Pennsbury edged Pennridge to capture the Flyers Cup AA title Tuesday night. Photos provided courtesy of Tracy Valko. Check back for a gallery of photos: https://solsports.zenfolio.com/f1064915949
FLYERS CUP AA FINAL
PENNSBURY 5, PENNRIDGE 3
By Ben Reese
HATFIELD — After many misses, after many runners-up finishes, Pennsbury has finally emerged at the top of the heap.
The Falcons downed Pennridge 5-3 in a classic battle to capture the Flyers Cup on Tuesday night at Hatfield Ice. Pennsbury will now move on to the state championship game on Saturday against South Fayette, a 2-0 winner over Armstrong in the Penguins Cup finale. The game will be played at Robert Morris University.
Pennridge took a 1-0 lead in the first period and held on to it for much of the second period before Brendan Macainish took control, scoring twice. It stayed that way into the third before Pennsbury scored once and Pennridge scored twice to tie the game at 3-3.
But the Falcons would not be denied. Justin Marlin netted what proved to be the game-winner and Macainish completed his hat trick with an empty net goal.
Though it might seem strange, it was the defense that propelled the Falcons to the Flyers Cup win. In the crucial third period, the Pennsbury defense kept the Rams off the board when it had to.
“Even though it was 5-3, I think people were expecting a higher score,” said Pennrbury coach Ryan Daley, “and so was I. The defense came up huge. We had to have had 20 blocked shots in the third period.”
And the defense wasn’t only limited to the defensemen. Goaltender Aaron McDaniel sparkled in the nets.
“Aaron had an unbelievable game,” Daley said. “The ones that got in on him were ones he couldn’t do much about. He stood on his head for a lot of the other ones.
“We couldn’t have done it without our defense, which is something we don’t say very often after a big game.”
Macainish appreciated what his goalie did in the win.
“McDaniel played great as well,” he said. “He saved us a couple times. They could have scored a couple more, but he didn’t let them cash in.”
Pennridge coach Jeff Montagna couldn’t agree more.
“It was a fabulous hockey game,” he said. “They did what champions do.
“Props to Pennsbury and props to their goaltender. We had chance after chance and did not take advantage of it. We get that game to 2-0 and it’s a whole different game.”
Then there was Macainish.
His three goals gave him eleven for the tournament, one more than Pennridge’s Shane Dachowski. And he probably spent more time on the ice than any two or three other players combined.
He thought that the break between the second and third periods, when they bring out the Zamboni and cut the ice, helped his team a lot.
“That break really helped us,” Macainish said. “We’re usually gassed in the second and having that break makes us come out on fire every time.”
Daley couldn’t say enough about Macainish.
“The kid’s unbelievable,” he said. “Hat trick, that’s like commonplace.
“He deserved the MVP 100 percent. Even if we lost, I think he might have gotten the MVP. That’s how good he is.
“It’s not just his goal scoring; he does everything. When the tank’s empty, his legs hurt, he still goes.”
Montagna could only watch and appreciate what he was seeing.
“I told Macainish that I’ve been around this a long time,” Montagna said, “and he’s as good a player as has come though this league. You know, if we’re going to lose to somebody, I’d rather lose to him because he put that team on his back and got the Flyers Cup.”
Shane Dachowski put Pennridge in the lead in the first period. He scored at the 4:39 mark off an assist from Tyler Manto.
That lead lasted a fairly long time, or until Macainish got going. He scored his first goal of the game at 13:38 with an assist from Marlin and notched his second at 15:45, again with help from Marlin.
Evan Eisler put the Falcons on top at 3-1 with the first goal of the third period. But Pennridge came roaring back with two goals in 1:24 as Manto found the net on the power play and Shane Dachowski scored short-handed to tie the score.
But Marlin untied it at 8:41 and Macainish finished off his hat trick with 1.4 seconds left into an empty net.
This is the first Flyers Cup for the Falcons since 2000 when they were a Class A team. It is the first for Pennsbury at the AA level.
It also managed to stun the coach and players into a bit of silence.
“It’s unbelievable,” said Daley. “It’s still setting in.”
“That was exciting,” said Macainish. “I’ve been waiting a long time for something like that.
“For four years, I’ve been trying to get this. I got the SHSHL but nothing like this.”
“Especially being a senior here, we’ve been close,” said Marlin. “This year, we weren’t letting it go.”
Both Macainish and Marlin made the all-tournament team along with McDaniel and Andrew Falkenstein. Shane Dachowski and his brother Colin were selected for Pennridge.
As mentioned, Macainish won the Bobby Clarke Award as the MVP. Marlin was named the top scorer for the tournament.
Pennsbury 5, Pennridge 3
Pennsbury 0 2 3 — 5
Pennridge 1 0 2 — 3
First period: 1, Shane Dachowski P (Tyler Manto) 4:39.
Second period: 2, Brendan Macainish Pb (Justin Marlin) 13:38; 3, Macainish Pb (Marlin) 15:45.
Third period: 4, Evan Eisler Pb (Andrew Falkenstein) 2:35; 5, Manto P (James Rush) 4:22 PP; 6, S. Dachowski P (Kevin Pico) 5:46 SH; 7, Marlin Pb (unassisted) 8:41; 8, Macainish Pb (unassisted) 16:59 EN.
Shots: Pb 30, P 37. Saves: Aaron McDaniel (Pb) 34, Jacob Winton (P) 25.
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