2012 Ice Hockey Rink 'Rap (Vol. 1)

This week’s ice hockey notebook highlights some of last week’s SHSHL highlights.

By Mike Prince, Sportswriter

The past week in the Suburban High School Hockey League featured some upsets, most notably one in the American Conference, which saw Lansdale Catholic hammer Wissahickon by a score of 6-1.

While the Trojans may have been known as one of the better American Conference teams at the 2012-13 ice hockey season, the Crusaders certainly made a case for themselves, outplaying Wissahickon from start to finish last Friday in a game played at the Flyers SkateZone in Voorhees, NJ.

LC opened the scoring just 55 seconds into the contest when Andrew Hart took a pass from Michael Longhitano and beat Wissahickon goalkeeper Jordan Fromm for a 1-0 LC lead.  Longhitano would assist on the next goal along with Anthony Valerio, as Anthony DiNato scored on the power play just 57 seconds into the second period.  Longhitano then scored the next two goals for the Crusaders to open up a 4-0 lead halfway through the third period.

“They have a couple decent players,” LC coach Mark DiDonato said of Wissahickon, “but we just shot them down.  We have a couple studs, and they were on their game.”

Wissahickon scored its loan goal at the 13:04 mark of the third period, but Valerio followed with another goal for LC and Nick Ponticello scored the final goal of the game with assists to Longhitano and John Volpe to cap the scoring.  Longhitano’s final assist gave him an impressive five-point night, finishing with two goals and three assists to lead the Crusaders, who improved to 4-2 overall with the win.

“Mike (Longhitano) is just playing lights out right now,” DiDonato said.  “His brother, Pat, is on the team, too.  Those two are just a force to be reckoned with and they’re just really good.  Their game is on right now and they’re playing really good hockey, so we’re fortunate.”

Bucks are winners -Central Bucks West came away with a much-needed 9-6 win over Lower Moreland last Friday night. The win was the first of the year after starting the season 0-6.

CB West received a school record six goals from senior Austin Siemion in the win.  Freshman left wnger Eric Schwass also scored his first goal as a CB West player.

“It was good for us to get a win,” CB West coach Dave Baun said.  “We’ve played some good games and we’ve done a lot of good things and I think when we’re fighting someone in our weight class, we can come out on top once in awhile.

Regarding Siemion’s six goals, Baun said, “He’s a spectacular player.  He’s a great player who works hard, and he put himself into a position to get a lot of good shots and he can score goals.  I can’t say enough about how hard he works and how hard he tries to do what we ask him to do.  It’s nice to see him get some benefit out of it.”

In the losing effort, the Lions were led by winger Tyler Kraft, who scored four goals in the non-league affair.

Around the league - In another non-league game, Continental Conference leader Souderton upended Neshaminy by a score of 10-1 last Thursday.  The Indians were led by Daniel Rock, who finished with four goals and two assists in the winning effort.  Brannon Evans added two goals and two assists for Souderton (5-2-0), while Dylan Manto and Alex Politsky finished with one goal and three assists and one goal and two assists, respectively.  Clay Anders and Chris Malanga also scored for Souderton.

Neshaminy, which sat at 2-6-0 in the National Conference following the loss, had its only goal scored by Eric Graham in the third period.  Souderton outshot the Redskins 59-12, scoring three goals in the first period and six more in the third.

In a pair of non-conference games last week, North Penn, which currently sits in second place in the Continental Conference, came out with two dominating victories against National Conference teams Abington and William Tennent.

Last Thursday, North Penn scored three goals in the first period, five more in the second and three more in the third to defeat the Ghosts by a score of 11-1.

“I think, for the most part, we’ve been playing really well so far in the games we’ve played,” North Penn coach Kevin Vaitis said.  “We had a game a couple weeks ago that we think we should’ve won, but we got outworked.  In our recent games, we came into them knowing we had to win.  We’ve been playing well not just offensively, but defensively as well.”

Against Abington, North Penn (4-1-1) allowed just one late goal, while the offense did its job.  And against Tennent, the Knights again allowed just one goal.

Offensively, North Penn was led by Matthew Stella against Abington, as the forward scored three goals and added three assists.  Alex Peterson also scored three goals in the win, while Jeremy Snyder and Caleb Witzaney each finished with a goal and three assists.  Matt Barkley scored once and assisted on another goal, while Christian Ahn and Matthew Mette each scored once.

In the win against the Panthers, Snyder, Ahn and Witzaney each scored two goals.  Stella assisted on another goal, while Peterson and Nick Capasso each scored once.

“Matt (Stella) is in his second year with us and he’s just a player who has really stepped up for us offensively,” Vaitis said.  “Between him and Barkley taking a lot of leadership and contributing with goals, they’re the type of players who are doing a lot with the forward line.  Matthew is the type of player who was going through a funk and we told him that he was doing all the other things well and that the goals would come.  Sure enough, he went crazy in the Abington game.

“Alex (Peterson) is a freshman and in his first year with the team, and he came back from an injury earlier in the season when he broke his collarbone.  Since then, he’s really jumped in and played a lot, and he and Matt complement each other very well.”

North Penn will face Pennridge on Thursday night in hopes of winning its third game in a row.

The Rams, who currently are 3-2-0 and in fifth place in the Continental Conference, had a nice 7-0 win over Pennsbury last Friday in their first game in over a week.

Pennridge, which scored three times in the game’s first nine minutes and five seconds, was led by Shane Dotterer and Matt Brown, who finished with two goals and one assist and two goals and two assists, respectively.

Leland Stockman and Aaron Crosson each added a goal and an assist for Pennridge, while Jake Wexler rounded out the scoring with the Rams’ other goal.  Dustin Wexler stopped all 18 shots he saw in net to earn the shutout victory for Pennridge.