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