Pennsbury was a winner in Tuesday’s opening round of the Flyers Cup AA Tournament. Photos provided courtesy of Tracy Valko. Check back for a gallery of photos. All SOS photo galleries for ICE HOCKEY can be viewed by clicking HERE.
#4 Pennsbury 7, #13 Owen J. Roberts 3
By Craig Ostroff
Slow starts have been a staple of Pennsbury hockey throughout the season.
Once the Falcons start firing on all cylinders, however, there are few teams that can match them in terms of speed, skill, and scoring ability.
So when the Falcons fell behind 2-1 early in the second period of a tight Flyers Cup Class AA opener, there was no panic on the home bench. Fourth seed Pennsbury scored the next four goals—including three goals in a span of three minutes and 45 seconds —to quickly turn the tide and give the Falcons a lead they’d never relinquish on the way to dispatching Pioneer Conference Champion Owen J. Roberts 7-3 on Tuesday at Hatfield Blue.
“Hockey is all about momentum,” said Pennsbury defenseman Reece Millman, who contributed a goal and three assists on the night. “If you can score and build upon it, you’re going to score more, so it’s nice that we have the ability. When we’re down, everybody knows that we can bury goals quickly.”
The Falcons knotted the game at 2-2 on the power play midway through the period, when Brendan Macainsh and Shane Siegmund poked at the puck in a goalmouth scramble, and Logan Doyle picked up the garbage for the tying goal. Macainsh and Siegmund both notched assists on the goal.
“Shane had the tip, it was just sitting on the doorstep, and I was able to slam it in,” Doyle said.
Soon after, Doyle centered the puck from the boards to Macainsh in the slot, and the junior sniper made no mistake in firing the puck in to give the Falcons a 3-2 lead. Justin Marlin also registered a helper on the goal.
One minute later, Macainsh centered the puck to Reese Picker for what would hold up as the game winner. Andrew Falkenstein added to the onslaught with two minutes to go in the period when OJR goalie Shane Towler (33 saves) closed his pads on a Millman blast from the point, but the puck dribbled through and ended up behind him. Falkenstein deposited it into the yawning net to make it 5-2 Falcons.
“Like we did in the second period, we can turn it on and pour it on really quick,” said Pennsbury coach Ryan Daley. “That was a great comeback after that tight first period. I was fairly confident we could kind of run them down. I didn’t want to go away from our game plan, even when we went down 2-1.
“Their goalie was making good saves, they made some good defensive plays, but I knew if we kept our foot on the pedal, with our speed and scoring ability, there would be one that kind of broke the camel’s back.”
When OJR tried to stop Pennsbury’s momentum with a goal to trim the lead to 5-3 with 1:46 left in the second period, the Falcons responded 16 seconds later on a Macainsh rebound (Evan Eisler, Millman assists) to give the hosts a 6-3 lead heading into the final period.
Eisler added another assist on the final goal of the game when he led a rush into the OJR zone less than 5 minutes into the third period and dropped off the puck to Millman, who sniped the top glove-side corner to extend the Falcons’ lead to 7-3.
While the Falcons’ scoring leaders got their points on the night (Siegmund had a goal and an assist, Macainsh had two goals and two assists, and Millman a goal and three helpers), five other players saw their names added to the scoresheet as well.
“You need depth on a team, especially in games like this,” Millman said. “We have three lines of forwards. Depth is important and it’s nice to have everyone contributing.”
“I said it before the game, the games where we have other lines contributing to the goal scoring, we don’t lose,” Daley said. “It’s easier for a team when they only have to worry about one line, we have three really good lines we can roll, and when those other two are scoring, they’re dangerous, and we’re hard to stop.”
Patience was key on this night, as the aggressive Wildcats did their best to put bodies into shooting and passing lanes and force Pennsbury out of its game plan early on. While holding a 12-8 advantage in shots in the opening frame, the Falcons couldn’t find the net until Millman lofted a high clearing pass out of the defensive zone and found Siegmund in the neutral zone with a step on his defender. The senior captain made a nifty move on the breakaway and tucked in the backhand shot with 2:31 left in the period. OJR responded with an extra attacker on a delayed penalty against the Falcons and beat goalkeeper Aaron McDaniel on a low shot from the point that found its way through the legs of several players in front and into the net.
“They were a very hard-working team, that’s usually how it is in Flyers Cup,” Millman said. “They made it tough for us in the first.”
“We didn’t come out the way we wanted to in the first period, but in the second period we came out strong,” Doyle said. “We were trying to do too much in the beginning, but in the second, we started opening it up and passing it more.”
McDaniel made a strong showing in his Flyers Cup debut, turning aside 17 shots, including a short-side save on an OJR rush midway through a scoreless first period. He also robbed a Wildcat forward in close midway through the third period on a delayed penalty call against the Falcons.
“The second half of the season he’s been stellar,” Daley said of his sophomore netminder. “He’s settling into that crease, playing really well for us.”
With the victory, Pennsbury (12-4-1 overall) advances to the Class AA quarterfinals. The Falcons will host fifth seed Avon Grove, 2-1 victor over 12th seed Central Bucks East on Tuesday. The game will be played Thursday at a location (most likely Hatfield Ice) and time to be announced.
Pennsbury 7, Owen J. Roberts 3
Owen J. Roberts 1 2 0 – 3
Pennsbury 1 5 1 – 7
First period: 1, Shane Siegmund P (Reece Millman assist) 2:31; 2, Sean Kavanaugh OJR (Charles Davis, Ethan Bochanski assist), 0:42.
Second period: 3, Brady Callahan OJR (Davis, Andrew Watson assist) 13:28; 4, Logan Doyle P (Siegmund, Brendan Macainsh assist) PP 8:46; 5, Macainsh P (Doyle, Justin Marlin assist) 6:07; 6, Reese Picker P (Macainsh assist) 5:01; 7, Andrew Falkenstein P (Millman assist) 2:01; 8, Riley Vitullo OJR (unassisted) 1:46.; 9, Macainsh P (Evan Eisler, Millman assist) 1:30.
Third period: 10, Millman P (Eisler assist).
Shots: Owen J. Roberts 20; Pennsbury 40.
Saves: Shane Towler (OJR) 33; Aaron McDaniel (P) 17.
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