HATFIELD TOWNSHIP—Pennridge’s first steps toward a successful Flyers Cup title defense turned out to be a leisurely stroll. The Rams parlayed a four-goal first period into a 9-2 win over Lower Merion Tuesday night in a Class AA first-round game at Hatfield Ice.
The second-seeded Rams (14-5), the defending Class AA Flyers Cup and state champions, will face 10th-seeded Neshaminy in a quarterfinal game that is tentatively set for Thursday at a site and time to be announced.
The Rams got a big effort from sophomore Shane Dachowski, who scored three goals and assisted on a fourth. Two of his goals came in the first period that saw the Rams build their 4-0 lead. Kevin Pico and Colin Dachowski scored the other two.
Shane Dachowski says the veterans on the roster are at ease in the Flyers Cup environment.
“We’re comfortable,” he said, “the returning players. “But still, ‘Win or go home. You’ve got to put that one in your head.”
Nick Young assisted on two of the first-period goals. He says the players are a close group off the ice, which in turn makes them more efficient on the ice.
“I’ve played with a lot of these kids throughout the years,” he said. “Everybody is so nice and tries to get together as much as we can so it really helps us out to be able to play together.”
Kiernan Ryan got 15th-seeded Lower Merion (10-10-0-1) on the scoreboard 28 seconds onto the middle period, but Andrew Lizak’s power-play goal and Colin Dachowski’s tip-in just 24 seconds later extended the Pennridge lead to 6-1 just 2:32 into the period.
Jack Rabinowitz scored for the Aces with 3:29 left in the period made it a 6-2 game. Lower Merion didn’t score again and the Rams added two third-period goals from James Rush, with a second goal from Pico in between.
Starter Jacob Winton and Jacob Gilbert split time in goal, making 29 saves between them. Pennridge was in control all evening long but at evening’s end Head Coach Jeff Montagna was still searching for consistency.
“We had a great first period,” he said. “We had a (terrible) second period. I thought in the second period we allowed an (opponent) with 10 guts play at their speed.
“We told them ‘That can’t happen.’ We don’t have the luxury of taking periods off moving forward.”
Ice chips—The Rams are attempting to become the first team to successfully defend a Class AA Flyers Cup title since Downingtown East won its third straight on 2019.
Lower Merion 0 2 0—2
Pennridge 4 2 3—9
First-period goals: Kevin Pico (P) from Colin Dachowski, 3:44; Shane Dachowski (P) from Nick Young, 6:40; Colin Dachowski (P) from Trey MIkulich, 10:29; Shane Dachowski (P) from Young, 14:49 (sh)
Second-period goals: Kiernan Ryan (LM) unassisted, :28; Andrew Lizak (P) from Pico and Tyler Manto, 1:58 (pp); Colin Dachowski (P) from Jesse Ufbergco and Andrew Savona, 2:22; Jack Rabinowitz (LM) from Jesse Ufberg, 13:31
Third-period goals: James Rush (P) from Dane Fitchitt, 2:53 (pp); Pico (P) from Shane Dachowski, 5:30; Rush (P) Lizak and Fitchitt, 6:38
Shots: Lower Merion 31, Pennridge 43; Saves: Juliano Luca (LM) 34, Jacob Winton (P) 14 and Jacob Gilbert (P) 15