division)

Coach: Jeff Montagna

Leading scorers: Andrew Savona 16 goals 22 assists 38 points

                              Kevin Pico 16/18/34

                              Shane Dachowski 16/12/28

Goaltender: Jacob Gilbert .870 Save percentage 3.76 GAA

Malvern Prep-St. Joseph’s Prep Matchup to Aid the Fight Against RTS

When Malvern Prep hosts St. Joseph’s Prep in an APAC game on Thursday, February 9 at Ice Line, the evening will be about more than just hockey.

The game itself will be the centerpiece of a dine-and-donate event to raise funds for the effort to find a cure for Rubinstein-Taybi Syndrome, or RTS, a rare genetic syndrome.

RTS is a genetic syndrome which is typically a mutation of the CREBBP or EP300 gene. Those with RTS have an intellectual disability along with both developmental and growth delays. Some have other medical issues as well.

Malvern Prep coach Bill Keenan’s 3-year old son Connor is afflicted with RTS, which occurs in one of every 125,000 children.
“It’s a spectrum,” Kenan said, “so some kids have more impediments than others.

“My son was diagnosed last year, so, we’re trying to bring awareness to it for a good cause. We’ve met some other families with the syndrome and we want to do our part in raising awareness and giving back.”

The dine-and-donate event will begin at 7 p.m. and continue until 10:30. The game between the Friars and the Hawks will begin at 8:30. 

Keenan’s entire family will join him in a ceremonial pick drop including his wife Sarah, Connor, and Connor’s siblings. 8-year old J.J. and 6-year old Olivia.

Keenan is grateful for the support he and his family have received from the Malvern Prep community and the area hockey community.

“We’re lucky to have such a great community from Malvern Prep and the hockey community that wants to help us raise awareness,” he said, “and we’re looking forward to a good night. This is our first year obviously having something like this and we’ll build onto it. Maybe have some other families come out in the future, and overall we’re just looking for it to be a fun night where everybody can learn and bring awareness.”

Keenan feels an obligation to be a voice for families dealing with RTS.

“As most people know, I don’t like to be in the spotlight,” he said, “and my family does not like to be in the spotlight. At the end of the day this event isn’t just about Connor. It is for all those with RTS and being able to educate others is a big part of what me and my family are trying to do.”

Council Rock South 5 Holy Ghost Prep 4

WARWICK TOWNSHIP—There was an air of anticipation in the building when Holy Ghost Prep and Council Rock South took the ice at Revolution Ice Gardens Monday night.

The matchup brought together two teams who are legitimate Flyers Cup contenders in their respective classes; the Firebirds in Class AAA and the Golden Hawks in Class AA.

It was the Golden Hawks who prevailed on this occasion overcoming am early 2-0 deficit to post a 5-4 win.

Monday’s game was also a meeting of two of the area’s most respected coaches. Joe Houk has been at Council Rock South for 17 seasons. Gump Whiteside has been at Holy Ghost Prep for 15 seasons and spent eight years at Germantown Academy before that.

Both Houk and Whiteside have won scores of games and have Flyers Cup and state titles on their resumes. They share a passion for the game of hockey—and a mutual respect that goes back to when they played against each other in their high-school days.

“Joe’s a pro,” Whiteside. “Quite honestly, he’s been a mentor to me. I’ve coached Joe for many, many, many, many years and he’s always been a pro,

“He always approaches it the right way. He doesn’t have an ego it’s not about him. It’s about his players.

“And you could see it tonight. He had his team prepared. Joe is the ultimate pro, the ultimate mentor, and quite honestly a great guy.”

Whiteside noted the tenaciousness Houk’s teams regularly bring to the rink. 

“They play with grit,” he said.”

Houk similar sentiments.

“Gump is a good guy, a good human being,” he said. “He brings such a good quality of the sport to the game.

“He’s a man of character. And he cares about the kids. It’s not ‘Win at all costs’ with him. It’s more about development and hopefully, you move some of those kids on.

“He’s just a good guy. He’s a good guy for the sport.”

• Jake Weiner scored a pair of goals 45 seconds apart that turned a 2-2 standoff into a 4-2 South lead and the Golden Hawks never trailed again.

The win was South’s 11th of the season against two defeats with one of the losses coming in overtime.

Houk said going against a team the Firebirds said a lot about his own team’s potential for success.

“If we can at that sustained level we played at tonight,” he said. “The physical part of it, keeping things simple, keeping things to the outside, getting the opportunities on transition. I thought we controlled the whole game (but) they’re good. They’ve got some really, really good skill players. They move the puck well. They’re a good team. They’re going to go far too.”

Brady Baehser scored three goals for the Firebirds, who saw their record drop to 13-6.

“We got up 2-0 and that’s when we started to take them lightly,” he said. “And we just fell apart.”
Baehser said the defeat highlighted the importance delivering a solid effort from the start to finish of each game.”

“We’re a very talented team and we think we can win games based off that. But that outworked us all night, all three periods and it showed on the scoreboard.”

Holy Ghost Prep 2 2 0­—4

Council Rock South 2 3 0—5

First-period goals: Landon Stout (HGP) from Patrick Slook and John Seravalli, 1:03; Brady Baehser (HGP) from Seravalli, 5:18; Blaize Peppe (CRS) unassisted, 8:39; Kevin Koles (CRS) from Gavin Nisenson, :41

Second-period goals: Jake Weiner (CRS) from Illia Muckhin, 3:19; Weiner (CRS) from Jeremy Rayher, 4:04; Baehser (HGP) from Seravalli, 8:26 (pp); Joseph Diiulio (CRS) from Weiner and Pepe, 12:04; Baehser (HGP) from Stout, 12:35 (pp)

Shots: Holy Ghost Prep 27, Council Rock South 41; Saves: Jack Unger (HGP) 36 Carson Lopez (CRS) 23

Malvern Prep 3 St. Augustine Prep 2 OT

Jimmy Jacobs scored a goal 46 seconds into overtime to give the host Friars a 3-2 over St. Augustine Prep Monday afternoon at Ice Line in a non-league encounter.

Gabe Bedwell and Jonathan Holt also scored for Malvern Prep, which improved to 7-5 on the season.

St. Augustine Prep 1 1 0 0—2

Malvern Prep 0 2 0 1—3

First-period goal: Caleb Capecci (SA) from Ty Simonet, 10:16 (pp)

Second-period goals: Gabe Bedwell (MP) from Aidan Kelly and Jonathan Holt, 6:25; Grayson Esposito (SA) from Dom Riccardi, 6:59; Holt (MP) from Bedwell and Kelly, 10:29

Overtime goal: Jimmy Jacobs (MP) from Jeremy Jacobs, :46

Trainer Sal Raffa Doing His Part to Make Hockey a Safer Game

By Rick Woelfel

He is one of hockey’s unsung heroes. Whether he is working for the Philadelphia Flyers or covering an Atlantic Prep Athletic Conference game for La Salle, Sal Raffa is always on alert when he’s at an ice rink. 

After more than two decades as an athletic trainer, Raffa is well aware of the risks that accompany the game of hockey, and cognizant of his responsibility to minimize those risks. When he’s on duty, very little happens on or around the ice that escapes his detection.

“You look for body language for one,” he said. “Whether it be a puck to the foot or hand, or writs, or elbow.

“You’re looking for body language. Typically, it’s body reaction. If you get hit in the throat, your hands automatically go to your throat.

“A lot of times, you look for the environmental stuff, meaning external, like the boards and things like that.  A lot of times, if you’re not paying attention and I’ve seen it in my career, athletes will leave a door open for instance to the bench; you can impale a vital organ.”

Just as athletes must (or should) understand basic fundamentals of their sport, so it is for trainers. Raffa never takes that fundamental knowledge for granted.

“Every night, before I cover an event, I go through a process in my head even on the bench I remember the ABCs, (airways, breathing, circulation)” he said. “On the bench I’m looking and watching everything. You don’t know really what’s going to happen but the ABCs, just know that, and kind of practice that when you’re out of this environment, when you’re at home, and just practice, practice, practice.”

Raffa’s vigilance, and that of his colleagues, is particularly important at the high-school level.

“Myself and the other trainers, we’re the only medical professionals here,” Raffa points out.  “Typically for a professional hockey game, you have physicians, you have an emergency room physician, you have paramedics, you have surgeons, you have everybody. “For (a high-school game) you’re going on your instincts, you’re looking for something that’s going on. The best thing you can do is rely on what you learn and what you know.”

‘What you know’ in Raffa’s case encompasses a broad knowledge base acquired through his years in the profession. When he staffs an event, his medical kit will contain everything from an AED to tourniquets to QuikClot® so he’s prepared in the event of an emergency.

“I have a whole bunch of stuff like that,” Raffa said. “You’re relying on your instincts, you’re holding pressure, calling 9-11.”

One of trainer’s most important attributes is the ability to control his or her emotions in an emergency.

“You gave to remain calm if a kid is choking,” Raffa says. “The worst thing you want to do is freak out. Calm cool collected. 

“Same thing on the ice. You see blood, Okay. It’s blood. Control the situation as best as you can. The environment is not a controlled situation because you’re (in a rink) but you can control it as best as you can.”

Raffa stresses the importance of knowing the emergency action plan of each rink he works in, whether be Hatfield Ice Arena, the Wells Fargo Center, or elsewhere. something he says all trainers should do.

“Before you work any events know what you’re dealing with,” he said. “Know where you’re going, and know the surroundings. Know 911, the paramedic’s number, know the closest hospital know all that stuff. You should know that before you cover any event.”

Wyoming Seminary 8 Hun School 2

Mathis Pellerin delivered a hat trick as Wyoming Seminary downed the host Raiders 8-2 Friday afternoon at Ice Land.

Elian Estulin and Brendan Marino scored first-period goals for Hun School (8-10) which didn’t score again after taking the 2-0 lead.

The Raiders will host La Salle in an APAC game on Wednesday.

Wyoming Seminary 2 3 2—8

Hun School 2 0 0—2

First-period goals: Elian Estulin (HS) from Justin Laplante, 3:04; Brendan Marino (HS) from Estulin and Vincent Gregoire, 4:15; Yoan Gagnon (WS) from Mathis Pelletin, 7:00; Pellerin (YS) from Gagnon and Alexis Billequey, 10:22

Second-period goals: Xavier Beaulac (YS) unassisted, 13:19; Billequey (YS) from Vitello and Gagnon, 13:57; Oliver Van Der Groen from Ford Boock, 15:10

Third-period goals: Pelletin (YS) from Billequey, 1:08; Matyas Tichy from Daniel Svozil, 3:58; Pellerin (WS) unassisted, 16:33.

Council Rock South 5 Central Bucks South 2

Council Rock South 5 Central Bucks South 2

BRISTOL— Starting a game with a four-goal advantage is a big edge for a hockey team. Council Rock South was essentially in that situation Thursday night.
The Golden Hawks scored four unanswered goals in the first period and went on to a 5-2 in over Central Bucks South at Grundy Arena.

The win lifted the Golden Hawks to 10-1-0-1 overall and their 5-0-0-1 mark in divisional play kept them in control of their own destiny in the SHSHL National Division chase.

Both teams came to the rink with lineups liberally sprinkled with junior varsity call ups necessitated by injuries and suspensions and it was Council Rock South which found its equilibrium first with its veterans leading the way.

Blaize Pepe scored the Golden Hawks’ first goal with 5:35 left in the opening period. Kevin Koles made it 2-0 just 61 seconds later and Jake Weiner extended his team’s lead 52 seconds after that with his team’s third goal in a span of 1 minute, 53 seconds.

Koles scored his second goal of the game with 47.3 seconds left in the period leaving the Titans (7-6-0-1, 4-3 in the division) in a very deep hole.

The second period was something of a fresh start for Central Bucks South, including a goaltender change; Jason Magaruh replaced Dom Varacallo in goal.

The Titans cut the deficit in half the middle period courtesy of Michael Nemec and Aydon Thierolf but could come no closer.

“(Council Rock South) is a good team,” said Central Bucks South coach Shaun McGinty. “They capitalized in the first period. We lost 4-0 in the first period, won 2-0 in the second period, and we lost 1-0 (on an empty net goal from Gavin Nisenzon) in the third period.

“We were giving chances (In the first period); a good team is going to capitalize and South is a good team.”

Council Rock South coach Joe Houk acknowledged how difficult it was for his team to stay focused after its strong start.

“It’s kind of hard when you get up to 4-0 he said. “You’ve got to find a way to sustain that level of play. When you get up 4-0 you can’t back off.

(Central Bucks South) is a good team. They’ve got some good players on that team and you can’t let them back in the game.”

Golden Hawks forward Bobby Gilbert praised his team’s effort 

“It was a very hard game,” he said. “Everybody was battling hard, the playoffs are coming up. We seemed to dig more deep though, and we got the job done.”

C.B. South 0 2 0—2

C.R. South 4 0 1—5

First-period goals: Blaize Pepe (CRS from Daniel Filippov, 11:25; Kevin Koles (CRS) from Jake Weiner and Jeremy Rayher, 12:26; Weiner (CRS) from Koles and Pepe, 13:18 (pp); Koles (CRS) from Jordan Sarne, 16:13

Second-period goals: Michael Nemec (CBS) from Aydin Thierolf and Justin Keilman, 3:52; Thierolf (CBS) from Colin Mendham, 11:05 (pp)

Third-period goal: Gavin Nisenzon (CRS) from Koles 16:13 (en)

Shots: C.B. South 31, C.R. South 30; Saves: Dom Varacallo (CBS) 7 and Jason Magaruh (CBS) 18, Carson Lopez (CRS) 29

Gump Whiteside Announces Retirement

Gump Whiteside has announced his retirement as the hockey coach at Holy Ghost Prep. Whiteside will step down at the end of the 2023 season, his 15th as the Firebirds’ head coach.

In that span, Whiteside’s teams have won two Flyers Cup Class AAA titles (in 2015 and ’17), the 2015 Pennsylvania Class AAA state championship, and five National Scholastic Invitational tournament titles.

In 2020, Whiteside was honored by USA Hockey with the 2020 Bob O’Connor Award for Excellence in Coaching Education. The award is given each year to a member of the volunteer coaching staff of USA Hockey’s coaching education program.

Whiteside previously coached at Germantown Academy. He will remain at Holy Ghost Prep as the assistant director of athletics and assistant director for the Holt Center and facilities.

APAC Standings as of 2-8-23

                                              Won  Lost  OTW  OTL Pts  GF  GA

La Salle (10-8-2)                     5       2        0       0      15   27  18 

Holy Ghost Prep  (15-5)        4      1        1        1      15  34  27

St. Joseph’s Prep (14-5-2)    3      4        1      0         11  24  28

Hun School (9-12)              3       5        0      0        9     24  30

Malvern Prep (8-6)                2       5        0      1     4     24   25

Game Results

Wednesday, February 8

Hun School 2, Malvern Prep 1

La Salle 4 Council Rick South 0

Holy Ghost Prep 7 Pennsbury 5