This week’s notebook features Upper Dublin, CR South and Souderton. (Photo provided courtesy of Julie Spahn, Dara N. King Photography)
By Scott Huff
And the beat goes on…
SHSHL American Conference ‘Snapshot’
Upper Dublinhead coach Anthony Richichi is in his second year of his second tenure as coach of the Flying Cardinals.
And Upper Dublin is ‘trusting the process’ as the Cardinals are rebuilding their scholastic ice hockey program.
“We are back to being a ‘pure’ team,” said Richichi. “Our goal to begin the year was to improve on the win total from last year and continue to build the program.
“We have a strong middle school program, and we have a nice group of freshmen on the team this year,” added Richichi. “We want to be able to bring effort every game and compete against the more established teams in our league.”
Upper Dublin has already matched last year’s win total of three victories – and the Flying Cardinals are currently on a two-game winning streak. UD has collected wins over Upper Moreland (6-2) and Central Bucks East (6-3) in the last two contests.
“I was very proud of the way that we played against CB East,” said Richichi. “East is an AA varsity level – and we’re at an A varsity level.
“We were ready to play and played with no self-doubt,” added Richichi. “We gave a great effort, came up with a win, and look forward to playing the next game.”
The firepower of the Upper Dublin offense comes from junior Ari Nordlinger. Nordlinger – who scored four goals in the win over CB East – has scored 14 goals with 5 assists in the seven Cardinal games.
“Ari is just a special player,” said Richichi. “He has blazing speed, has amazing hands, and opens up the ice for the rest of the players.”
Nordlinger plays on a line with freshman Oren Serafin (10 goals & 4 assists). Quinn Burns and Daniel Katz also see playing time on the Nordlinger-Serafin express.
The Upper Dublin goaltending has also been outstanding with the play of senior Stephen Sanders.
“Sometimes the plays he makes are ridiculous,” said Richichi. “He has had to make what seems like 70 to 90 shots a game.
“Stephen is really a coach’s dream,” continued Richichi. “He gives us a chance to win every game he plays.”
The blue line for the Cardinals features Ben Rosenthal and Captain Chris Barbera. Seth Lerner – lost to a broken shoulder earlier this year – should return along that defensive line.
“This is a team that has realized what it takes to win,” said Richichi. “We have a combination of club players and players that just play for the school.
“We play New Hope this week and look forward to a chance to get our fourth win,” added Richichi. “We want to continue to get the effort that we got the last couple of games.”
SHSHL American Conference Standings
(Conference Record Only) W L T Pts
1. Wissahickon Trojans 7 0 0 14
2, Hatboro-Horsham Hatters 5 1 0 10
3. Abington Ghosts 3 1 0 6
4. Lower Moreland Lions 2 3 0 4
5. Upper Dublin Cardinals 2 4 0 4
6. New Hope Lions 1 3 0 2
7. Plymouth Whitemarsh 1 4 0 2
8. Upper Moreland Bears 0 5 0 0
SHSHL National Conference ‘Snapshot’
Council Rock South is holding down first place in the conference despite playing undermanned so far this season.
“We have been a little light on varsity players,” said 11-year veteran head coach Joe Houk. “We have had some key injuries, and we have had to bring up a number of junior varsity players to fill out our roster.
“We have had three junior varsity players – David Mueller, Jeremy Purcell, and Kyle Schneider move up every game,” continued Houk. “They are gaining varsity experience which might help in the long run, but we should be getting some of our regular varsity players back.”
That list includes Dylan Feoli (foot/returns this week), Bill Harrelson (knee/January return), and Matthew Owens (shoulder/February return).
“We will be a totally different looking team when we get them back,” said Houk. “We have done a good job so far, though, with the players we have been able to put on the ice.”
The Golden Hawk offense has been sparked thus far by junior Matthew Meli who has scored 14 goals with 3 assists in just six games. Senior Jared Wagenmann and junior Logan Hurwitz have joined Meli on the first line.
“Matthew has a great shot and plays the game with a lot of skill,” said Houk. “Right now I have Jared and Logan playing with him, but once we get everyone back we might split them up.”
The CR South goaltending has been split between senior Mason Procz and sophomore Jeremy Siegel.
“Mason has played more of the games and will be a mentor to Jeremy,” said Houk. “Mason shows leadership and is well respected by his teammates and always plays his ‘A’ game.
“Jeremy understands that he can learn from Mason,” added Houk. “And Jeremy played a great game against CB South. South is a very good team and had 40 some shots – and Jeremy kept us in the game, allowing only three goals.”
CR South plays ‘up’ this week when the AA Golden Hawks skate against the AAA Holy Ghost Prep on Wednesday.
“We are very competitive by nature and we want to play games like that,” said Houk. “Sometimes when you play other (weaker) teams you can get into bad habits.
“Holy Ghost Prep is going to be a good test for the kids,” added Houk. “We just need to play smart and have fun.”
SHSHL National Conference Standings
(Conference Record only)_ W L T Pts
1. Council Rock South Hawks 4 0 0 8
2. William Tennent Panthers 1 2 1 3
3. Council Rock North Indians 1 3 1 3
4. Neshaminy Redskins 1 3 0 2
5. Truman Tigers 0 2 1 1
6. Pennsbury Falcons 0 4 0 0
SHSHL Continental Conference ‘Snapshot”
Souderton competes in what head coach Matt Montagna calls “the toughest AA league in the state.”
“This league produces Flyers Cup champions and state champions,” said Montagna. “Some teams might not like competing against that kind of competition, but it is good for our program.
“The new format requires us to play our (conference) teams only once this year,” added Montagna. “But we scheduled really good teams like CB South, North Penn, and Pennridge twice – one (conference) and once as a non-league game.
“Those three teams might be a step ahead of the rest of us,” continued Montagna. “But the rest of us (CB East, CB West, Souderton, and the National Conference) should compete for the last five playoff spots.”
Souderton currently stands at 2-2 in the conference record books and is coming off a 7-2 victory over Truman.
“We were behind in that game and came back to win,” said Montagna. “Winning like that should be able to give us some confidence.”
One player that Montagna has overwhelming confidence in is senior goaltender Joshua Smith.
“Joshua is one of our four senior captains,” said Montagna. “And usually you don’t have a goaltender as a captain.
“He is such a fierce competitor – he doesn’t do well with losing,” added Montagna, who admitted that he doesn’t do well with losing either. “He really attacks the puck well – and we know what we are going to get every game with him.”
The Indian offense has featured a top line of senior center Austin Mower along with freshmen wingers John Gray and Tyler MacPhee.
“Austin is another one of our captains and can score,” said Montagna. “And both John and Tyler are already excellent players as freshmen.”
The blue line showcases the remaining two Souderton captains – seniors Joshua Reeves and Tyler Apple.
“We graduated 12 players and we knew that it was going to take some time to get this team to be able to catch up with the speed of varsity hockey,” said Montagna. “But we are getting better – and we are having fun. And that is all we really want.”
SHSHL Continental Conference Standings
(Conference Record Only) W L T Pts
1. Central Bucks South Titans 3 0 0 6
2. North Penn Knights 3 0 0 6
3. Pennridge Rams 3 0 0 6
4. Central Bucks East Patriots 2 2 0 4
5. Souderton Indians 2 2 0 4
6. Central Bucks West Bucks 0 2 0 0
‘On Ice’ in the SHSHL
Wednesday – 12/13/17
New Hope Solebury vs. Upper Dublin @ Hatfield – 6:20 pm
Plymouth Whitemarsh vs. Wissahickon @ Hatfield – 7:10 pm
Pennsbury vs. Central Bucks South @ Warwick – 8:40 pm
Council Rock South vs. Holy Ghost Prep @ Grundy – 7:20 pm
Thursday – 12/14/17
Central Bucks East vs. Pennridge @ Hatfield – 7:10 pm
Upper Moreland vs. Truman @ Grundy – 7:20 pm
Hatboro-Horsham vs. Abington @ Wintersport – 8:30 pm
William Tennent vs. Neshaminy @ Grundy – 9:00 pm
Friday – 12/15/17
Lower Moreland vs. New Hope @ Bucks County Ice – 6:50 pm
Souderton vs. Central Bucks West @ Hatfield – 7:10 pm
Council Rock North vs. Wissahickon @ Hatfield – 8:50 pm