Flyers Cup Committee Lists Eligible Teams

A total of 66 teams, competing in five divisions, have been declared eligible for the 2023 Flyers Cup. The 44rd edition of the tournament will conclude the 2022-23 season.

The 66 eligible teams designated by the Flyers Cup Committee represent an increase of six teams over last year.

The boys’ teams were slotted based on enrollment, with line of demarcation between Class A and Class AA teams being 625 male students.

The biggest change will be in Class AAA where three co-op teams will be under consideration. Perkiomen Valley will combine with Coventry Christian, Archbishop Carroll will align with Pope John Paul while Bishop Shanahan has entered a co-op arrangement with Coatesville.

The co-op agreement those that the PIAA authorizes in other sports. Flyers Cup Committee President Eric Tye explains that the idea of the co-ops is to help new hockey programs get off the ground.

“It’s the Flyers Cup Committee trying to help new teams get started,” he said. “The co-op is only good for two years. So, in two years they need to do something.”

In recent years, the Class AAA bracket has been the exclusive domain of private schools.  The last public school team to win a Class AAA Flyers Cup was Council Rock in 1991.

The list below is up to date through November 18 and is subject to change. The number of teams that will actually be invited will be determined by the Flyers Cup Committee.

The tournament field will be named on February 26; the tournament kicks off on March 6.

Class AAA (10)

Archbishop Carroll/Pope John Paul II

Bishop Shanahan/Coatesville

Cardinal O’Hara

Father Judge

Holy Ghost Prep

La Salle

Malvern Prep

Perkiomen Valley

Roman Catholic

St. Joseph’s Prep

Class AA

Abington

Avon Grove

Bensalem

Boyertown

Central Bucks East

Central Bucks South

Central Bucks West

Conestoga

Council Rock South

Cumberland Valley

Downingtown East

Downingtown West

Haverford

Lower Merion

Neshaminy

North Penn

Owen J. Roberts

Pennridge

Pennsbury

Quakertown

Ridley

Souderton

Spring Ford

Class A (17)

Council Rock North

Garnet Valley

Hershey

Lower Dauphin

Marple Newtown

Palmyra

Penncrest
Plymouth Whitemarsh

Radnor

Springfield-Delco

Springfield-Montco

Strath Haven

Unionville

West Chester East

West Chester Henderson

West Chester Rustin

Wissahickon

New Jersey/Delaware (6)

Cherokee

Eastern

Kingsway

Moorsetown

Salesianum

Washington Township

Girls (10)

Avon Grove

Conestoga

Downingtown West

Kingsway

Pennridge

Radnor

Unionville

West Chester East

West Chester Henderson

West Chester Rustin

Thanksgiving Eve Celebrates High School Hockey

The night before Thanksgiving is a highlight of the high-school hockey season. The schedule features a number of traditional rivalries. Here’s a look at the schedule.

SHSHL

Central Bucks South vs. North Penn                   5:00 at Hatfield

Souderton vs. Pennridge                                      7:00 at Hatfield

Council Rock North vs. Council Rock South      7:00 at RIG 

Neshaminy vs. Pennsbury                                    7:20 at Grundy

Upper Moreland vs. William Tennent/HH          8:45 at RIG

C.B. East vs. C.B. West                                         9:00 at Hatfield

APAC

Father Judge vs. Holy Ghost Prep (non-league) 8:10 at FSZ 

La Salle vs. Malvern Prep                                       8:30 at Ice Line

ICSHL

Downingtown West vs. Downingtown East         5:10 at Ice Line

Marple Newtown vs Garnet Valley                       5:30 at Ice Works

Archbishop Carroll/PJP vs. Great Valley/P-vIlle   6:00 at PNY

Unionville vs. WC Henderson                                  6:10 at Ice Line

WC Rustin vs WC East                                              6:50 at Ice Line       

Haverford vs. Springfield Delco                               7:00 at Skatium

Oxford vs. Sun Valley/Chichester                          7:00 at IceWorks

Spring Ford vs. Perk Valley                                     7:00 at Center Ice

Kingsway Girls vs WC Rustin Girls                         7:45 at PNY

Conestoga vs. Radnor                                               7:50 at Ice Line

D-town Wet Girls vs. Avon Grove Girls                  8:30 at Ice Line

Strath Haven vs. Penncrest                                     8:30 at Ice Works

OJR vs. Boyertown                                                  9:00 at Center Ice

Conestoga Girls vs Radnor Girls                                9:30 at Ice Line                     

Souderton 6 C.B. West 1

HATFIELD TOWNSHIP— Souderton found out a lot about itself Thursday night. Coming off an emotional last-second loss 24 hours earlier, the Big Red responded with a solid effort in a 6-1 SHSHL National win over Central Bucks West at Hatfield Ice Arena.

It was Souderton’s first win in four tries while the Bucks dropped to 1-2. The result will not factor into the divisional standings as the two teams are scheduled to play again on January 25th.

But that mattered little to Souderton coach Ryan Uchniat, whose team came into the game thirsting for a win.

“I think they showed a lot of resiliency, he said. “They showed a lot of resiliency  last night coming back in the third period.

“This team has a real positive attitude, they’ve a little bit of a giddy up. It’s fun to see, it’s fun to be a part of as well.”

Souderton’s top line had a big night. Nick Smith delivered a three-goal hat trick. Seth Grossman scored two goals and assisted on three others while Maxwell Ryon provided a goal and an assist.

Smith noted the win was especially satisfying after 4-3 loss to Council Rock North on Wednesday that saw the Big Red surrender the winning goal with 2.4 seconds remaining in regulation.

“It felt good,” he said. “After a tough loss like that with two seconds left, it felt good to finally win.”

Smith made his presence felt early on, scoring twice to put his team up 2-0 just 7:45 into the opening period.

The Bucks got closer when Adam Ricci won a goal-mouth scramble to put the puck behind Big Red netminder Noah Connor during a power play at the 8:21 mark of the second period.

But Souderton put its resiliency on display when Ryon answered back at 10:26 before Smith completed his hat trick with exactly four minutes left in the period.

Grossman scored his two goals in the third frame.

The Big Red enjoyed a 42-21 advantage in shots. West goalkeeper Liam Rogers did some quality work between the pipes to keep his team in the game for most of the way.

Smith spoke to the speed and skill of the Big Red’s number-one line.”I think that’s our strong point,” he said. “The first line has a lot of skill.”

Smith believes that Thursday’s performance is a sign of things to come. Souderton has scored nine goals in its last two games after scoring just three in its first two games combined.

“I think we can win some games finally,” Smith said. “We’re starting to finally score and not scoring one goal a game. I think we can finally capitalize on some opportunities.”

.

C.B. West 0 1 0—1

Souderton 2 2 2—6

First-period goals: Nick Smith (S) from Seth Grossman and Caden O’Neill, 2:50; Smith from Maxwell Ryon, 7:45

Second-period goals: Adam Ricci (CBW) from Luke Tremmel, 8:21 (pp); Ryon (S) from Grossman, 10:26; Smith (S) from Grossman and Matt Malanga, 13:00

Third-period goals: Grossman (S) unassisted, 3:31; Grossman (S) unassisted, 8:00

Shots: C.B. West 21, Souderton 42; Saves: Liam Rogers (CBW) 36, Noah Connor (S) 20

C.R. North 4 Souderton 3

BRISTOL—The conclusion was dramatic, to say the least. Karson Grainey’s power-play goal with 2.4 seconds remaining in the third period was the decisive blow as Council Rock North edged Souderton 4-3 Wednesday night at Grundy Arena in a Suburban High School Hockey League National Division matchup.

The winning goal capped a late flurry that the Big Red (0-3, 0-1 in divisional play) score three times in the third period, including twice in a span of 14 seconds to tie the game with 50 seconds left in regulation, only to yield Grainey’s game winner, which came while Souderton’s Seth Grossman was sitting in the penalty box after drawing an elbowing penalty with 23 seconds remaining before overtime. 

The win was the first for the Indians in four starts (1-1 in the division). 

“I think it gives us a big energy boost,” Grainey said. “Especially going into our rivalry game next week (against Council Rock South next Wednesday). I think we’re moe confident.

“It wasn’t the most pretty win, but we’re more confident now, and we’ve just got to keep it rolling from here.”

Goals from Lucas Simmons and Michael Booth gave North a 2-0 lead before Jackson Accardi extended his team’s lead to 3-0 with 1:02 left in the second frame.

Grossman ended Ina Goldberg’s bid for a shutout 2:43 into the final period but North still looked to be in control as the clock wound  down. When Maxwell Ryon scored to make it a one-goal game some eyebrows were raised but North still had time on its side with just 1:04 remaining in regulation. Grossman’s second goal of the night altered the landscape significantly but just 27 seconds later he was flagged for a no-doubt-about-it elbowing penalty to give North a power play.

Grainey’s goal came on a rebound off Simos’s original shot. The junior found the top right quadrant of the net after Souderton netminder Noah Connor made an initial save.

“I think what’s really fortunate is that is was a good learning opportunity for the kids about playing three periods 17 minutes all the way through” said North coach Greg McDonald. “They’re lucky to come out on top. So, hopefully it helps us down the road.

Meanwhile, Souderton coach Ryan Uchniat had a forum to address his team about the importance of killing penalties.

“I think that’s two weeks in a row where our penalty kill has come up short,” he said. “With (23) seconds left, we needed to really execute.”

Uchniat also spoke to the importance of staying out of the box altogether. “We’ve really got to be more disciplined as a team in general,” he said. “It starts with me, making sure we stay focused. That means focused on the simple things, playing solid hockey and playing within the whistles.”

Souderton 0 0 3—3

C.R. North 2 1 1—4

Pennridge 6 C.B. South 5

HATFIELD—A lot went on at Hatfield Ice Thursday night. Much of it in the realm of the unexpected.

Pennridge rallied from deficits of 3-0 and 5-1 to post a 6-5 overtime win over Central Bucks South in a Suburban High School Hockey League National Division non-league matchup.

Kevin Pico delivered the game winner for the Rams 34 seconds into overtime after the last period was shortened to nine minutes from the usual 17 after a combination of 10 goals and an abundance of penalties consumed the bulk of the allocated ice slot.

Six different players scored for the Rams (1-1). Andrew Savona, Dane Fichte, James Rush, Shane Dachowski, and Josh Kelly found the back of the net before Kevin Pico pocketed the game winner. South netminder Dom Varacallo stopped Savona’s initial shot before Pico put in the rebound.

“We needed something to wake us up,” said Pennridge coach Jeff Montagna, who team squared its record at 1-1. “We needed to find that edge that we’ve been lacking in practice. Early in this season, we haven’t had it. And, I think getting down tonight against a rival with as much emotion as there was going in here, woke us up.”

The Titans (1-1) jumped to a 3-0 lead before the first period was seven minutes old. Aydin Thierolf scored twice with a goal from D.J. Lindenmuth in between.

Colin Mendham and Michael Nemec added goals to give South a 5-1 lead 5:46 into the second frame.

Dane Fitchett drew the Rams a bit closer with 5:55 left in the period. Pico had a chance to bring his team closer when the Rams were awarded a penalty shot with 15.8 seconds left in the second period but was denied by Varacallo.

Both teams saw there efforts hampered by repeated trips to the penalty box. The officials whistled a total of 19 infractions, 12 of them to the Titans.

The number of stoppages and altercations resulted in the final period being shortened to nine minutes at the direction of rink management. Faced with a three-goal deficit, the Rams wasted no time.

 Rush made it a 5-3 game 1:20 into the final session. Dachowski followed at 5:54 and Kelly tied the game at 6:58.

 The five-minute, three-on-three overtime was allowed to go forward and it took Pico and Savona just moments to end matters.

“Our guys let off the gas,” said South coach Shaun McGinty, “and they’re a good team. A good team is going to find a way to win. We allowed them a little bit of momentum and momentum is a big part of the game in a team sport.”

Ice chips—The decision to shorten the the third period was part of a joint effort between the SHSHL and area rinks to complete scheduled games within their allocated 90-minute ice slots. The C.B. South-Pennridge contest was followed by a game between North Penn and Central Bucks West which was succeeded by an adult league game.

C.B. South 3 2 0 0—5

Pennridge 1 1 3 1—6

First-period goals: Aydin Thierolf (CBS) from Sean Cutter, 3:06; D.J. Lindenmuth (CBS) from Matt Crouch, 4:14; Thierolf (CBS) unassisted 6:57 (pp); Andrew Savona (P) unassisted, 16:34

Second-period goals: Colin Mendam (CBS) unassisted, :38; Michael Nemec (CBS) from Justin Keilman, 5:46; Dane Fitchett (P) from Trey Mikulich, 11:05

Third-period goals: James Rush (P) from Mitchell Mothersbaugh, 1:20; Shane Dachowski (P) from Savona, 5:54; Josh Kelly (P) from Andrew Lizak and Tyler Manto

Overtime goal: Kevin Peco (P) from Savona, :34

Shots: Pennridge 35, C.B. South 28; Saves: Dom Varacallo (CBS) 29, Jacob Winton (P) 23

SHSHL Preview

 National Division

Bensalem

Coach: Jordan Roth (second season)

Last year: 3-11

Key players: Jr. Ricky Gonzalez (G); Sr. Danny Mackley (D-F); Jr. Alex Hood (F-D); So. Alex Bazylevich (F-D); Fr. Lucas Gonzalez (F-D)

Outlook: The Owls took some big strides in their inaugural season last year and are looking continue that trend moving forward.

“This year we’re emphasizing the importance of ‘team’ Roth said. “Everything we do represents our team, our passion, and our purposeAs a team, we are ready to lead by example and be tough to play against.”   

Central Bucks East

Coach: Jeff Mitchell (third season)

Last year: 6-10, Flyers Cup participant

Key players: Sr. Matt Magiacapre (G); Jr. Kyle McIntyre (D) Sr. Stephen DiRugeris (F); Jr. Corey Kosick (F)

Outlook: The Patriots feature a lineup that blends youth and experience. They’re backed by Mangiacapre, one of the area’s premier netminders.

Central Bucks South

Coach: Shuan McGinty (ninth season)

Last year: 6-7-1-2, Flyers Cup participant 

Key players: Sr. Matt Crouch (D); Jr. Aidan Linso (D); So. Jake Stepp (D); Sr. Aydin Thierolf (F); Jr. Colin Mendham (F); Jr. D.J. Lindenmuth (F)

Outlook: The Bucks endured an up and down campaign a year ago but all signs point to brighter days on the horizon. As usual, McGinty will be counting on his veterans to lead the way

“It is time for the Titans to get back on track,” he said.

Central Bucks West

Coach: Dave Baun (19th season)

Last year: 5-9

Key players: Jr. Liam Rogers (G); Sr. Sammy Poliak (D); Jr. Johnny Cherubini (D) Sr. Luke Tremmel (F); Jr. Nick Bruno (F); So. Anthony Dowd (F); So. Jack Misoda (F); So. Zane Sanders (F)

Outlook: The Bucks feature a solid group of returnees, led by Rogers in goal. The veterans will be supplemented by a talented group of young players that Baun is counting on, especially up front.

Council Rock North

Coach: Greg McDonald (second season)

Last year: 10-8. Flyers Cup participant 

Key players: So. Ian Goldberg (G); So. Jackson Accardi (D); Jr. Nick Hahan (D); Sr. Noah Epstein (F); Jr. Karson Grainey (F)

Outlook: The Indians did a lot last year with a team that was lacking in experience and numbers. McDonald expects to be able to dress a full roster of 20 this season and his troops will have an additional year’s experience. It shapes up as a promising season.

Council Rock South

Coach: Joe Houk (17th season)

Last year: 16-2-2-1, SHSHL and Flyers Cup finalist

Key players: Sr. Carson Lopez (G); Jr. Kevin Koles (D); Jr. Blaize Pepe (F); Jr. Chase Tovsky (F)

Outlook: The Golden Hawks played for the SHSHL and Flyers Cup titles last season. This season they return a team that is deep and talented. Houk has three quality lines and five solid defensemen to call on, plus an outstanding goaltender. The ingredients are on hand for what could be a very special season.

Neshaminy

Coach: Matt DeMatteo (sixth season)

Last year: 10-7-1, Flyers Cup participant

Key players: Jr. Cory Hemberger (G); So. Liam Mooney (D); Sr. J.J. Hathaway (D); Sr. Max Gallagher (F); Sr. Nolan Geria (F); Sr. Danny McColgan (F); Sr. Noah Seewagen (F); Sr. Michael Knipple (F); So. Ryan DeMatteo (F)

Outlook: The ‘Skins are perhaps the most experienced team in their division. Eleven seniors return from a unit that reached the Flyers Cup quarterfinals last season.

DeMatteo is optimistic about what the future could hold.

“We’ll look to continue to build on the success we had in the regular season and the Flyers Cup to take the next step forward together as a team,” he said.

North Penn

Coach: Kevin Vaitis (14th season)

Last year: 1-15

Key players: St. Nick Crist (G) Sr. Sam Mostochuck (D); St. Tyler Porubski (D); Fr. James Boyle (D); Jr. John Stinson (F); Jr. Joey Silvotti (F); So. Cole Pluck (F); Sr. Derek Delong (F)

Outlook: The Knights endured a long, cold winter last season. Vaitis is looking to turn things around with a back-to-basics approach.

“We are focusing early on this season on coming together as a team,” he said, “focusing on key system specifics, and hard work. We do not want to be outworked during the season. Another area we are focusing on is getting puck support in the zone with lots of shots and traffic in front.”

Pennridge

Coach: Jeff Montagna, fifth season

Last year: 22-0-1, defensing SHSHL, Class AA Fyers Cup and state champions

Key players: So. Nick Young (D); Jr. Colin Dachowski (D); Jr. Trey Mikulich (D); Jr. Kevin Pico (F); So. Shane Dachowski (F); Jr. Andrew Savona (F); Jr. Tyler Manto (F): Sr. Dane Fichette (F)

Outlook: The 2022 edition of the Rams put together one of the most remarkable seasons on record. This year’s group is looking to pick up where they left off. An abundance of firepower returns up front and there is experience within the blue-line corps. The only question mark may be in goal.

Pennsbury

Coach: Ryan Daley (sixth season)

Last year: 12-5-1, Flyers Cup participant

Key players: Jr. Aaron McDaniel (G); Sr. Justin Marlin (D); So. Chris Sarver (D-F); Sr. Brendan MacAinsh (F); Sr. Andrew Falkenstein (F)

Outlook: As they launch a new season the Falcons are confronting some heavy graduation losses.

“Luckily we have a strong and talented group of underclassmen ready to fill their shoes,” Daley said. 

Souderton

Coach: Ryan Uchniat (fifth season)

Last year: 7-7

Key players: Sr. Noah Connor (G); So. Patrick Callahan (D); Jr. Seth Grossman (F); Jr. Jacob Chow (F); Jr. Liam O’Neill (F); Sr. Timmy Alexander (F)

Outlook: The Big Red matured last year and are hoping to build on that success. Uchniat expects his team to be solid up front with a strong defense backed by quality goaltending.

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American Division

Abington

Coach: Ken Brzozowski (sixth season)

Last year: 15-2, defending divisional champion; Flyers Cup participant

Key players: Sr. Sam Nemec (G); Sr. Sean Doyle (D); Sr. Pat Stelacio (F); Sr. Matt Kramer (F); Sr. Ian Heydt; Sr. Griffin Carpenter (F)

Outlook: The Galloping Ghosts not only won the SHSHL’s American Division (Class A) title last season but earned a place in the Class AA Flyers Cup tournament. Brzozowski is looking to pick up where last year’s team left off.

“The team has been working hard in practices,” he said, “and looks forward to picking up where we left last year with winning results.”

Plymouth Whitemarsh

Coach: Dave Cox (first season)

Last year: 11-6, Flyers Cup participant

Key players: Sr. Chris Maslij (G); Sr. Conlan Carpenter (D); Sr. Jacob Elgart (D); Sr. Matt Flynn (F); Sr. Jeffrey Mencken (F)

Outlook: Cox, a Plymouth Whitemarsh graduate, takes over for Josh Aiello. He inherits a roster that’s deep in experience, one that should make an impact in the division.

Quakertown

Coach: Keith Krem (fourth season)

Last year: 7-9

Key players: Jr. Matt Krem (G); Sr. Jack Diliberto (F-D); Sr. Will Shaw

Outlook: The Panthers are thin in numbers; there are just 10 skaters on the roster. But they are an experienced group. There are five seniors on hand and Krem is a quality goaltender who will keep his team in games. 

Springfield

Coach: Bernie Gillespie (first season)

Last year: No team

Key players: So. Liam Baskin (G); Sr. Lucas Davidson (D); Jr. Kenny Granderson (D); So. Felix Boccella (D); So. Gabe Wells (F); Fr. Grayson Quinn (F); So. Chris Cahill (F); So; Thomas Manchester (F); Jr. Marcel Camper (F)

Outlook: The Spartans are new to the SHSHL but not to hockey; the roster features players who are experienced at the club level.

“We’re looking forward to our first season in the league,” Gillespie said.

Wissahickon

Coach: Ken Harrington (eighth season), Flyers Cup participant

Last year: 9-9, Flyers Cup participant

Key players: So. Aiden Brooks (D); Sr. Konrad Foulk (D); Sr. Griffin Lynch (F-D); Sr. Will Hussa (F); So. Danny Hussa (F)

Outlook: The Trojans are likely to be lacking in numbers this season and Harrington is searching for a goaltender. But they should excel at putting the puck in the net.

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C.B. East 3 North Penn 1

HATFIELD—Any hockey team wants to make an impression at the start of a season. Central Bucks East did just that Wednesday night, scoring a 3-1 decision over North Penn at Hatfield Ice to help the Suburban High School Hockey League open its 50th season.

Corey Kosick scored two goals to help East start off its season on a winning note. Kosick, a junior, noted that this year’s edition of the Patriots runs the gambit when it comes to experience and that getting used to the style of play at the high-school level takes time.

“It’s all about being used to our level of play,” he said. “It’s all about hard work. Hard work is alway going to beat talent in the end and that’s why we came out on top today.”

Ethan Cenci gave the Patriots the early lead on a power-play goal 5:46 into the opening session and the two teams battled on even terms through the first two periods.

The  officials kept a tight rein on the proceedings during that span, whistling 11 penalties for a total of 39 minutes. 

With 15 seconds left in the second frame an engagement involving North Penn’s Sam Mostochuck and East’s Carter Keiser resulted in a major penalty and a game misconduct to Keiser and a three-minute power play for North Penn. The Knights however were unable to capitalize on their advantage.

“I think that sort of sums up our night,” said North Penn coach Kevin Vaitis. “We had aa bunch of power plays early in the game and couldn’t really get any momentum going in the zone, had trouble getting out of our own zone, getting set up in there and working the puck around.

“Their first goal was a power play. It was 1-0 through two periods If you capitalize on one of those (power plays), you’ve got a 1-1 game going into the third.”

Kosick extended the Patriots’ lead with a goal 6:43 into the third frame. John Stinson made it a one-goal game when he scored for the Knights at the 9:09 mark but Kosick answered back just eight seconds later.

The final period featured six additional penalties, three to each side. East coach Jeff Mitchell stressed the importance of his team staying out of the box.

“The first goal definitely got the energy started in the right direction,” he said. “I think the penalties really killed us at the start of this game I think the refs did a great job moderating between both teams. But we’ve got to be able to stay out of the box and be able to keep five men on the ice and keep pucks in the net.”

C.B.East 1 0 2—3

North Penn 0 0 1—1

First-period goal

Ethan Cenci (CBE) from Patrick O’Brien and Charlie Keiser, 5:46 (pp)

Third-period goals

Corey Kosick (CBE) from Keiser and Cenci, 6:43; John Stinson (NP) unassisted, 9:09; Kosick (CBE) from Keiser, 9:17

Shots: C.B. East 33, North Penn 26; Saves: Matt Mangiacapre (CBE) 25, Nick Crist (NP) 30

Counting Down to the SHSHL Season

Sixteen teams will skate under the Suburban High School Hockey League umbrella during the 2022-23 season. 

The new season will commence on Wednesday, November 2 with 12 teams skating in the National Division (Class AA) and five more competing in the Class A American Division.

The National Division will feature defending league, Flyers Cup, and state champion Pennridge along with Bensalem, Council Rock North, Council Rock South, Central Bucks East, Central Bucks West, Central Bucks South Neshaminy, North Penn, Pennsbury, and Souderton.

Defending champion Abington heads the American Division which will also include Plymouth Whitemarsh, Quakertown, Wissahickon, and newcomer Springfield (Montco).

Teams will not necessarily be in the same classifications for the regular season and the Flyers Cup tournament.

Hatboro-Horsham and William Tennent, which both skated in the American Division a year ago, have combined forces this year and will skate against American Division opponents. The team will play a full league schedule but their results will not be reflected in the standings, nor will they be eligible for the SHSHL playoffs or the Flyers Cup tournament.

20222-23 marks the SHSHL’s 50th season. The league as it is known now made its debut in 1973-74, coincidentally the same 

Pennridge 4 Thomas Jefferson 3 2OT

WEST GOSHEN TOWNSHIP—Pennridge and Thomas Jefferson matched each other stride for stride and shift for shift Saturday afternoon. At day’s end, it was the Rams who prevailed.

Kevin Pico’s goal 12:01 into the second overtime gave his team a 4-3 win over the Jaguars in the Pennsylvania Class AA state championship game in front of a full house at Ice Line.

The victory was well earned.

“That was a fabulous hockey game,” said Pennridge coach Montagna. “It was just a great game.”

Andrew Savona, Jack Lowery, and Tyler Manto scored regulation goals for Pennridge, which completed its season at 22-0-1.

The Rams enjoyed a 2-1 lead going into the third period but soon found themselves back on their heels.  Colby Bilski scored his second goal of the game off a turnover 3:43 into the period to draw Thomas Jefferson (21-2) even before setting up Nick Stock during a power play to put the Jaguars up 3-2 at 7:31.

Lowery noted and his teammates stayed on an emotional even keel at that point, despite being behind.

“There was not an ounce of panic on our bench,” he said. “We were calm. “We knew that we’ve come back in multiple games before. Every championship game we’ve been in (In the SHSHL and Flyers Cup finals) we’ve been down and come back and won. And there wasn’t a doubt in our minds that we were going to come out in this game on top.”

Indeed, the Rams responded. Tyler Manto tied the game with 5:22 left in the regulation to leave the two teams searching for whatever they might have left for overtime.

“We did not have a lot left in overtime,” Montagna said. 

In the end Pico scored the most significant goal of his career, after Manto and Savona worked the pick down low. The goal came off a rebound of Savona’s original shot

“That’s probably the biggest goal I’m ever going to score my whole hockey career,” Pico said.

Had it not been for Ryan Pico’s work in the Pennridge net, the drama might have ended differently. The senior goaltender faced 65 shots and turned 62 of them aside against an opponent Montagna called the best his team faced all season (the Rams were outshot 62-49).

“He was unbelievable,” Kevin Pico said of his brother. I’ve never seen him play that good in my whole life.”

Montagna echoed those sentiments. “Ryan Pico was absolutely incredible,” he said. “He kept us in there”

The postgame awards pentation and celebration was an emotional time for Lowery, one of the Pennridge captains.

“I feel like I’m top of the world right now,” he said. “No one can take me from that. We said all year, ‘Until this game is over, the job is not finished.’ And it feels great. The job is finally finished for us. 

“That’s a hell of a hockey team we played today. It really could have gone either way. But we came out, played our game and came out on top. That’s just all we could do.”

Thomas Jefferson 0 1 2 0 0—3

Pennridge 2 0 1 0 1—4

First-period goals: Andrew Savona (P) from Tyler Manto, 1:13; Jack Lowery from Aeryk Lehrhaupt, 9:41 (pp)

Second-period goal: Colby Biski (TJ) from Lance Smith, 10:10 (pp)

Third-period goals: Bilski (TJ) from Brett Smith, 3:43; Lance Smith (TJ) from Nick Stock and Bilski, 7:31 (pp); Manto (P) from Colin Dachowski, 11:38

Second-overtime goal: Kevin Pico (P) from Manto and Savona, 12:01

Shots: Thomas Jefferson 65, Pennridge 49; Saves: Billy Siemon (TJ) 45, Ryan Pico (P) 62