Archbishop Wood defeated Upper Moreland to capture the SHSHL A title on Tuesday. To view photos of all the action, please visit the Photo Gallery.
WARMINSTER – John Capinas has played goalie since he was in the sixth grade.
But he had never played in a bigger game than Tuesday night when he helped Archbishop Wood capture the Suburban High School Hockey League Varsity A championship with a 4-1 win over Upper Moreland at Bucks County Ice.
The victory, coupled with Monday night's 10-3 decision, offset the Bears' 5-2 win last Friday. It also sets the Vikings up with momentum going into the Flyers Cup competition.
Wood coach Sam Gallen can't say enough about Capinas.
“Johnny played phenomenal,” Gallen said after the game. “He has played for me since he was a middle school player.
“We won a jayvee championship with him. He really played exceptionally well.”
Capinas kicked aside all but one of the 24 shots Upper Moreland fired on net. And the lone goal that the Bears scored came on the power play when the Vikings were shorthanded.
“He's a hard-working kid,” Gallen said. “He doesn't miss a thing plus he goes to an extra clinic on Sunday morning with our goalie coach. He's on the ice a lot trying to get ready for these games.”
Capinas seems to enjoy what he is doing, but he also realizes that he isn't doing it alone.
“My defense was there playing very strong,” he said of Tuesday night's effort, “keeping me in the game and helping out.”
“It's huge,” said Gallen of the win. “We knew our capabilities,
“We stumbled a little bit in the first game. In the second game, we were on fire.
“Tonight, we had a tough time and fought through it. It was a 4-1 final score but the game was closer than that.
“Moving into Thursday night (the Vikings' first Flyers Cup game), we've set the stage and hopefully we can just keep moving on.”
“It was very big,” he said of the win, “because we need momentum to go into the Flyers Cup. Now we are keeping our heads up.”
Defenseman Bailey Nixon, who led the way in keeping the puck away from Capinas, is on the same page.
“This game, we came out and we knew we wanted it,” he said. “We weren't going to lose.
“We've got a lot of motivation and positivity going into the Flyers Cup. We're going to have a lot of energy going in.
“We really don't care where we're seeded. We're just going to come out playing the game we know and play as hard as we can.”
That seemed to be the philosophy for the entire team in the deciding game against Upper Moreland. The game was physical from the opening whistle to the final buzzer.
In all, thirteen penalties were called, costing the two teams a combined 26 minutes off the ice. Wood led the way with eight infractions for 16 minutes in the penalty box.
Oddly enough, the lone Upper Moreland goal was the only power play goal of the game.
Archbishop Wood opened the scoring in the first period. Ryan Meinke got things going with a goal with 8:55 gone in the period, taking assists from Nixon and Matt Mandes.
Jonathan Rosica struck for the second marker in the first stanza. He got assists from Patrick Cavanaugh and Kevin Neiley to score at the 14:24 mark.
The Bears got the only goal in the second period. With the Vikings' Cavanaugh in the box for interference, Matthew Iehle pushed the puck past Capinas for the power play goal with 10:39 gone with assists going to Jordin Holmes and Matthew Baumgardner to cut the Wood lead in half.
That lasted until Michael Anzideo scored for the Vikings. Taking a pass from Mandes, he beat Bear goalie Jared Burch at 12:36 to get Wood the two-goal lead back.
The final goal came in the final 53 seconds. Neiley fired the puck into the empty net after the Bears had pulled Burch for the extra skater.
The only thing that didn't go the Vikings' way was in the injury department. Kyle Gallen, the team captain, injured his ankle in the third period and had to be helped off the ice.
Now both the Vikings and the Bears move into Flyers Cup play. Wood, seeded sixth, will play No. 11 Unionville on Thursday at 8 p.m. at Bucks County Ice. Upper Moreland, the eighth seed, meets No. 9 Garnet Valley on Thursday at Warwick at 8:30 p.m.
Nixon for one is enthusiastic about getting going at the Flyers Cup.
“I think we'll do great,” he said. “Last year, we got upset in the first round. Now we're looking to come back with some unfinished business, like we've been saying all season.”
Upper Moreland 0 1 0 – 1
Archbishop Wood 2 0 2 – 4
1. Ryan Meinke AW (Matt Mandes, Bailey Nixon) 8:55; 2. Jonathan Rosica AW (Patrick Cavanaugh, Kevin Neiley) 14:24. Penalties Joshua Barber UM (roughing) 4:51.
3. Matthew Iehle (Jordin Holmes, Matthew Baumgardner) 10:39 PP. Penalties: Meinke AW (roughing) 5:07; Neiley AW (elbowing) 5:56; Kyle Gallen AW (tripping) 9:13; Meinke AW (roughing) 9:13; Kyle Landis UM (roughing) 9:13; Cavanaugh AW (interference) 9:40; Neiley AW (slashing) 13:40.
4. Michael Anzideo AW (Mandes) 12:36; 5. Neiley AW (unassisted) 15:07 EN. Penalties: Meinke AW (slashing) 2:14; Colton Arizini UM (slashing) 3:47; Barber UM (tripping) 14:01; Troy Potts AW (unsportsmanlike conduct) 15:09; Matthew Mastrogiovanni UM (roughing) 15:09.
Shots: UM 24; AW 39. Saves: Jared Burch UM 34; John Capinas AW 23.