HATFIELD TOWNSHIP—Persistence paid off for Pennridge Thursday night.
The Rams had an abundance of opportunities early on but still trailed Neshaminy 1-0 approaching the midway point of the second period of their Class AA Flyers Cup quarterfinal.
But the situation changed in the blink of an eye, or precisely in a span of 13 seconds as Trey Mikulich and Kevin Pico scored goals to give the Pennridge a lead it would not relinquish. At evening’s end, the scoreboard at Hatfield Ice showed the Rams as 4-2 winners, assuring them of a place in Monday’s semifinals against Owen J. Roberts.
Second-seeded Pennridge (15-5) is seeking to become the first Class AA Cup champion to successfully defend its title since Downingtown East won its third straight title in 2019. Tenth-seeded Neshaminy closed its season at 13-7-1.
Nolan Geria’s power-play goal 5:49 into the opening period gave the ‘Skins the early lead but it was goaltender Cory Hemberger who kept them in front. The junior stopped 14 shots in the first frame.
“That kid’s a really good goalie,” said Pennridge coach Jeff Montagna. “He’s as good a goalie as there is in this league. That kid can flat play and it took all 44 shots we had tonight to beat him.”
Two of those shots could be considered the most significant however. Mikulich scored his goal 7:33 into the second period, then assisted on Kevin Pico’s goal at 7:46.
The two goal scorers offer a unique contrast. Pico scored 24 goals during the SHSHL season and has scored four more in two Flyers Cup tournament games.
Mikulich, a defenseman by trade, had scored just one goal all season prior to Thursday night.
“I don’t score a lot,” he said. “I’m more of a defensive player.”
The goal Mikulich scored on Thursday was more a matter of happenstance than design. “To be honest, I didn’t look to score on that,” he said. “I just looked to get it on net, and it went in.”
The Rams extended their lead 3:48 into the third period when Shane Dachowski tipped in a shot from Andrew Savona.
Neshaminy responded not quite two minutes later with a goal from Max Gallagher and the issue wasn’t settled until Pico scored into an empty net with 23 seconds remaining.
At that point, emotions in the Neshaminy contingent spilled over. Three players received a combined four penalties. Gerea received a minor penalty and a game misconduct. Gallagher received game misconduct and Ben Odendahl was accessed a match penalty.
There were more fireworks following the final buzzer. Odendahl received an additional match penalty, Michael Knipple was accessed a match penalty, Gerea received a second game misconduct and Jack Halloran received a game misconduct.
Neshaminy coach Matt DeMatteo declined a request for comment following the game.
Neshaminy 1 0 1—2
Pennridge 0 2 2—4
First-period goal: Nolan Geria (N) from Max Gallagher, 5:49 (pp)
Second-period goals: Trey Mikulich (P) from Shane Dachowski and Colin Dachowski, 7:33; Kevin Pico (P) from Shane Dachowski and Mikulich, 7:46
Third-period goals: Shane Dachowski (P) from Andrew Savona, 3:48; Gallagher (N) from J.J., Hathaway, 5:45 (pp); Pico (P) from Tyler Manto, 16:37 (en)
Shots: Neshaminy 31, Pennridge 44; Saves: Cory Hemberger (N) 40; Jacob Winton (P) 29
One thought on “Pennridge 4 Neshaminy 2”
Thanks for doing this, can’t get high school hockey coverage anywhere else, I appreciate it! Real class acts, some of those Neshaminy boys…