HATFIELD TOWNSHIP—It was a Flyers Cup Class AA semifinal. But Pennridge turned the occasion into just another night at the rink.
Shane Dachowski scored three goals and four other players added one goal each as the Rams routed Own J. Roberts 7-0 Monday night at Hatfield Ice. Second-seeded Pennridge (16-5) will face Pennsbury Tuesday evening at the same venue as it attempts to defend its Class AA Cup title. Judging from Monday’s effort, the Rams should feel comfortable in that setting; they dominated from start to finish against the sixth-seeded Wildcats, who closed their season at 17-6-0-1.
Dane Fitchett and Dachowski scored first-period goals 81 seconds apart, bearing Wildcat netminder Shane Towler.
Kevin Pico made it a 3-0 game 4:59 into the middle period. But the outcome was really settled later in the session when the Rams’ completely shut down the Owen J. Roberts power play and Andrew Savona and Dachowski delivered shorthanded goals
“We knew this team’s power play was lethal coming in,” said Pennridge coach Jeff Montagna. “But the way they run it is a 1-3-1, they basically have four guys below the dots. So, that’s go time for us. You get sticks on pucks and you’re going the other way.
“It’s the only way I know as a coach. If you have the bodies, and you have the skill to do it, just be relentless. Be relentless at all times.”
Pico talked about what it takes to play the up-tempo style his coach prefers.
“You get on teams early and they’re going to hesitate,” he said. “Push up, take opportunities, and look to capitalize on those.”
James Rush extended the Pennridge lead 91 seconds into the final period before Dachowski completed his hat trick at the 9:31 mark.
Pico says the experience the Rams took away from last year’s Flyers Cup run has been an asset this time around.
“I think the experience helps,” he said. “Everyone isn’t as nervous anymore because they’ve been there before.”
Meantime, at the other end of the ice, Jacob Winton was pitching a shutout in the Pennridge net. He finished the evening with 28 saves. The sophomore said he got a good look at everything thanks to the efforts of the defense in front of him.
“When shots are coming in from the outside, it’s a lot easier to see them then on a big scramble play up front with all the guys in one spot,” he said. “Keeping them outside really helps a lot.”
Winton says he’s more at ease on the ice than he was when the season began.
“I think as the season went on I got a little bit more comfortable,” he said. ‘When you’ve got a team like that in front of you, it makes it that much easier.”
O.J. Roberts 0 0 0—0
Pennridge 2 3 2—7
First-period goals: Dane Fitchett (P) from Andrew Lizak and Tyler Manto, 5:00; Shane Dachowski (P) unassisted, 6:21
Second-period goals: Kevin Pico (P) from Andrew Savona, 4:59; Savona (P) unassisted, 7:11 (sh); Shane Dachowski (P) from Colin Dachowski, 11:56 (sh)
Third-period goals: James Rush (P) from Lizak, 1:31; Shane Dachowski (P) from Pico, 9:31
Shots: O.J. Roberts O.J. Roberts 28, Pennridge 30; Saves: Shane Towler (OJR) 23, Jacob Winton (P) 28