Pennridge Rolls to Shutout Win Over OJR in Flyers Cup Semifinals

Photos provided courtesy of Tracy Valko. Check back for a gallery of photos: 

By Ben Reese

HATFIELD — Attack!

That could be the key word for the Pennridge ice hockey team’s offense. It always seems to be on the attack.

The Rams put that to good use in Monday’s Flyers Cup semifinal match against Owen J. Roberts at Hatfield Ice.

They attacked to the tune of 7-0 to advance to the Flyers Cup finals against a familiar foe, the Pennsbury Falcons, who knocked off No.1 seed Council Rock South on Monday night 7-5.

Pennridge scored two goals in the first period and followed it up with three more in the third and kept the pressure on with two in the final period. It wasn’t even close.

Owen J. Roberts couldn’t contain the Rams’ offense. At times, if appeared as if the Wildcats were standing still while Pennridge was flying up ice.

“We don’t do passive here,” said Pennridge coach Jeff Montagna. “We knew this team’s power play was lethal coming in.

“The way they run it, a 1-3-1, they basically have four guys below the dots. That’s go time for us. Put sticks on pucks and you’re going the other way. It’s the only way I know as a coach.”

It sounds like a great way to run your offense as long as it works.

“If you have the skill to do it, if you have the bodies to do it, just be relentless,” Montagna said. “Be relentless at all times.

“It’s fun to watch when it’s working. The mentality is just go, just attack them.”

The prime recipient of that relentless attack against the Wildcats was Shane Dachowski. He scored three goals to lead the offense.

“Just stay on the puck and attack as much as we can,” Dachowski said when asked about the offense. “Just get on teams early and then they are going to hesitate and take opportunities and we can capitalize on those.

“They came out and took chances, so we just mess up on them, keep getting chances deep.”

If the offense was in the attack mode, the defense was in the stop mode. While the Rams defense allowed 28 shots, none of them got past goalie Jacob Winton.

“No one is ever going to confuse us for a great hockey team defensively,” said Montagna. “They were absolutely perfect defensively tonight.”

A large part of that could be laid at the feet of Winton. The sophomore netminder stopped all 28 shots, both the easy ones and the hard ones.

“(The defense) really helped me out on a few plays tonight,” Winton said. “When shots are coming in from outside, it’s a lot easier to see them than in a big scramble in front where there are a lot of guys. Keeping them outside helps a lot.”

Montagna praised Winton for his play against the Wildcats, noting that he made several big saves.

“I didn’t think there was a ton (of big saves), but the ones that I had to make I made,” Winton said, “and the ones that were a little difficult I tried my best and got them.”

Montagna also thought that the experience the Rams had gotten from last year’s run to the Flyers Cup and the state championship has played well this season.

“There’s a lot of really good hockey players out there; there’s a lot of great hockey players out there,” he said. “But for guys to stay in the moment, embrace the moment and excel in the moment time and time again, that’s what makes them special.

“There’s a lot of really good players who can’t do that. Their ability to use their experience, to use and embrace the moment, it’s a rare quality. It’s a special trait.”

The entire Pennridge team seemed to embrace the moment against Owen J. Roberts.

Dane Fitchett got the offense rolling in the first period, scoring off assists from Andrew Lizak and Tyler Manto, at the 5-minute mark. Shane Dachowski made it 2-0 1:21 later with an unassisted marker.

Things kept moving Pennridge’s way in the second period. Kevin Pico hit the nets with 4:59 gone in the period. Andrew Savona and Shane Dachowski followed that up with short-handed goals to push the Rams into the third period with a 5-0 lead.

James Rush upped that total by one with his goal at 1:37. Shane Dachowski finished off his hat trick at the 9:31 mark to bring it to the final 7-0 total.

Pennridge will now face Pennsbury at Hatfield Ice on Tuesday night in defense of its Flyers Cup from 2022. The winner will then move on to the state championship game which will be played in the Pittsburgh area this year.

Pennridge 7, Owen J. Roberts 0
Owen J. Roberts          0          0          0 — 0
Pennridge                   2          3          2 — 7

First Period: 1, Dane Fitchett P (Andrew Lizak, Tyler Manto) 5:00; 2, Shane Dachowski P (unassisted) 6:21.
Second Period: 3, Kevin Pico P (Andrew Savona) 4:59; 4, Savona (unassisted) 7:11 SH; 5, S. Dachowski P (Colin Dachowski) 11:56 SH.
Third period: 6, James Rush P (Lizak) 1:37; 7, S. Dachowski P (Pico) 9:31.
Shots: OJR 28, P 30. Saves: Shane Towler (OJR) 23, Jacob Winton (P) 28.