SHSHL Ice Hockey Wrap (11-23-22)

Check out the recaps for a pair of rivalry games at Hatfield Ice. Pennridge/Souderton photos provided courtesy of Tracy Valko. Check back for a gallery of photos: as well as recaps of all of this week’s games.

By Ben Reese

HATFIELD — This isn’t the way Jeff Montagna wants to win ice hockey games.

His Pennridge Rams have had to come back in their last two games, including Wednesday’s rivalry night 6-5 win over Souderton at Hatfield Ice, and, needless to say, he isn’t happy with it.

But he does have the luxury of having one of the best scoring teams in the Suburban High School Hockey League. It doesn’t seem like it was all that long ago that the Rams were beating Thomas Jefferson to win the Pennsylvania state championship.

And it is that high-powered offense that is carrying them right now. Unfortunately, it isn’t as strong as it has been, however. Injuries have taken their toll.

What remains is a solid core of scorers on the first line. The trio of Kevin Pico, Andrew Savona and Shane Dachowski are handling a lot of the scoring right now.

“That line took it upon themselves to put us on their back and get us back in the game,” Montagna said. “And putting (Tyler) Manto back on defense (gave) us a fourth forward out there.”

It is those four with some help from their friends that boosted Pennridge past the Indians. They combined to score all six of the Rams goals.

And Pennridge needed all of them. The Rams fell behind 2-0 after the first period and 4-1 two-thirds of the way through the second.

Then things started happening in their favor. They scored the final three goals of the period to tie the score at 4-4.

And, when Dachowski (Savona assist) scored early in the third period, Pennridge took its first lead of the game. However, Souderton came right back to tie the score with a goal by Timothy Alexander before Savona netted the game-winner with 1:31 left in the game, using a Pico assist.

“That’s a good hockey team and they have a lot of skill,” said Souderton coach Ryan Uchniat. “And they don’t stop.

“They were playing CB South last week, and they went down early and the same thing. They don’t stop.”

The first period for the Rams was lackluster. They did take 15 shots, but Souderton goalie Noah Connor was stopping everything.

“I thought that they were frustrated after the first period,” Montagna said. “I just think that they needed that line to do what they did for us and they took it upon themselves.

“Right now, until we get everybody back healthy, they are going to have to do the majority of our scoring. I made it clear that it can’t always be that way but right now they are going to have to carry us.”

Savona knows that his line is going to do the brunt of the scoring for the team.  And he’s fine with that.

“We’ve got our key players and we know when to make a play,” he said. “Once we were down a few goals we knew we had to start picking it up and that’s what happened.

“We don’t like to lose. It was nice to get the W.”

Connor was the standout for the Big Red. The goalie stopped 46 of the 52 shots he faced, many of them spectacular.

“(He made) a couple of huge stops when it was 5-5,” said Uchniat. “He’s the reason we were in that game. I just can’t say enough about him.

“That Pennridge team comes in waves. He was the element that really kept us in it.”

In first period, Matthew Malanga (Nick Smith/Seth Grossman assists) put the Indians on the scoreboard with five minutes remaining, and they led 2-0 after a goal by Evan Thacker (Liam O’Neill/Malanga assists).

The Indians upped their lead to 3-0 when Smith scored four minutes into the second period with assists from Grossman and Jaime Avaria. Kevin Pico (Dachowski/Savona assists) found the net to make it a 3-1 game, but Avaria (Grossman/Malanga assists) answered with a goal that put the Indians on top 4-1.

The Rams closed out the quarter with back-to-back-to-back goals in a three-minute span to even the score 4-4 after three periods. Manto’s unassisted goal was followed by goals from Dachowski (Savona assist) and Pico (Savona/Dachowski assists), and the stage was set for the wild finish.

Oh, by the way, the comeback win last week against CB South. The final score in that one was also 6-5.

Pennridge 6, Souderton 5
Souderton          2 2 1 — 5
Pennridge          0 4 2 — 6
First period: 1, Matthew Malanga S (Nick Smith, Seth Grossman) 11:38 PP; 2, Evan Thacker S (Liam O’Neill, Malanga) 12:41.
Second period: 3, Smith S (Grossman, Jaime Avaria) 3:53; 4, Kevin Pico P (Shane Dachowski, Andrew Savona) 5:53; 5, Avaria S (Grossman, Malanga) 10:22; 6, Tyler Manto P (unassisted) 10:56; 7, Dachowski P (Savona) 12:31; 8, Pico P (Savona, Dachowski) 13:52.
Third period: 9, Dachowski P (Savona) 1:46; 10, Timothy Alexander S (unassisted) 8:58; 11, Savona P (Pico) 15:29.
Shots: S 21, P 52. Saves: Noah Connor (S) 46, Jacob Gilbert (P) 16.

Looking for the definition of a team win? The Patriots’ rivalry night win over the Bucks at Hatfield Ice would certainly fit the bill.

Six players contributed one goal each, and sophomore Cole Breen was rock solid in goal, turning away 29 of 31 shots he faced. With the win, the Patriots upped their record to 4-0.
“I can definitely say I did not anticipate the start that we’ve had so far,” East coach Jeff Mitchell said of his team’s impressive start. “We’ve got a lot of younger kids. Our one goaltender, Matt Mangiacapre, has been with our team for the past three years, but it’s really nice to throw a younger goaltender in and really have the confidence in him to help carry the team and not have any sacrifice.
“Another big key is – a lot of these kids are playing with each other throughout the Genesis organization, so a lot of them have played with each other or they’re around the same teams. There’s just some kind of natural chemistry that comes along with kids playing together on their club teams and then coming here to play.”
Mangiacapre, who has played the majority of minutes, is 2-0, and Wednesday’s win was the second of the season for Breen.
“It was a good team win,” Breen said. “We’re 4-0. I think the key has been everyone doing their job, and we’ve been getting the wins.”
The Patriots wasted little time before getting on the scoreboard. Patrick O’Brien scored an unassisted goal just over two minutes into the contest, and the sophomore, a transfer from Plumstead Christian, got his first taste of the East/West rivalry in a contest played in front of packed sidelines.
“It was pretty crazy,” O’Brien said. “After the first couple of shifts, it kind of settled down, but those first couple of shifts really got my adrenaline going.
“I really bonded with the team over the past couple of weeks, and it was just a really fun experience coming out here and playing with them.”
Just over a minute after O’Brien’s goal, Corey Kosick scored, and the Patriots led 2-0 before the Bucks knew what hit them.
“I kind of knew we were going to win after that, but we still had to keep battling to keep the lead,” Breen said.
The Bucks made it a 2-1 game after a goal by Samuel Poliak (Luke Tremmel assist) with 9:15 remaining in the opening period. The Patriots responded with goals by DJ Brown (O’Brien assist) and Carter Keiser (Jaden Young assist) to go on top 4-1 after one period. Keiser’s goal came on a power play.
Five-and-a-half minutes into the second period, East upped its lead to 5-1 after a goal by Young with a Carter Keiser assist, and this was a case of the Patriots capitalizing on their opportunities as the Bucks – to that point in the game – held a 15-14 edge in shots.
“It really helps to have a lot of players who can actually put finish on the puck,” Mitchell said. “We’re doing a really good job creating a lot of scoring chances. Goal scorers are hard to come by, so it’s nice to have a little bit of natural talent to be able to just finish it.
“Last year we had a lot of that only through one or two players. Now we’re spreading it through the top two lines. They have almost all our goals this year, and we’ve got a couple from the third line. It’s helped to spread it out throughout the team.”
Anthony Dowd’s unassisted goal made it a 5-2 game midway through the second period, but Charlie Keiser used a Drew Trask assist for a goal that gave the Patriots their final margin of victory.
Mitchell – whose team held a 40-31 advantage in shots - credited the strong play of his first line – Carter Keiser, Corey Kosick and Jaden Young – for setting the tone in Wednesday’s win.
Central Bucks West     1 1 0 – 2
Central Bucks East      4 2 0 – 6
First period: 1. Patrick O’Brien CBE, 14:51; 2. Corey Kosick CBE, 13:35; 3. Samuel Poliak CBW (Luke Tremmel) 9:15; 4. David ‘DJ’ Brown CBE (Patrick O’Brien) 3:50; 5. Carter Keiser CBE (Jaden Young/Corey Kosick) 2:35.
Second period: 6. Jaden Young CBE (Carter Keiser) 11:28; 7. Anthony Dowd CBW, 8:12; 8. Charlie Keiser CBE (Drew Trask).
Third period: No score
Shots: CBE 40, CBW 31. Saves: Kyle Fasolak (CBW) 6, Liam Rogers (CBW) 28; Cole Breen (CBE) 29.