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)
HATFIELD TOWNSHIP—If a single word could best describe Council Rock South’s performance Thursday night it would be ‘workmanlike.’ Four different players scored goals and Carson Lopez was perfect between the pipes as the Golden Hawks shut out Boyertown 4-0 in a Class AA Flyers Cup quarterfinal at Hatfield Ice.
Top-seeded South (19-1-0-1) will face Conestoga or Pennsbury in a Monday night semifinal at the same venue. The Hawks will be seeking to return to the finals after losing the title game to Pennridge last spring.
Eighth-seeded Boyertown closed its session at 14-6.
It took South some time to get control of the game. Tyler Griffin in the Boyertown net kept the Hawks at bay for a period and a half. The freshman finished with 45 saves.
Carson Lopez watched Griffith at work when he wasn’t occupied guarding South’s net.
“That goalie is real good,” he said. “He stoned us left and right. Take it from me, he’s going to steal this whole thing if he has a couple years of high school under his belt.”
Griffin made 14 saves in the first period while the Hawks limited their foes to five shots at the other end.
South finally broke through 8:22 into the second frame when Kevin Koles caught iron with a shot and Jake Weiner put in the rebound. Jeremy Rayher made it a 2-0 game at the 10:38 mark and James Diiulio extended his team’s lead when he beat Griffith with six seconds left in the period.
“We’re a grinding team,” Werner said. “That’s what our goals are. The dirty goals are the nice goals.”
Weiner, a freshman, says the Hawks rely more on grit than finesse. “We’re not a flashy team,” he said. “We like playing in the corners and getting dirty.”
Blaize Pepe completed the scoring for the evening when he solved Griffith 7:09 into the third period. It was a win the Hawks had to work for, despite the scoreline.
“I think we made ourselves work for this one,” he said. “We weren’t really focused coming into the game. We’ve got to eliminate that because if we come out like that (in the semifinals) we’ll be going home.”
A victory in a single-elimination tournament would seemingly be cause for celebration, but Lopez, one of four seniors on South’s playoff roster, took a different view.
“I don’t think any of us are enjoying it,” he said. “We definitely thought we should have played a lot better, but we’re definitely ready to go to work on Monday.
Ice chips—South enjoyed a 49-21 edge in shots. The Hawks have won three Class AA Flyers Cup titles, in 2009, ‘11, and ‘12.
Boyertown 0 0 0—0
C.R. South 0 3 1—4
Second-period goals: Jake Weiner (CRS) from Kelvin Koles, 8:22; Jeremy Rayher (CRS) from Illia Mukhin and Weiner, 10:38; James Diiulio, from Koles and Chase Tovsky, 16:54 (pp)
Third-period goal: Blaise Peppe (CRS) from Tovsky (CRS), 7:09
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
WEST GOSHEN—After an up-and-down regular season and a loss in the APAC play-in game, Malvern Prep had an opportunity to make a fresh start Monday night in the quarterfinal round of the Class AAA Flyers Cup. The Friars made the most of the opportunity.
Jimmy and Jeremy Jacobs two goals each as Malvern Prep, the defending Cup champion, turned in a dominant performance in a 6-2 win over Father Judge at Ice Line.
The fourth-seeded Friars (10-7). will face top-seeded La Salle in the semifinals on a date to be announced. The fifth-seeded Crusaders closed the campaign at 15-4-0-1. Three of their losses were to APAC teams.
It’s best to be wary of an unfamiliar opponent at Flyers Cup time, and the Friars and the Crusaders did not meet during the regular season.
Jimmy Jacobs said the Friars focused on what they had to do as versus what the Crusaders might do.
“I think they only thing we could do is just play out game,” he said, “and see how we do from there. You can’t really have a game plan if you’ve never played against them before.”
Jeremy Jacobs said that lack of familiarity helped keep him and his teammates focused.
“It’s the Flyers Cup, it’s one and done,” he said. “It could be over if you lose. You’ve definitely got to treat the game like it’s a championship game, and just go out there and play as hard as you can.”
The Friars did just that, especially in the first period. It took Jimmy Jacobs just 2 minutes, 16 sends to get a puck past Crusader goaltender David Marcellino to give Malvern Prep a 1-0 lead. Jeremy Jacobs extended the Friars’ lead with a shorthand goal at the 8:09 mark. Devon Mallon got father Judge on the scoreboard exactly 12 minutes unto the opening session, but Jack Sharer answered for the Friars with 2:15 remaining in the period.
Jeremy Jacobs spoke to the importance of his team’s fast start.
“Just to get the tempo of the game going,” he said, and show them who we really are, and put pucks in the back of the net quick.
“Quick starts are really the key to games. Momentum off the start is huge.”
Jimmy Jacobs and Gavin Wilson scored goals 1 minute, 47 seconds apart to extend the Friars’ lead to 5-1 2:27 into the second period. The Friar offense was in high gear; by evening’s end they had been credited with 45 shots on goal.
Robert Cattalo scored for Judge 9:48 into the period to cut into the Malvern Prep lead but Jeremy Jacobs scored his second goal of the game 8:38 into the final period to put the exclamation point on the Friars’ win.
Jimmy Jacobs said he and his teammates are focused on the task at hand. “The good thing with the Flyers Cup, and the bad thing, is it’s one and done.” he said.”
Father Judge. 1 1 0—2
Malvern Prep 3 2 1—6
First-period goals: Jimmy Jacobs (MP) from Jeremy Jacobs and Gabe Bedwell, 2:36; Jeremy Jacobs (MP) from Jimmy Jacobs, 8:09 (sh); Devon Mallon (FJ) from Robert Cattalo, 12:00; Jack Sharer (MP) unassisted, 14:45
Second-period goals: Jimmy Jacobs (MP) from Jeremy Jacobs, :40; Gavin Wilson (MP) unassisted, 2:27 Carratlo (FJ) from Gavin Moore, 9:48
Third-period goal: Jeremy Jacobs (MP) unassisted, 8:22 (sh)
Shots: Father Judge 29, Malvern Prep 45; Saves: David Marcellino 39, Brandon Novabilski 27
WEST GOSHEN—Things came together for Malvern Prep Monday night. It was certainly the right time. Six different players scored goals as the Indians downed Radnor 7-2 in a first-round Class A Flyers Cup matchup at Ice Line.
Eleventh-seeded North (6-10-1-1) advances to a second-round game that is tentatively scheduled for Thursday against Strath Haven or Hershey. Sixth-seeded Radnor closes the season at 11-8.
“Honestly it feels good said senior forward Noah Epstein, the Indians’ captain. “It’s a well-deserved win from the whole team.
“I think we finally got something. We’re playing as a team.”
The Indians took advantage of an early power play to take the lead. Nick Hahn scored from between the two circles just 2:26 into the first frame.
The Ramparts had their chances after that but Ian Goldberg made some quality saves in the North net. Andrew Knight pocketed the equalizer at 11:17 but Goldberg’s work in goal energized his teammates.
“We have a great goaltender,” Epstein said. “Ian is always playing amazing. He makes things easy for us, honestly. He pushes the rebounds out and we get them out for him, He does everything for this team.”
At that point momentum shifted dramatically in the Indians’ direction. Lucas Siomos, Ryan Keil, and Drew Birden scored goals in a span of 2:24 to give North lead at. The end of the first frame. All were on long shots that Radnor netminder James Danner seemed to have a good look at.
Radnor’s Ryan Carr and North’s Jackson Accardi traded goals in the middle period. Jesse Schaff and Siomos scored found the back of the net in third, though Danner picked up his level of play in the last two periods.
Goldberg enjoyed the opportunity to play with a lead. “I was feeling pretty confident,” he said. “I really didn’t have to do much in the third. I just knew if I played well, they’d play well too.
C.R. North 4 1 2—7
Radnor 1 1 0—2
First-period goals: Nick Hahan (CRN) from Jackson Accardi, 2:36 (pp); Andrew Knight (R) unassisted, 11:17; Lucas Siomos (CRN) from Dan Maglathlin and Zach Weissman, 13:35; Ryan Keil from Maglathlin, 15:13 (pp); Drew Borden (CRN) from Hahn, 16:50
Second-period goals: Ryan Carr (R) from Knight, 13:04; Accardi (CRN) from Brody’s Capaldi, 14:27
Third-period goals: Jesse Schaff (CRN) from Weissman (CRN) and Maglathlin, 3:18; Siomos (CRN) unassisted, 13:28
Shots: C.R. North 32, Radnor 29; Saves: Ian Goldberg (CRN) 27, James Danner (R) 25
7. Garnet Valley vs. 10. Springfield-Delco 9:00 at Skatium
WC Rustin 10 Wissahickon 0
Class AA First Round
Conestoga 6 Downingtown West 3
Class AAA First Round
Holy Ghost Prep 10 Cardinal O’Hara 1
Malvern Prep 6 Father Judge 2
All Tickets for Flyers Cup games must be purchased online via the Box Office link on the Flyers Cup web site. Make sure you select the correct game. Flyers Cup Programs will also be sold only online. The link for that is at the top of the Box Office. You can pick your program up by showing your Program purchase ticket at any Flyers Cup venue.
BRISTOL—The defense never rested. And at evening’s end, Council Rock South was rewarded for its defensive work with a 4-2 win over Pennsbury in the SHSHL National Division championship game before a packed house at Grundy Arena.
Thursday’s win gave the top-seeded Golden Hawks (17-1-0-1) the third SHSHL title in their history. The previous two came in 2010 and 2020.
Third-seeded Pennsbury fell to 14-6. Three of the Falcons’ defeats have been at the hands of the Hawks.
Not that the victors had an easy time of it. The game plan was to contain the Falcons’ Brendan Macainsh, who came into the game with 38 goals. He finished with two more but the Hawks were able to neutralize the Falcons’ high-flying attack to come extent; many of Pennsbury’s shot attempts were from long range or outside the faceoff dots; the Falcons finished with just 22 shots on goal to South’s 40.
The Hawks congratulate each other after Thursday’s 4-2 over Pennsbury for the SHSHL NAtional Division title
Hawks’ netminder Carson Lopez was in good form, but got plenty of help from his blue-line corps.
“(Pennsbury) likes to stretch the ice out a lot,” Lopez said, “So, about halfway through the game, we told our defense ‘Enough with the pinch and start backing off. Play in the neutral zone.’ And it worked.”
South defenseman and captain Kevin Koles said the key to the win involved giving the Falcons and Macainsh as few opportunities as possible.
“Limiting them to (22) shots was very crucial,” he said. “We had to stop one of their best players. They obviously played him a lot and we locked him down. He only had two goals on us.
Pennsbury coach Ryan Daley noted his team needed more chances than it got.
“We only had 22 shots,” he pointed out, “And we’re used to putting 15 a period up. “They played us very, very well. But, we didn’t quit.”
Chase Trovsky scored a pair of first-period goals to give the Hawks a 2-0 lead after the first frame.
It appeared a clock malfunction might have cost South a third goal. A scramble in the Falcons crease was in progress in the waning seconds of the period and the puck wound up in the net but the buzzer failed to sound. After a lengthy consultation, the goal was disallowed.
Joseph Weston extended South’ lead with a goal at the 8:02 mark of the second period.
Macainsh got Pennsbury on the board with 3:42 left in the middle period when his shot from the deep right-wing corner caught Lopez by surprise.
Macainsh briefly made it a one-goal game 5:20 into the third period when he scored a power-play goal after the Hawks were caught with too many men on the ice.
It took Blaize Pepe just 48 seconds to respond for the Hawks however and Lopez was impregnable the rest of the way.
Koles said he and his teammates knew how dangerous the Falcons were after Pennsbury scored eight goals against Pennridge on Wednesday in the semifinals.
“We heard about what happened yesterday,” he said, “and how they beat Pennridge. So, we knew what we had to do coming into the game, and that’s what we did.”
Ice chips—Both teams will be back at Grundy Arena on Tuesday for first-round Class AA Flyers Cup games. The top-seeded Hawks will face number-16 Spring Ford at 8:15 while the fifth-seeded Falcons will face number-12 Abington at 6:15.
Pennsbury 0 1 1_2
C.R. South 2 1 1—4
First-period goals: Chase Tovsky (CRS) from Blaize Pepe, 8:03; Tovsky (CRS) from Kevin Koles and Pepe, 16:37;
Second-period goals: Jonah Weston (CRN) from Bobby Gilbert and James Diiulio, 8:02; Brendan Macainsh (P) unassisted, 13:18
Third-period goals: Macainsh (P) from Chris Sarvere, 5:20; Pepe (CRS) unassisted, 6:08
Shots: Pennsbury 22. Council Rock South 35; Saves: Aaron McDaniel (P) 31; Carson Lopez (CRS) 20
HATFIELD TOWNSHIP—The Galloping Ghosts are still rolling along. Pat Stelacio delivered a hat trick that helped Abington overcome a 2-1 first-period deficit and go on to a 7-2 win over Plymouth Whitemarsh Wednesday at Hatfield Ice night to claim its second consecutive SHSHL American Division championship.
The win marks the eighth time Abington (16-0-1-1) has won a SHSHL title of some sort and marks the 50th anniversary of its first. The Galloping Ghosts claimed the first three SHSHL titles from 1974-76 and won another championship in 1978. They won back-to-back National Division titles in 2003-04 before taking the American Division title last season.
The historical significance of Wednesday night’s win was not lost on Abington coach Ken Brzozowski.
“That’s exactly what I talked to the boys about,” he said. “We talked about that with our players before the game. That wasn’t lost on them as well., that they had a chance to really cement themselves as one of the best teams that came out of Abington.
“We’ve won back-to-back championships but we lost the (American Division) championship three years ago by one goal to a very good Wissahickon team. So, these players have been at this level for three years in a row.”
Stelacio transferred to Abington at the urging of an older brother. Those have been the best two years of my life,” he said.
The Colonials (12-7) jumped in front on a goal from Dylan Novitsky 10:04 into the opening period. Jordan Heydt answered for Abington two-and-a-half minutes later before Novitsky scored a power-play goal with 61 seconds remaking in the period.
The goal came just seven seconds after Abington’s Ian Heydt received a two-minute sentence for hooking.
It would prover to be the Colonials’ last hurrah.
Matt Kramer tied the game for Abington 7:28 into the middle period on a shot from the right circle off an offensive zone draw.
Stelacio put Abington in front with a shorthanded effort with 6:11 left in the period in a prelude to a surge that saw Stelacio, Steven Dorn, and Ian Heydt all beat Colonial netminder Chris Maslij in the final 1:59 of the second session. Heydt’s a shot from the left wing hit the back of the net just before the buzzer sounded. At that point, Abington was home free.
“They jumped quick,” Stelacio said. “They got two. It was 2-1 and we bounced back. We just ran from there. That was amazing.”
Stelacio recalls watching his brother play for the Galloping Ghosts before he enrolled at Abington. “I came to the games,” he recalled. “I completely wanted to be part of this experience, all the energy they had. It was great I really wanted a part of that.”
Ice Chips—Abington is seeded 12th for the Class AA Flyers Cup and will face fifth-seeded Pennsbury on Tuesday at 6:15 at Grundy Arena. The Colonials are the ninth seed in Class A and will face eighth-seeded Penncrest Monday at 7:00 at the Skatium.
Plymouth Whitemarsh 2 0 0—2
Abington 1 5 1—7
First-period goals: Dylan Novitsky (PW) from Matt Flynn, 10:04; Jordan Heydt (A) from Ian Heydt and Ryan Portner, 12:42; Novitsky (PW) from. Conlan Carpenter, 15:59
Second-period goals: Matt Kramer (A) from Ian Heydt, 7:28; Pat Stelacio (A) from Ian Heydt, 10:49 (sh); Stelacio (A) from Griffin Carpenter, 15:01; Steven Dorn (A) from Sam Paulik, 15:58; Ian Heydt (A) from Jordan Heydt, 16:59
Third-period goal: Stelacio (A) from Sam Abramson and Carpenter, 9:53 (pp)
Shots: Plymouth Whitemarsh 21, Abington 40; Saves: Chris Maslij (PW) 33, Sam Nemec (A) 19