Upper Dublin Flying Cardinals Back in the SHSHL Nest

A common saying in hockey circles is ‘A goaltender is a team’s last line of defense.’  Emmett Kepniss took that mindset to a new level Thursday night.

Kepniss is Upper Dublin’s starting and only goalkeeper. It was his presence alone that allowed the Flying Cardinals to face Souderton in what was their first official SHSHL game since the 2018-19 season.

The Big Red prevailed 7-2 in the non-conference matchup, but in a way, Kepniss was the most important player on the ice.

For two seasons, Upper Dublin was barred from SHSHL play because they were considered impure; the club had to look outside the its student population to find a goaltender. This season, Kepniss answered the call.

The senior has an athletic background; he was a two-way lineman in football and is a midfielder in lacrosse. But, despite being a lifelong hockey fan, he had never been on skates until a few weeks ago when he was approached by some of his fellow seniors who were on the hockey team.

“They were trying to get someone in the school,” Kepniss said. “My girlfriend’s dad runs the club, He approached me, I talked to him further, and now I’m here.

Prior to Thursday’s game, Kepniss had several practices plus two scrimmages to get a sense of what playing in goal is all about. On game night, he experienced live fire.

“It’s a lot faster,” he said. “You have to be quicker on your feet. In practice, there’s a little more leeway because it’s your team. But (Thursday’s game) counts so you kind of have to play your best hockey and give it your all really.”

Which Kepniss did. He had some early jitters and allowed three goals in the first period on seven shots but gradually grew more comfortable and made several quality stops later in the game. He finished the evening with 23 saves.

“I told the guys I was going to get nervous a little bit,” he said. “It was the first game but …. The guys told me ‘Don’t worry about it.”

Upper Dublin coach Anthony Richichi praised Kepniss’s effort. “We couldn’t be more thrilled to have Emmett as our goalie,” he said. “he showed up, completely volunteered, and, with limited practice time, has worked really hard.
“Obviously, he’s hot some work to do but we as a team, we need to understand our roles in supporting him.

Liam O’ Neill and Nick Smith each scored twice for Souderton

Souderton 3 2 2—7

Upper Dublin 1 0 1—2

First-period goals: Liam O’ Neill (S) from Anthony Lanzilotti, 3:40; Jamie Avaria (S) unassisted, 7:01; Tim Alexander (S) unassisted, 9:33; Kevin McGinley (UD) from Gus Plat, 11:20

Second-period goals: O’Neill (S) unassisted, 5:58; Nick Smith (S) from Evan Thacker, 14:54 (pp)

Third-period goals:  Alexander (S) unassisted, :25; Marco Morina (UD) from Louis Gamburg and Jonah Fisher, 3:40; Smith (S) 13:28.

Shots: Souderton 30, Upper Dublin 33; Saves: Liam Kelly (S) 31, Emmett Kepniss (UD) 23


Opening Night for Upper Dublin and Souderton

P-W’s John Cubbin Savoring Being Back on the Ice


HATFIELD—Plymouth Whitemarsh’s game against Upper Dublin Thursday night was something of an afterthought. The Colonials were scheduled to face Wissahickon in a SHSHL American Division matchup but that contest was postponed because of Covid-19 issues within the Wissahickon program.

So, Upper Dublin stepped into the breach and faced off against the Colonials in a non-league tussle that saw Plymouth Whitemarsh prevail 3-2 when Conlan Carpenter scored with 2:02 remaining in regulation time. The win was the Colonials’ fourth straight.

For John Cubbin however no evening on the ice can be considered mundane. Cubbin, a senior defenseman and the Colonials’ captain, is back playing hockey this year after missing his entire junior season while recovering from a concussion he sustained playing baseball the previous summer.

“It feels amazing,” Cubbin said, “I felt very restricted last year, not being able to play the sport I love. I didn’t feel like me, so I felt like I had to play.

“I’m hoping it makes a difference to the team, that’s why I decided to play. It seems like it is, so hopefully we can continue to grow and grind and continue to add on to our wins.

While Cubbin did not see game action last season, he was on the ice for every practice. That impressed his coach, Josh Aiello.

“I’m really proud of what John Cubbin has accomplished,” Aiello said. “He has spent a year not playing in games, but growing his education of the game, understanding the system, and conditioning, and really starting to fine-tune his craft.

“So, I’m really proud of what he’s accomplished. He’s a team-first kind of guy. He’ll help everyone from a freshman to a senior and its one of the reasons he’s the captain of our team.”
Cubbin admits it’s taken him some time to get his skates under him again. “I definitely feel a little bit rusty, a little bit sloppy in parts of my game,” he said. “A lot of this is like riding a bike, so you get it back pretty quick.”

Cubbin says he isn’t overly concerned about contact in the aftermath of his concussion. “I think I’m a big kid, I can fend for myself,” he said. “As a freshman, I was going out and trying to hit the biggest kid out there and now I’m a senior and I am one of the biggest out there, so I do believe that I can protect myself.”

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!

Lower Moreland 14, Upper Dublin 2

HATFIELD TOWNSHIP—They may be few in numbers, but the Lower Moreland Lions Lower Moreland are making an impact in the Suburban High School Hockey League’s American Division. The Lions have just 12 players on their roster and had just seven skaters in uniform Monday night but their offense was as potent as ever in a 14-2, two- period win over Upper Dublin at Hatfield Ice.

Coleman Peppelman and Vincenzo DeMaio scored four goals each to lead the way for Lower Moreland, which moved into first place in the division with a 4-1-3 divisional mark (6-1-3 overall). The Lions, despite their lack of numbers, are unbeaten in their last eight games and are averaging nine goals a game.

The result was determined within moments of the opening puck drop. Much of the opening period was played in the Flying Cardinals’ defensive zone.

Lower Moreland scored 12 goals in the opening frame. Upper Dublin (3-7, 0-7 in league play) was outgunned but Flying Cardinal netminder Liam Nixon did some good work between the pipes, making 25 saves in the opening period. He added five more in the second frame.

The Flying Cardinals got on the scoreboard when Ari Nordlinger found the back of the net 71 seconds into the second session and the teams traded goals until the contest was halted at the period’s conclusion via the 10-goal mercy rule.

The Lions backed off the throttle in the second frame but Peppleman noted that having a sizable lead allowed he and his teammates to work on some of the game’s finer points. “We try to build up our defense,” he said, “from giving up a lot of goals and offensively I think we’re pretty solid.”

Peppelman, one of just two seniors in the lineup on Wednesday, stressed the importance of staying focused in a one-sided game to avoid developing bad habits.

“That’s when you try to get the kids who don’t get the puck as much, get it to them,” he said, “and have them build up from there, just set them up and get them ready for the next game.”


Coleman Peppelman scored four goals for Lower Moreland in Thursday’s won over Upper Dublin (Photo by Keith Clemens)

Lower Moreland coach Gus Salfitti was focused on puck possession. “We have about four or five guys that can protect the puck,” he said. “They keep possession. Their passes are nice and crisp and they’re to a target …They use a big chunk of the ice.”

In addition to Peppelmans’s and DeMaio’s four-goal efforts, Adam Bostock scored twice while collecting an incredible seven assists for a nine-point night. Peppelman added three assists to finish with seven points while DeMaio’s two assists gave him six points on the evening.

By Rick Woelfel

Lower Moreland 12 2—14
Upper Dublin 0 2—2
First-period goals: Vincenzo DeMaio (LM) from Adam Bostock, 1:37; Coleman Peppelman (LM) unassisted, 2:01; Bostock (LM) from DeMaio, 5:04; Devin Green (LM) from Peppelman, 5:44; Peppelman (LM) from DeMaio, 7:07; DeMaio (LM) from Bostock, 7:23; Peppelman (LM) from Bostock, 9:33 (pp); DeMaio (LM) from Bostock, 11:35; Green (LM) from Bostock, 13:03; Arthur Rubinstein (LM) from Peppelman, 13:33; Peppelman (LM) unassisted, 14:02; DeMaio (LM) from Bostock and Peppelman, 15:51 (pp).
Second-period goals: Ari Nordlinger (UD) from Chris Barbera and Andrew Kearney, 1;11; Bostock (LM) unassisted, 2:35; Noah Gazzara (LM) from Bostock and Green, 7:35; Oren Serafin (UD) unassisted, 10:08.
Shots: Lower Moreland 44, Upper Dublin 17; Saves: Jacob Lungrin (LM) 15, Liam Nixon (UD) 30.
Records: Lower Moreland (6-1-3, 4-1-3 SHSHL American Division); Upper Dublin (3-7, 1-7)

It’s Time for the Flyers Cup

The world was a far different place when the Flyers Cup was played for the first time in 1980. For that matter, so was the game of hockey. The strongest team in the world at the time was the Soviet Union’s national team. Then the Miracle on Ice occurred. It was against this backdrop that the Flyers Cup was launched, as a mechanism for promoting high-school hockey and generating new hockey fans along with it.

Four teams competed in that first Cup, with Archbishop Carroll emerging victorious after defeating Haverford High in the championship game.

This year marks the 39th edition of the Flyers Cup which, with the support of the Philadelphia Flyers organization, has become a celebration of interscholastic hockey.

This year’s tournament will have a more streamlined look. The boys’ field has been reduced from 50 teams to 39 across three divisions. The Class 2A and Class 1A brackets will include 16 teams each (down from 20) while the Class 3A bracket for private schools will feature seven teams (down from 10 a year ago). There will also be a three-team girls’ division.

First-round games are set for Monday, March 5 in Class A and the following night in Class 2A. Quarterfinal games will be played Wednesday, March 7 (in Class A) and Thursday the 8th (Class 2A).

Semifinal games are scheduled for March 12 and 13. The Class A championship game is scheduled for Wednesday, March 14 at Ice Line in West Chester while the Class 2A tournament will conclude the following night at Hatfield Ice. The Class 3A final is scheduled for March 19, also at Hatfield Ice.

Two-time Class 2A Flyers Cup champion Central Bucks South has earned the number-one seed in this year’s tournament. The Titans, who won both the Flyers Cup and state titles in 2014 and ‘16 dominated the Suburban High-School Hockey League again this season and captured their fourth consecutive league title.

South coach Shaun McGinty says a big key to postseason success is doing the little things well. “It’s just a number and the kids have to come ready to go,” he said. “It’s all about playing disciplined this time of year, it’s the special teams, it’s the power [play, the penalty kill, it’s the line changes, it’s the small things.”

The Titans will open up Tuesday against Boyertown. Puck drop is set for 7:00 at Warwick.

Tom Coyne stepped behind the Pennridge bench in December. It took his players some time to adjust to the coaching change. But he feels things are moving in the right direction. He took the Rams to the SHSHL Class 2A finals this past week.

“It was a short run for me as far as when I came in,” he said, “but I just had to get an evaluation done and from there just kind of put the pieces together. Right now, it seems like we have found some of the things that are going to help us go forward.”

Coyne coached Central Bucks South when it won its two Cup and has also coached at Cheltenham. His Pennridge team will Open Cup play Tuesday against 13-th seeded Central Bucks East Tuesday at Hatfield Ice at 7:10.

Bayard Rustin will be looking to make history in the Class A bracket The Knights will be trying to win their fifth straight Cup, something that has only been done once before in the history of the competition in any class; Malvern Prep won five straight Class 3A titles from 2001-05. All told, Rustin has won seven Flyers Cups in the last nine years. they’ve also won five Class A state titles, including the past four.

Upper Dublin is making its first Cup appearance in eight years. The Flying Cardinals, who are seeded 12th in Class A missed the SHSHL Class A playoffs but earned a Flyers Cup invitation
Coach Anthony Richichi, says there’s a lot of excitement around the program. “Here we are this year going 9-7 and beating two (Class 2A) teams,” he said. We’re really excited to be part of this now.”

Chris Barbera, Upper Dublin’s captain, is especially excited for the program’s return to the Flyers Cup. “My brother played (in the Flyers Cup) when I was younger,” he said. There was a really strong team when he played. Then when I came up they were not doing too hot and the second year the same way. So, to see us get in this year means a lot. We knew we were going to do all right with the freshmen coming up, but we didn’t know we were going to do this good.”
After not being part of the tournament for close to a decade, Barbera says this year’s return is especially meaningful.  “Definitely,” he says. “We didn’t really know what to expect going into this year but now that we’re here, it really means a lot.”

Upper Dublin will open Flyers Cup play against fifth-seeded Hershey Monday at 6:45 at Ice Line.

Holy Ghost Prep coach Gump Whiteside played in the first Flyers Cup. He and the Firebirds will be trying to win their third Cup in four years but Whiteside says the Class 3A bracket is as wide-open as it’s ever been.

“I think the parity this year has been great,” he said. “As far as us getting the number-one seed I’m very proud of our players, I think they worked extremely hard to get where they are. The fruits of their labor have really paid off.”

Whiteside says it’s been rewarding to watch this year’s team develop over the course of the season. “It’s very satisfying,” he said. “We have a lot of seniors on this team. They’ve been with us for four years now and I would really like to see them end on a very positive note because they deserve it.”
the Firebirds will face either LaSalle or Cardinal O’Hara in a 3A semifinal on March 12 at Grundy Arena.

The three-team girls’ tournament will get underway on Tuesday, March 13 with second-seed West Chester East opposing third seed Radnor at 8:30 at ice Line. The winner faces three-time defending champion Unionville Thursday March 15 at the same venue at 6:30 for the Cup. Unionville has won seven Cups in the past eight seasons.

Top Seeds in Each Class

Class AAA

  1. Holy Ghost Prep
  2. St. Joseph’s Prep
  3. Malvern Prep
  4. LaSalle


Class 2A

  1. Central Bucks South
  2. Downingtown East
  3. Conestoga
  4. Pennridge


Class A

  1. Bayard Rustin
  2. West Chester East
  3. Lower Dauphin
  4. Springfield-Delco



  1. Unionville
  2. West Chester East
  3. Radnor


For a complete overview of the brackets, including seedings, pairings, game sites, and times, go to: www.flyerscup.org


Game sites and times subject to change.

Our thanks to the administration and staff at Holy Ghost Prep for their support.

Holy Ghost Prep is a private, Catholic, all-boys school located in Bensalem, Bucks County, Pennsylvania.

Located adjacent to the busy I-95 corridor in metropolitan Philadelphia, Holy Ghost Prep attracts students from more than 100 elementary feeder schools from throughout metropolitan Philadelphia counties and New Jersey

Today is a vibrant community of nearly 500 young men preparing for college and adult life through a challenging program which stresses the cultivation of students’ unique gifts and talents, academic excellence, and generous service to the poor. We continue to be mindful of our founding history as a seminary as we seek to form young men morally, intellectually, and spiritually in the Spiritan tradition.