SOL SHSHL Ice Hockey Notebook (12-6-17)

By Scott Huff

And the beat goes on…

SHSHL American Conference ‘Snapshot’

New Hope Solebury is the ‘new kid on the block’ in the SHSHL American Conference.

“This is a first for a New Hope team to play on the varsity level,” said New Hope head coach Jeff Garvin.  “We played on the (SHSHL) middle school level last year, and this year we felt that we had a great group of high school age players to compete at the varsity level.

“Wayne Fowler (father of player Rex) started the middle school team and worked hard to get a program at the varsity level at New Hope.,” continued Garvin. “He gave me a call and asked if I wanted to coach – and I was glad to do it.

“My biggest concern was that we didn’t have a goalie with any experience,” added Garvin.  “A goalie in ice hockey is like a pitcher in baseball or a quarterback in football – you have to have someone to count on at that position.”

The big find for the Lions was senior Devin Bock.

“Devin had never played goalie in his life before this year - and I was honestly a little apprehensive about putting him out there,” said Garvin.  “But he is a very athletic kid who was a big fan of (New Jersey Devil goaltender) Martin Brodeur – Devin studies the game and watches a ton of videos.”

Bock has been tested this year and already has 71 saves in the first four games and has a solid 2-2 record.

The blue line in front of Bock has also been solid.  The McDowell brothers – Jay and Kel – along with Christopher Allen and Patrick Lovell – are the defensive cornerstones.

“Jay (McDowell) could be an excellent offensive player,” said Garvin.  “He is very physical – but I needed him to play defense – and he said whatever it takes to help the team.”

The offense has been putting the puck in the net in the early going.

Chris Braun has been a scoring machine as he has scored 11 goals and 3 assists in just four games.  Braun is paired with Aiden McCollum and Garrett Hoffman on the first line.  The second line consists of Vincent Vetrano, Michael Janora, and Rex Fowler.

“Chris is very strong, lanky, and has good hands,” said Garvin.  “And we feel that we have others players that are going to score some points.

“I was a little concerned with our school being around 500 students and playing some schools with over 1500 kids,” added Garvin.  “But after the first four games I feel good about where we are.

“My first thought was just to be able to compete – being a first year varsity team with no experienced goaltender,” continued Garvin.  “But after the first four games I really think that we can expect to be in the playoffs.”

Welcome New Hope Solebury to the Suburban High School Hockey League.

SHSHL National Conference ‘Snapshot’

Council Rock North suffered through a dreadful 1-16-0 season last year – the first year with Chris Gallagher as head coach.

“There were a lot of deep valleys last year,” remembered Gallagher.  “There were some games that we should have won but didn’t, and there were some other tough losses.”

The toughest losses came with the absence of standouts John Vanni and Cavan Tully.  Vanni was lost to the season due to a concussion, and Tully did not lace up the skates for a single game for personal reasons.

“John is a leader on offense and Cavan is a phenomenal defensive player,” said Gallagher.  “Not having them on the team was really hard for us to overcome.”

Vanni and Cavan answered a pair of huge questions on the offensive and defensive end of the ice – but the Indians still had a big question mark in goal.

“I had no idea as to who the goalie was going to be this year,” said Gallagher.  “I was talking to (former CR North head coach) Eric Tye and he talked to Rex (Goldberg’s) mother to see if he was coming out for the team.

“Rex has been a real leader on the team – even though he is only a freshman,” added Gallagher.  “He is quiet and unassuming, which is odd for a leader.  But he has been a big difference maker for us this year.”

Goldberg has come up with 105 saves in the first four games for the Indians.

CR North has a win and a tie in its last two games.  The Indians tied district rival CR South 4-4 and followed with a 6-1 victory over Souderton.

“I really think that we outplayed South even though we tied the game,” said Gallagher as CRN outshot the first place Hawks 37-22 on the night.  “We were all a little disappointed with the result.”

The CR North offense features Zac Herman as its leading scorer.  Herman has 11 goals and 11 assists and is paired with Brandon Simmonds.  The remaining offensive firepower comes from a line that consists of Vanni, Daniel Guest, and CJ Zemzik.

The Indian blue line features the duo of Tully and Harrison Treiman.

“Things are slowly coming together,” said Gallagher.  “Our expectations would be the continue to be competitive, make the playoffs, and get an invitation to the Flyers Cup at the end of the season.”

Welcome back Council Rock North to the SHSHL playoff conversation.

SHSHL Continental Conference ‘Snapshot’

Central Bucks West had a glorious 2016-2017 season as the Bucks finished with an overall mark of 19-3-1.

“We have a completely different team this year,” said CB West head coach Dave Baun.  “We lost nine key players from last year’s team, and we’re starting the process over.

“It is still far too early to tell how successful we are going to be this year,” added Baun.  “But we have players with good attitudes that are good learners.  And that is a great place to start.”

Baun has put his trust in junior goaltender Jeremy Kennard this season.

“Jeremy was the third goalie the last two years for us,” said Baun.  “He has worked very hard over the last two years, practiced hard, and showed a strong commitment to the team.

“He has respectfully waited his turn,” added Baun.  “And now it is his turn.”

Kennard has a 2-1 record over the first three games for the Bucks.  He has 91 saves and fine 4.50 goals against average.

The only loss of the season for CB West this season came against Pennridge by a 6-4 score.  The Bucks led at one point by a 4-1 margin and let the game slip away.

“There were some distractions in that game,” said Baun.  “The ref broke his skate – there was a long delay – and we seemed to lose some focus.

“Give Pennridge credit, though,” added Baun.  “They took away our momentum and created their own.”

CB West has showcased two strong lines this year.  The first line consists of Joey DeYoung, Joey Rockovich, and Jake Boehm.  The second line consists of Christian Young, Jake Lang, and Christopher Trefz.

The CB West defense features the duo of Matthew McCarthy and Luke McCleerey – along with the pairing of Evan Johnson and Matt Clark.

“We want to have balance along both the offensive and defensive lines,” said Baun.  “We have some big kids on the ice – especially on defense.”

Baun is in his 14th season as head coach of the Bucks.

“I love the connection that the team has with the school,” said Baun.  “They treat us very well, and you wouldn’t really want to coach anywhere else.

“I love working with the kids,” added Baun.  “And it’s working with the kids that really keeps me coming back.”

Welcome back CB West head coach Dave Baun for another successful season behind the bench.

‘On Ice’ in the SHSHL

Wednesday – 12/6/17
         CR South vs. CB West @ Hatfield – 7:10
         Abington vs. Ply. Whitemarsh @ Hatfield – 8:00
         Upper Moreland vs. Upper Dublin @ Warwick – 8:40
         New Hope Solebury vs. Hatboro-Horsham @ Hatfield – 8:50
         Souderton vs. Truman @ Grundy – 9:00

Thursday – 12/7/17
         William Tennent vs. Pennridge @ Hatfield – 7:10

CB East vs. Upper Dublin @ Hatfield – 8:30
Ply. Whitemarsh vs. Lower Moreland @ Wintersport – 8:30
Neshaminy vs. CB South @ Warwick – 8:45
Pennsbury vs. Truman @ Grundy – 9:00