Seven SHSHL teams will see action in Tuesday’s opening round of the Flyers Cup Class AA Tournament. Check out the preview capsules.
Falcons have sights set high - Five years ago, the thought of the Pennsbury ice hockey team being a serious contender to the Flyers Cup would have been dismissed as little more than a pipe dream.
Five months ago, the coaches and players on this year’s Falcons’ squad felt the pieces were in place for this to be a special year.
Five weeks ago, every player and coach on this team knew that a Flyers Cup championship was something that was fully within reach.
So five days ago, when Pennsbury capped off the SHSHL league season by defeating Council Rock South and winning the program’s first SHSHL Class AA title, the Falcons turned their attention to the next step in this unprecedented journey.
“This was great, but right now, we’ve got to move on, get ready, and play our hearts out through the Flyers Cup,” said Pennsbury senior assistant captain Jack Boyle just moments after hoisting the league championship trophy on Thursday night.
It’s taken years for the Falcons to rise from struggling program to Flyers Cup contender. But for this season in particular, it took a team effort from day one. Long before the Falcons took to the ice, the seeds to this season were planted by a group willing to sacrifice personal goals for the sake of team success.
“Everyone got on board this year,” Pennsbury coach Ryan Daley said. “They trusted in us to make the right decisions, and if that meant playing some of the younger guys who were making a bigger impact, everyone was fine with that.
“That’s not to say some of the guys who took a little bit of a backseat didn’t contribute, they certainly did with their attitude, with their leadership. It’s a really special group attitude-wise, skill-wise. What a pleasure it is to coach these kids.”
Once the team hit the ice, that team effort was obvious on the score sheet. Three Falcons finished the regular season with more than 20 points (Brendan MacAinsh 35, Shane Siegmund 26, Reece Millman 24) and six more finishing with more than 10 points (Justin Marlin 17, Erik Eisler 16, Andrew Falkenstein 12, Jake McCaw 11, Colin Michalak 11, Connor Coyne 11).
“Obviously we rely on Brendan and Shane a lot on offense, but it’s our whole team all season,” Millman said. “Everyone can score, and on the defensive end, everyone’s contributing, everyone’s backchecking.”
After splitting their first two games, the Falcons embarked on an eight-game winning streak. Spread-out scoring, a solid team defense, and a top-notch goalkeeper in senior Marek Jorgenson proved to be a perfect combination.
Ask any member of the Pennsbury team when they began to realize that this season really could be something for the record books, and you’re likely to get several different answers.
“When we started seeing we were competing with the top teams and we were able to beat them by 3 and 4 goals, I think that’s when it really started to hit that we can really do something,” MacAinsh said. “When we started beating those teams, that’s when we realized we have a great chance to win this.”
“When we played North Penn and it was the first time in 10 years that we didn’t lose something like 9-0, and we beat them 9-2, that’s when I knew our team was special, that we could really do something this year,” Millman said.
For Daley, the realization of how good this team could be occurred a few weeks later than some of his players. After defeating Council Rock South 3-2 in overtime in early February, the Falcons and Golden Hawks met for a second time two weeks later, this time on Rock’s home ice. In rolling to a 4-1 victory, the team’s progression and potential was clear to the coach.
“When we won that second game in their barn and dominated the game and the pace, after that I really thought, ‘Man, we are the real deal. It’s no fluke,’” Daley said.
The Falcons proved they were the real deal in the league playoffs, rallying in the third period to pull out a 6-5 victory over Pennridge in the semifinal, then scoring five straight goals to turn a tight battle in the finals into a 7-4 victory over Council Rock South.
And following a season filled only with familiar SHSHL foes, Pennsbury will open its quest for the Flyers Cup with a new opponent. The second-seeded Falcons will host 15thseed Conestoga in the opening round of the tournament with a Tuesday night game at 8:40 pm at Hatfield Ice Arena. ‘Stoga finished tied for fourth in the Central League of the Inter-County Scholastic Hockey League with a 6-3 record and fell to eventual league champion Haverford, 10-0, in the Central League semifinals.
“It’s going to be fun, playing some new guys, playing a team we haven’t seen before,” said Boyle. “We’re going to have to make sure we’re on our toes, make sure we’re on our A game.”
#2 PENNSBURY vs # 15 CONESTOGA (at Hatfield Ice/Blue, Tuesday, April 6, 8:40 p.m.)
- Won program’s first SHSHL Class AA title with a 7-4 win over Council Rock South
- Scored 63 goals and allowed 32
- Brandan Macainsh leads the Falcons with 17 goals and 18 assists while Shane Siegmund (12 goals, 14 assists, 26 points) and Reece Millman (15 goals, 9 assists, 24 points) also have had big years.
- Also contributing to the attack are Justin Marlin (7 goals, 10 assists, 17 points), Erik Eisler (9 goals, 7 assists, 16 points), Andrew Falkenstein (5 goals, 7 assists, 12 points).
- Jake McCaw (7 goals, 4 assists), Colin Michalak (3 goals, 8 assists) and Connor Coyne (4 goals, 7 assists) each have 11 points.
- Goalie Marek Jorgenson boasts a save percentage of .867 with a 3.38 goals-against average.
- Central League fourth place
- Attack led by Connor Rolston (9 goals, 5 assists, 14 points), Andrew Pisano (4 goals, 9 assists, 13 points) and Dominic Mescieri (9 goals, 3 assists, 12 points)
- Goalie Luc Beaupariant has a save percentage of .855
#5 COUNCIL ROCK SOUTH vs. #12 AVON GROVE (at Hatfield Ice/Blue, Tuesday, Aprl 6, 6:30 p.m.)
- SHSHL Class 2A runner-up
- Contributing to the attack are Julian Sarne (6 goals, 11 assists, 17 points), Jeremy Pursell (11 goals, 3 assists, 14 points), Kevin Koles (5 goals, 8 assists, 13 points), Douglas Lopez (5 goals, 7 assists, 12 points), Julian Wagenmann (7 goals, 5 assists, 12 points), Sam Cherkassky (6 goals, 5 assists), Brennen Wright (3 goals, 8 assists)
- Goalie Jimmy Sweeney boasts a save percentage of .919 with one shutout and a goals-against average of 2.33
- Fourth place Ches-Mont National
- Nolan Zotter leads the attack with nine goals and six assists (15 points)
- Goalie Justin Mackley has a .839 save percentage with a 4.28 goals-against average.
#6 CENTRAL BUCKS SOUTH vs. #11 OWEN J ROBERTS (at Hatfield Ice/Gray, Tuesday, April 6, 8:10 p.m.)
Central Bucks South
- Fell to Council Rock South 2-1 in overtime in SHSHL Class 2A semifinals
- Attack led by Daniel Kvecher (6 goals, 10 assists, 16 points) and Aydin Thierolf (7 goals, 3 assists, 10 points)
- Goalie Mason Moyer boasts a .951 save percentage with a 1.42 goals-against average
Owen J. Roberts
- Second place behind Spring-Ford in Pioneer League
- Led by Charles Davis (15 goals, 7 assists, 22 points), Rory Bootri (8 totals, 9 assists, 17 points) and Cael Primanti (6 goals, 6 assists, 12 points)
- Shane Towler (.830 save percentage, 4.65 goals-against average) and Conner Hillanbrand (.901 save percentage, 2.65 goals-against) split time in goal.
#7 CENTRAL BUCKS EAST vs. #10 PENNRIDGE (at Hatfield Ice/Gray, Tuesday, April 6, 6 p.m.)
Central Bucks East
- Attack led by Adam Bostock (12 goals, 13 assists, 25 points), Chris Mangiacapre (9 goals, 7 assists, 16 points), Connor Keiser (5 goals, 7 assists, 12 points) and Tyler Godown (7 goals, 4 assists, 11 points)
- Matt Mangiacapre has a save percentage of .880 save with a 2.85 goals-against average.
- Scored 48 goals and allowed 29
- Attack led by Aeryk Lehrhaupt (14 goals, 4 assists, 18 points), Jack Lowery (7 goals, 9 assists, 16 points), Aidan Boyle (5 goals, 9 assists, 14 points), Andrew David (7 goals, 7 assists, 14 points), Richie Shanks (5 goals, 5 assists, 10 points)
- Goalie Ryan Pico has a save percentage of .918 with one shutout, and a 2.66 goals-against average.
#9 NESHAMINY vs. #8 PERKIOMEN VALLEY (at Ice Line, Tuesday, 6:45 p.m.)
- Fell to Pennsbury in SHSHL Class 2A semifinals 4-2
- Attack led by Thomas Gallagher (9 goals, 11 assists, 20 points), Robert Seewagen (11 goals, 6 assists, 17 points), Nolan Geria (8 goals, 5 assists, 13 points), JJ Hathaway (2 goals, 9 assists, 11 points) and Max Gallagher (3 goals, 7 assists, 10 points).
- Goalie Brian Nelson has a save percentage of .882 with a 2.96 goals-against average.
- Third place in four-team Pioneer League
- Attack led by Adam Carter (14 goals, 7 assists, 21 points), Jake Stasyk (9 goals, 11 assists, 20 points) and Jonathan Waters (6 goals, 4 assists, 10 points)
- Goalie Christopher Cowgill has a save percentage of .915 with a 1.95 goals-against average.
#14 NORTH PENN vs. #3 HAVERFORD (at Ice Line, Tuesday, 8:15 p.m.)
- Attack led by Ryan Cunningham (7 goals, 6 assists, 13 points) and Ryan Kaufhold (8 goals, 2 assists.
- Goalie Jon Boyles has a save percentage of .849 with two shutouts and a 4.29 goals-against average.
- Central League regular season co-champions
- Steamrolled Central League opponents with seven of nine wins by double-digits
- Attack led by Jagur McClelland with 18 goals and 22 assists (40 points), Jacob Orazi with 14 goals and 20 assists (34 points) and Mike MeGeogh with 12 goals and 16 assists (28 points).
- Also contributing are Dan Quartapecia (10 goals, 8 assists, 18 points), Quinn Carson (10 goals, six assists, 16 points), Alex Gattone (7 goals, 9 assists, 16 points), Nate Rabadam (2 goals, 13 assists, 15 points), Paul Perricone (3 goals, nine assists)
- Goalie Jai Jani has a save percentage of .946 with a 1.36 goals-against average.