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

Council Rock North 7 Penncrest 3

 Council Rock North 7 Penncrest 3

HATFIELD TOWNSHIP—A fast start is advantageous for any hockey team, particularly in the crucible that is the Flyers Cup tournament.

Council Rock North got off to as fast start Monday night and never looked back. The Indians scored three times in the first period and went on to a 7-3 win over Penncrest in a Class A Flyers Cup first-round game at Hatfield Ice.

Eighth-seeded North (10-7) will face fourth-seeded Hershey Thursday at Ice Line in a quarterfinal game. The 12th-seeeded Lions closed at 5-10.

The Indians have been a potent offensive force all season and that didn’t change on Wednesday.

Karson Grainey gave his team a 1-0 lead with 4:08 left in the opening period. Wilton Pasch, the only senior in the North lineup, made it a 2-0 game at the 2:54 mark and Noah Epstein added a power play goal with 2.9 seconds left in the first frame.

North coach Greg McDonald spoke to the importance of the fast start.

“You don’t know who is on the other side,” he pointed out. “If the boys are excited, and they’re jumping, and they get some goals, it kind of lets you settle some things down early.”

Kain Walker scored a power-play goal for Penncrest 7:22 onto the second session but Lucas Siomos answered for the Indians with exactly five minutes left in the period.

There were five goals scored in the third period, among them Pasch’s second of the night. North was never in jeopardy of losing the lead.

Goaltender Ian Goldberg saw to that, making 33 saves. The freshman credited the defense in front of him.

“We moved the puck good out of the one,” he said, “and covered the net good.”

McDonald was please that his troops maintained their composure to the final horn. “What (the coaching staff) keeps talking about is it’s not about this game,” he said. It’s not about Game One, it’s not about Penncrest. It’s part of the ride and I think when you can bring that concept to the guys on the bench, it doesn’t make it feel like it’s so urgent. It’s not all here and I think it allows them to get a little bit more perspective and    get back to just playing hockey.”

Penncrest 0 1 2—3

C.R. North 3 1 3—7

First-period goals: Karson Grainey (CRN) unassisted, 12:52; Wilton Pasch (CRN) from Jackson Mosley, 14:06; Noah Epstein (CRN) from Ryan Keil and Nick Hahn, 16:59 (pp).

Second-period goals: Kain Walker (P) from Tyler Conn and Quentin Baker, 7:22 (pp); Lucas Siomos (CRN) from Hahn, 12:00.

Third-period goals: Van Evans (P) from Walker, 3:10; Pasch (CRN) from Mosley and Grainey (pp), 5:25; Jackson Accardi (CRN) from Jesse Schaff, 6:00; Eddie Morroni (P) from Colin Curran, 15:17; Hahn (CRN) from Mosley and Grainey,16:59.

Shots: Penncrest 36, C.R. North 45; Saved: Fiona Walker (P) 38, Ian Goldberg (CRN) 33

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Pasch Leads CR North Into Postseason

The success of Council Rock North is arguably one of the biggest surprises, if not the biggest surprise, of the Suburban High School Hockey League season.
The Indians have overcome a 1-4 start to win seven of their last nine games and post an 8-6 overall record (5-5 on Class AA divisional play) heading into this week’s SHSHL playoffs. They’re seeded fifth heading into a quarterfinal game against Central Bucks South Wednesday night.

While the Indians are a Class AA team in the SHSHL, they are listed as a Class A team for Flyers Cup purposes. They will learn Sunday if they have made the tournament field.

Will Pasch has a lot to do with all this Pasch is the Indians’ captain. As the only senior on a team with a first-year head coach (Greg McDonald), Pasch was positioned to lead his team forward, or into the abyss. That he chose the former is a testament to his leadership skills.

“I think from the very first practice, the boys wanted him to be the captain,” McDonald said, “and he wanted it, honestly. I think it hurt him that last year (when North could not field a pure team) was what it was. It’s his senior year he’s super excited to play.”

Pasch says he and his teammates jelled as the season progressed. “We started off the season pretty rocky, I think we can all agree on that,” he said, ‘but as the season went through, off the ice we just kind of bonded together as a team. We promoted the team at school and stuff and brought everybody together. We saw each other outside of school and just kind of formed a camaraderie and a friendship that I just hadn’t seen before in my four years playing here so it really says something special.”

As the postseason begins, Pasch says he and his teammates have something to prove, particularly to any naysayers that are paying attention.

“A very small amount of people expected us to be where we are right now,” he said. “That’s just something special that I’m going to cherish forever. I’m just happy that we’re able to be in the playoffs and be in the position that we’re at. Just to prove everybody wrong.”

Three Indians are among the Class AA Division’s top scorers.

Karson Grainey has accumulated 26 goals and 16 assists for 42 points; he leads the division in scoring. Nick Hahn has scored 10 goals and added 18 assists for 28 points, he’s tied for fifth on the scoring list. Jackson Accari is seventh with 16 goals and nine assists for 25 points.

Pasch does his best to see to it his teammates are focused on the task at hand. 

“Just trying to make sure everyone’s got their head in the game,” he said. I’m trying to make sure we’re focused on game day at practices. Thankfully, the boys have done a great job dealing with adversity throughout the season and ups and downs. I’m just happy that it all came together when it mattered.”

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C.R. North 5 C.B. West 2

HATFIELD—Council Rock North is one of the major success stories of 2021-22 hockey season. Unable to field a pure team last season, the Indians were forced to drop out of the Suburban High School Hockey League.

But they have returned this year are unquestionably making an impact.

Chapter One of the North Saga concluded Thursday night with a 5-2 win over Central Bucks West at Hatfield Ice in the regular-season finale for both sides.

Jackson Accardi, Will Pasch, and Karson Grainey all scored goals in a span of 2 minutes, 9 seconds midway through the second period to break the game open.

North concluded its regular season at 8-6 (5-5 in divisional play). The Indians will be seeded somewhere between fifth and seventh for next week’s SHSHL playoffs and are hoping to land a bid in the upcoming Class A Flyers Cup tournament.

 “We talked about it,” said North coach Greg McDonald. “We only had like 11 skaters. The difference between when we have a full bench and when we don’t is tremendous.

“So that was exactly what we talked about; win the small game. Win the puck battles with shifts, win the puck races, win the open spot for your teammates.”

Ryan Keil gave the Indians a 1-0 lead 7:23 into the first period off a scramble in front of West goaltender Liam Rogers

Billy Loughnane tied the game for the Buck (5-9, 2-8) off the faceoff that commenced the second period.

Rogers kept the game tied when he turned aside a blast from Lucas Siomos with 11;35 left in the period.

But the Indians eventually broke through. Accardi put his team in front for good at the 7:16 mark, Pasch followed up at 8:23 and Grainey completed the trifecta at 9:25.

The Bucks got a bit closer when Loughnane scored his second goal of the game with 2:56 remaining in regulation but couldn’t get any closer.

Grainey scored his second goal of the game into an empty net just before the clock hit all zeroes.

The evening marked the conclusion of the career of five West seniors. Their coach, Dave Baun, is pleased with how his young team matured over the course of the season.

“I’m very optimistic about the team going forward,” he said. “Nine of our players are freshmen and sophomores and that’s pretty young, but they’re all good players. When they’re all good and they’re that young, that’s a good thing because they’re only going to get better.

“And we’re expecting to add a few more good players next year.”

Ice chips— Ian Goldberg made 33 saves in the North net. The Indians will learn on February 27 whether they made the Flyers Cup field.

Council Rock North 1 3 1—5

C.B. West  0 1 1—2

First-period goal: Ryan Keil (CRN) from Noah Epstein and Karson Grainey, 7:23

Second-period goals: Billy Loughnane (CBW) from Nick Bruno and Anthony Dowd, :11; Jackson Accardi (CRN) from Grainey, 7:16; Will Pasch (CRN) from Keil 8:23; Grainey (CRN) from Accardi and Epstein, 9:25

Third-period goals: Loughnane (CBW) from Dowd, 14:04; Grainey (CRN) from Accardi, 16:59 (en)

Shots: C.R. North 43, C.B. West 35; Saves: Ian Goldberg (CRN) 33, Liam Rogers (CBW) 38

Council Rock North 6 Neshaminy 5

BRISTOL—Council Rock North and Neshaminy had a lot to play for Wednesday night. Both teams were trying to enhance their standing in the eyes of the Flyers Cup Competition Committee and the ‘Skins were trying to wipe away the memories of 6-1 loss to Council Rock South in their last start.

It was the Indians who prevailed, and in dramatic fashion, overcoming deficits of 4-0 and 5-1 to post a 6-5 win at Grundy Arena. Nick Hahn scored what proved to be the winning goal with 5:20 remaining in regulation.

Council Rock North improved to 5-6 overall and 4-5 in divisional play. The win is sure to make a lasting impression While North competes in the Class AA Division of the SHSHL, the Indians are a Class A team for Flyers Cup and are doing their best to make a case for inclusion in the field.

North coach Greg McDonald was asked if the win was his team’s biggest to date.

“I’d probably say so,” he said. “I think we had all but one player here tonight. It was the first time we had a full roster, so we were able to kind of manage the game differently. Certainly, by the boys’ reaction, I think it was the biggest win of the year.

At the end of the first period, the Indians were staring into the abyss. Goals from Jacob Adami, and Joey Hornung, and two from Max Gallagher, gave Neshaminy (8-3-1, 5-3 in the division) what seemed to be a commanding 4-0 lead.

Jackson Accardi got North on the board 1:13 into the second frame but David McColgan answered for Neshaminy with a power-play goal at the five-minute mark to seemingly restore the status quo.

The Indians kept at it however. Accardi scored his second goal of the game, a shorthanded effort, at 5:40, and Jackson Mosley followed with a goal of his own at 9:23 to make it a 5-3 game heading into the third period.

Neshaminy kept up the pressure as the final session began. Mosley scored his second goal of the night at 4:13 before Karson Grainey tied the game at 6:16.

But North found itself shorthanded going down the stretch. With 7:35 left in regulation, Mosley was called for slashing and drew a 10-minute misconduct along with it. That gave him four penalties on the night and an automatic game misconduct. With 3:39 still to play, Accardi drew a 10-minute misconduct penalty of his own.

But Neshaminy persevered and Hahn sent his teammates into celebratory mode with his game-winning goal. Hahn, a sophomore, said the Indians were poised to continue their comeback as the final period began.

’We had great (chemistry) going into the third,” he said. “We were pumped up and ready to go.”

The events of the last two periods left Neshaminy coach Matt DeMatteo perplexed and frustrated. His team was ranked fifth in the latest set of Class AA Flyers Cup rankings and the loss was a black eye, or perhaps a left hook to the jaw.

“You get a four-goal lead and you can’t keep it, that’s embarrassing,” he said. “We came out, we stuck to the game plan early on, we played a good first period, then the last two periods we just fell apart.

“We didn’t stick to the game plan. Top to bottom, we just abandoned it and I don’t know why. If something is working, why wouldn’t you stay with it?”

Council Rock North 0 3 3—6

Neshaminy 4 1 0—5

First-period goals: Jacob Adami (N) from J.J. Hathaway, 4:30; Joey Hornung (N) from D.J. Harris, 11:52; Max Gallagher (N) from Hathaway, 14:31; Gallagher (M) from Ryan DeMatteo, and Liam Mooney, 15:02

Second-period goals: Jackson Accardi  (CRN) from Karson Grainey and Nick Hahn, 1:13; Dan McColgan (N) from Hathaway, 5:00 (pp); Accardi (CRN) from Grainey and Jackson Mosley, 5:40 (sh); Mosley (CRN) from Zach Weissman and Grainey, 9:23

Third-period goals: Mosley (CRN) from Weissman and Lucas Siomos, 4:1; Grainey (CRN) unassisted, 6:16; Hahn (CRN) from Weissman and Siomos,11:40

Shots: Council Rock North 32, Neshaminy 33

Saves: Ian Goldberg (CRN) 28 Cory Hemberger (N) 26

Greg McDonald Bringing New Life to Council Rock North

Greg McDonald has coached hockey for more than a decade. His coaching experience was exclusively at the club level until this season when he was asked to take the reins at Council Rock North.

McDonald is no stranger to the high-school game; he skated for Father Judge in the mid-1990s. He took on the position at Council Rock North at the request of a friend. The Indians won three Flyers Cup titles in the late 1980s and early ‘90s but didn’t field a varsity team last season

McDonald was not starting from scratch but his team is less experienced than many of its Class AA opponents in the SHSHL.  The Indians completed their pre-holiday schedule Wednesday night with a 6-3 over Bensalem to move to 2-4 overall and 1-3 in divisional play.

When we caught up with him a while back, McDonald was quick to point out he and his players were enjoying the experience of reenergizing their school’s hockey program.

 It’s a great group of kids,” he said. “Practices are good and well attended. They’re excited to be out there. It’s a whole new group for me. I’m still kind of getting familiar with them. But it is fun. Practices are high tempo. There’s a lot of talent out there. It’s a big range of talent out there. But, they genuinely enjoy each other and they’re on the ice and they love it so it’s good, its good all around.”

When the SHSHL was formed in the mid-1970s, club hockey had minimal impact compared to the high-school game. While that dynamic has changed in the years since, McDonald embraces the unique qualities of high-school hockey.”

“(Club hockey) is where the focus is,” he said, “but I do think there’s something to be said about school spirit and everybody being at the same school and talking about the game together and the student body here.

I think it’s a good environment the kids honestly, and I think it brings something club hockey doesn’t.”

McDonald reflects on how his high-school hockey career impacted and continues to impact his life.

“I graduated from Father Judge in 1995,” he said. “I didn’t start playing hockey until I was a freshman in high school. Honestly those years, in the locker room, those bonds, that’s what you take with you through life.

“For me I’m really happy to still be around hockey in a competitive light and with greats kids. I couldn’t ask for more honestly. I’m really happy about it.”

Council Rock South 11, Council Rock North 4

              

WARWICK TOWNSHIP—The evening’s recipe featured hockey with an ample helping of tradition. After a year’s hiatus, Council Rock North and Council Rock South resumed their Thanksgiving Eve series Wednesday night.

The teams did not meet last year because North did field a varsity hockey team last season and because the SHSHL schedule did not begin until January. Thus, Wednesday’s meeting was something of a reunion, for the players, and for the fans who packed Revolution Ice Gardens for the occasion.

The more-experienced Golden Hawks had control of the game by late in the first period and rolled to an 11-4 win to claim the Rock Cup. But the fact that the two teams were sharing a sheet of ice was cause for celebration.

“It’s great,” said South captain Matt Constantini. “I missed it a lot. The fans were amazing. It’s just great to be out here for my senior year and Covid is somewhat gone.”

The flow of the game resembled that of a boxing match in which the champion has to work hard to dispatch the underdog but is not at serious risk of defeat.

The Indians (1-2, 0-1 in divisional play) actually took an early lead with a shorthanded goal. Wilton Pasch was in the box serving an interference penalty when his teammate Lucas Siomos sent the puck the length of the ice toward the Golden Hawks’ crease. South goaltender Carson Lopez muffed the puck and North’s Karson Grainey was on hand to put it behind him just 1:43 into the opening period.

The Golden Hawks (3-0-1, 1-0 in the division) soon returned fire with four goals in a span of 10 minutes, 22 seconds. David Vergules scored twice in between goals from Julian Wagenmann and Gavin Nisenzon.
South extended its lead in the second frame. Julian Sarne, and Nisenzon scored goals to give the Hawks a 6-1 advantage 4:50 into the period.

Zach Weisman scored for North at the 8:39 mark, but Vergules, Constantini, Kevin Koles, and Chase Trovsky rattled off four goals in a span of span of less than four minutes before Grainey scored for the Indians with 30 seconds remaining in the period.

“I think what you saw was a team that was established,” said North coach Greg McDonald, “and a team (North) that was throwing haymakers and trying to find it. But we weren’t organized, they were, and they outlasted us.”

North’s Nick Hahn and Vergules traded goals in the third period.

Vergules left the building with four goals and an assist. NIsenzon and Grainey also finished with two goals.

The Golden Hawks enjoyed a 54-28 advantage in shots. Ian Goldberg stood tall in the North net, making 43 saves.

South coach Joe Houk praised the Indians’ effort. “They got that first goal,” he said, “And then we kind of knuckled down. I think it kind of caught the guys off guard. They had a system as to what they were going to do, but they had a short bench so they kind of ran out of juice after we scored the second or third goal.” 

C.R. North 1 2 1—4

C.R. South 4 6 1—11

First-period goals: Karson Grainey (CRN) unassisted, from Lucas Siomos, 1:43 (sh); Julian Wagenmann (CRS) from Sam Cherkassky, 4:07 (pp); David Vergules (CRS) from Nolan O’Brien, 9:39; Vergules (CBS) from Wagenmann and Evan Mostoller, 12:30; Gavin Nisenzon (CRS) from Matt Constantitni, 14:29

Second-period goals: Julian Sarne (CRS) unassisted, 1:08; Nisenzon (CRS) from Chase Trovsky, 4:50; Zach Weissman (CRN) from Grainey, 8:39; Vergules (CRS) from Wagenmann and Constanrini, 9:06; Constantitni (CRS) from Nisenzon and Vergules, 9:54; Kevin Koles (CRS) from Phillip Mayo and Sarne, 11:38; Trovsky (CRS) from Cherkassky and Blaize Pepe, 12:57; Grainey (CRN) unassisted, 16:30

Third-period goals: Nick Hahn (CRN) from Grainey and Jackson Mosley, 3:51; Vergules (CRS) from Wagenmann and Constantini, 9:46

Shots: Council Rock North 28, Council Rock South 54; Saves: Ian Goldberg (CRN) 43, Carson Lopez (CRS) 24

In other games on Wednesday:

Neshaminy 6, Pennsbury 3

Holy Ghost Prep 9, Father Judge 2

Central Bucks East 2, Central Bucks West 1

North Penn vs. Central Bucks South

Pennridge vs. Souderton

Hatboro-Horsham vs. Upper Moreland

William Tennent vs. Archbishop Wood

Malvern Prep vs. Cardinal O’Hara cancelled