Pennridge 9 Lower Merion 2

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

Pennridge 7 C.B. South 2

HATFIELD TOWNSHIP— An evening that began with a lot of buildup evolved into a blowout. 

Pennridge dominated from start to finish Wednesday in the course of a 7-2 win over Central Bucks South in a key SHSHL National Division matchup in front of a full house at Hatfield Ice.

Shane Dachowski fueled the Rams effort, contributing a pure hat trick plus two assists as his team won its fourth straight game and served notice that it is not prepared to surrender its SHSHL, Flyers Cup, and state titles, at least not without first making a vigorous defense of those laurels.

The Rams started the evening in aggressive fashion by jumping to a 2-0, and were never headed.

“That was our plan,” Dachowski said. “We weren’t supposed to let them have space at all. We know how they play. We play them all the time and we have a thing going with them.”

The Rams (9-3, 4-1 in divisional play) got things started 5:06 into the first frame when Tyler Manto scored off a scramble in front of Titan goaltender Dom Varacallo via a setup from Dachowski. It became a 2-0 game with 40 seconds left in the period when Dachowski sent a pass up the center of the ice Andrew Lizak collected the puck and beat Varacallo at the end of a breakaway.

The Titans (7-4-0-1 overall, 4-2 in the division) got on the scoreboard 2:26 into the middle period thanks to a goal from Aydin Thierolf.

But after that it was all Pennridge. Varacallo found himself under heavy fire and his support was lacking. Dachowski scored a power-play goal at the 5:09 mark, then promptly scored his second goal of the night 14 seconds later. He completed a pure hat trick with a shorthanded goal at 9:25. Andrew Savona made it a 6-1 game with 4:56 left in the period. South coach Shuan McGinty eventually rescued Varacallo from the barrage while making it clear the scoreline was not the netminder’s fault.

“Our goalie has been playing well all season,” he said, “we let him hang out to try. I pulled him because it’s just not good for his confidence.

“All in all, they played well, we didn’t.”

The Titans Aidan Linso and Lizak traded goals in the third period.

Pennridge coach Jeff Montagna says his team is playing as well now as it has all season. “That’s three games against good teams with Pennsbury, this game, and Neshaminy,” he said. (The Rams won all three games and scored 23 goals in the process). “We’ve really started to find out who we are. It took some time this year but they’re really starting to click. It’s cool to watch.”

The Titans suffered a major loss with 3:01 left in the game when Matt Crouch was accessed a major penalty plus a game misconduct for a check from behind; he’ll serve as suspension when South faces Council Rock South net Thursday in another game with significant playoff and Flyers Cup implications.

“We’ve got to finish up the season hard here,” McGinty said. “We have (Council Rock South) net and we won’t have our captain because of a selfish play.

“Guys are going to have step up.” and we have Pennsbury still to go.”

Pennridge 2 4 1—7

C.B. South 0 1 1—2

First-period goals: Tyler Manto (P) from Shane Dachowski 5:06; Andrew Lizak (P) from Shane Dachowski, 16:20

Second-period goals: Aydin Thierolf (CBS) from D.J, Lindenmuth and Colin Mendham, 2:26; Shane Dachowski (P) from Colin Dachowki and Kevin Pico, 5:09 (pp); Shane Dachowski (P) from Andrew Savona, 5:23; Shane Dachowski (P) from Pico, 9:25 (sh); Savona (P) from Ian Brouse, 12:04

Third-period goals: Aidan Linso (CBS) from Sean Cutter and Ryan Frey, 6:59 (pp); Lizak (P) unassisted, 9:06

Shots: Pennridge 39, C.B. South 31

Pennridge 5 Neshaminy 3

BRISTOL— The atmosphere inside Grundy Arena was crackling with energy Wednesday night. Pennridge and Neshaminy were both looking to make a statement.

The Rams did just that, overcoming a two-goal first-period deficit before dominating the last two periods en route to a 5-3 win.

The result will not factor into the SHSHL National Division standings but will doubtless attract the attention of the Flyers Cup Committee when the next set of rankings is unveiled.

Josh Kelly and Shane Dachowski each scored twice for

Pennridge, the defending Class AA Flyers Cup and state champion. The Rams improved to 6-3 overall.

Kelly said he and his teammates refocused after falling behind early.

“We kind of realized we needed to start going,” the sophomore said. “We needed to put something in the back of the net. We kind of realized who we are. We came out slow and ended the game how we wanted to.”

The ’Skins (6-3) killed off two early penalties before taking a 1-0 lead 6:12 into the opening period. Noah Seewagen scored the power-play goal while the Rams’ Colin Dachowski was serving a tripping minor.

Max Gallagher made it 2-0 with a shorthanded goal at the 11:06 mark off a rush down the right wing that finished with a slapshot along the ice that beat Pennridge goaltender Jacob Gilbert through the five hole.

That goal turned out to be the high point of the evening from Neshaminy’s point of view.

Tyler Manto got the Rams on the scoreboard 1:28 into the second frame on a shot that caromed of the stick of Neshaminy goaltender Cory Hemberger. Kelly the game when he scored on a rebound with 2:41 left in the period to send the teams into the third frame all even.

Shane Dachowski put Pennridge in front for good 2:49 into the final period when he converted a feed from Kevin Pico who set up the goal with a dash down the left wing.

Pico and Neshaminy’s Nolan Geria got some extended time in the penalty box after the two got into a skirmish with 13:48 remaining in regulation. Both drew minor penalties for head contact and automatic 10-minute misconducts but the incident had little bearing on the final result.

Kelly scored his second goal of the night with 9:23 remaining to give Pennridge a two-goal advantage. J.J. Hathaway scored during a Neshaminy power play wirg the Neshaminy net empty with 1:19 remaining but Shane Dachowski’s empty-net goal with 11.4 seconds left settled matters.

Pennridge’s dominance over the final two periods showed up on the scoresheet. After being outshot 12-7 in the first period the Rams outshot the ‘Skins 31-10 over the last two for a final margin of 38-22.

Rams coach Jeff Montagna cited his team’s comeback after a difficult beginning.

“It was a terrible start,” he said. “It was a terrible first period, which has been a strength for us. But, like they’ve done all year, they came back and they played a fabulous two periods.

“But, I told them, we’ve got to figure out these slow starts.”

The ‘Skins spent an inordinate amount of time skating shorthanded; they were whistled for 11 penalties (the Rams were flagged for eight). But Coach Matt DeMatteo was quick to point out his team came up short in other areas.

“Penalties were part of it,” he said, “(but) we had a really good first period, and stuck to the game plan, but we came out in the second period and they brought up the intensity and we did not.

“That was the difference in the game. They came out with urgency, we didn’t match it. they took the momentum of the game over.”

Pennridge 0 2 3—5

Neshaminy 2 0 1—3

First-period goals: Noah Seewagen (N) from Michael Knipple, 6:12 (pp); Max Gallagher (N) unassisted, 11:06 (sh)

Second-period goals: Tyler Manto (P) unassisted, 1:28; Josh Kelly (P) from Colin Dachowski and Nate McKean, 14:19

Third-period goals: Shane Dachowski (P) from Kevin Pico and Andrew Savona, 2:49; Kelly (P) from McKean, 7:37 J.J. Hathaway (N from Gallagher, 15:41 (pp); Pico (P) unassisted, 16:49 (en)

Shots: Pennridge 38, Neshaminy 22; Saves: Jacob Gilbert (P) 20, Cory Hemberger (N) 33

Pennridge 5 Council Rock South 4 OT

HATFIELD TOWNSHIP—There wasn’t much to choose between Pennridge and Council Rock South Thursday night. Perhaps it was fitting that the Rams and the Golden Hawks went into overtime in their SHSHL Class AA championship game. It took 4 minutes, 27 seconds of extra time before Shane Dachowski found the back of the net to give the Rams a 5-4 win in front of a packed house at Hatfield Ice.

The winning sequence began with a long pass from Trey Mikulich from inside the Pennridge blue line up the center of the ice. Dachowski collected it in full stride and went in on goal before beating South netminder Carson Lopez with a backhander.

“We knew we weren’t losing tonight,” Dachowski said. “We just went out there and did it.”

Second-seeded Pennridge, which remained unbeaten at 16-0-1 trailed 3-1 late in the second period before rallying win its third SHSHL title; the previous two came in 2008 and ’19.

Top-seeded Council Rock South (13-2-2) spent much of the first period killing four penalties and portions of the second period killing two more. Matt Constantini gave the Golden Hawks a 1-0 at the 10:34 mark but drew and unsportsmanlike conduct penalty while celebrating the goal.

Jack Lowery tied the game for Pennridge
“You can’t win games shorthanded,” said South coach Joe Houk. ”We literally skated shorthanded the first half of that. You can’t play catchup like that.

But in short order, it was the Rams playing catchup after Daniel Filippov and Gavin Nisenzon scored goals in a span of 2:06 to give the Golden Hawks a 3-1 lead with 3:07 left in the middle period.

Cooper White brought the Rams closer before the second period ended and Andrew Savona tied the game 1:57 into the third when he beat Lopez from the left faceoff circle.
Kevin Pico gave Pennridge its first lead of the lead at the 6:44 mark when he scored off a South turnover.

As the final minute of regulation counted down, the Rams fought to hold their lead but David Vergules emerged victorious from a scramble in front of Ram goaltender Ryan Pico to tie the game with 40 seconds left in regulation. The goal served as a prelude to an overtime session that brought the evening to a dramatic conclusion.

“That was one of the best games I’ve ever been a part of,” said Pennridge coach Jeff Montagna. It was back and forth, it was everything that a championship game should be.”

• Pennridge is seeded first for the Class AA Flyers Cup and will face 16th seeded Ridley Tuesday night at Hatfield Ice. The Golden Hawks are seeded third and will face 14th-seeded Abington on Tuesday, also at Hatfield Ice.

Pennridge 0 2 2 1—5

C.R. South 1 2 1 0—4

First-period goal: Matt Constantini (CRS) from Julian Wagenman and Kevin Koles, 10:34

Second-period goals: Jack Lowery (P) unassisted, 11:23; Dan Filippov (CRS) from Blaise Pepe, 11:47; Gavin Nisenzon (CRS) from Pepe, 13:53 (pp), Cooper White (P) from Andrew David and Andrew Lizak, 14:59

Third-period goals: Andrew Savona (P) from Kevin Pico and Aidan Boyle, 1:57 (pp); Pico (P) from Savona and Tyler Manto, 6:44; David Vergules (CRN) from Kyle Boss, 19:20

Overtime goal: Shane Dachowski (P) from Trey Mikulich, 4:27

Shots: Pennridge 48, Council Rock North 37; Saves: Ryan Pico (P) 33, Carson Lopez (CRN) 43

The Grundy Skate Shop is a full-service hockey pro shop inside the Grundy Arena, offering a great selection of equipment, brands and various services.  We do a full range of repairs as well as offer custom hockey jerseys. Owner Bill Keyser, has over 25 years experience in the industry and specializes in skate sharpening, including profiling. Please visit our Facebook page or stop in and check us out!