CR South, Souderton & Archbishop Wood are featured in this week’s notebook, which includes Brian Good’s three stars and the point leaders.
By Brian Good
SHSHL NATIONAL – CR SOUTH:
With just four games remaining in the regular season, CR South is in an interesting position. The Golden Hawks sit in first place in their division, three points ahead of scorching hot William Tennent, but haven’t necessarily played up to their full potential. While the team is encouraged by their place in the standings as the season winds down, they also recognize they need to pick it up if they expect to make a postseason run.
“We’ve been very inconsistent recently,” said CR South head coach Joe Houk. “From our goaltending on out to our forwards, we need to reel it in a little bit. You reach a little bit of a burnout stage, a lot of the kids have been playing a lot of hockey with club and everything, but were regrouping now and look to finish strong which I think we will.”
Whether it’s a “burnout stage” or just a matter of not playing efficient hockey, the difference between the CR South team we see today and the one we saw at the beginning of the season is noticeable.
The Hawks started out 5-0-0 and looked to be close to unbeatable following a 5-1 win over CB South. However, since then they’ve gone 3-3-0 in their last six league games, and while they still sit in first place, William Tennent is gaining on them.
“That last game of the season against Tennent is looking like it’s going to be a fight for first place,” said Houk. “The kids just need to be more consistent and more attentive on the ice and everything will straighten out.”
The Golden Hawks’ strength has always been in net, and that has continued as the season has gone on. Goalies Mason Procz and Jeremy Siegel give them not one, but two viable options between the pipes, something most teams would kill for.
Procz is the team’s number one option, with Siegel getting a fair amount of time as well.
“You have to build a team from your goal line out and they have carried us at times but the last couple of games even they haven’t been playing at their usual level,” said Houk. “Mason Procz is my number one, and he had a rough run against Pennsbury, but that’s to be expected. Not every game is going to be flawless, and we have to be able to win even when we aren’t playing our best.”
The quickest way to rebound for CR South will be to find consistent scoring. With games coming up against CR North, Neshaminy and a revenge matchup against Pennsbury, the opportunity is there to build momentum and get back to how they were playing early on. However, in order to do so they are going to need the likes of leading point scorers Jake Houk, Dylan Feoli and Matthew Owens to take charge in the offensive zone.
SHSHL CONTINENTAL – SOUDERTON:
Going up against CB West hasn’t been easy. As a matter of fact, not a single team has been able to beat them so far.
However, their most challenging opponent to date wasn’t CR South or CB South or William Tennent. It was Souderton that earned a 3-3 tie against the Bucks last week.
“I think throughout that game we just did a good job of staying in their faces and challenging them,” said Souderton head coach Matt Montagna. “That ability to keep the tempo moving and challenge them allowed us to dictate a little.”
Souderton actually led the game almost the entire third period. Second period goals from Tyler Johnson and Jordan Engelhart propelled the Indians to a 3-2 lead entering the third period, but a score from Joe Anton in the closing minutes of the third period ensured the Bucks would escape with a tie rather than a loss.
The tie put some teams around the league on notice and proved that while CB West and CR South and CB South are all legitimate contenders, people better not forget about the Indians.
“We’ve been able to be consistent, and as a coach, that’ll make you smile,” said Montagna. “That’s the hardest thing to do, and earlier in the year, we would play consistently but one piece of our game would drop off. We’ve cleaned some of that up and we’ve just done a good job of bouncing back each week.”
That consistency has propelled Souderton to third place in the Continental, just four points behind CB South, and with a game left on the schedule against the Titans, they have a real chance to challenge for that second spot.
If they are going to continue their rise up the standings, they are going to need line mates Gabe Evans and Tyler Johnson to continue their strong play. Evans leads the team with 30 points while Johnson has tallied 22 points of his own. That line has done the majority of the scoring for the Indians and has come up time after time when they need a big play.
“They’re huge for us because I have a line I can go to when we need a goal,” said Montagna. “(In early January), I was just starting to put them together on a line, and now that they’re together it creates a matchup problem and it’s showing up on the scoreboard.”
Adding to the strong play of Evans and Johnson has been the play of the team’s defensemen. Josh Reeves and Thomas Tierney head up the first defensive pairing for the Indians and have done a great job limiting their opponents’ chances. The second pairing of Tyler Apple and Weston Bainbridge has also done a phenomenal job of shoring up the back end, making sure the Indians are in every game they play.
Perhaps not may people picked Souderton to finish near the top of the division this season, but if they can continue to play like they have been lately, they may be able to sneak into second place in the division just in time for the post season.
SHSHL AMERICAN – ARCHBISHOP WOOD:
With all the division races tightening up as the end of the season approaches, none have been tighter than the battle for the American division crown.
Just four points separate three teams (Plymouth Whitemarsh, Archbishop Wood and Wissahickon), and while PW is currently in the driver’s seat, it’s anyone’s to win.
The most intriguing team of the bunch may just be Archbishop Wood. The Vikings average nine goals a game and are first in the league in goals against, having allowed just 21 in 10 division games.
What really separates them from most teams, especially at the “A” level, is the number of players they have that can put the puck in the back of the net. Five players have over 22 points so far this season, something no other team can say, and that’s the type of offensive firepower that can carry a team through the postseason.
“All those kids are seniors and they play as a team and it shows,” said Wood head coach Tom Walsh. “Both our top two lines and our defensemen too have been able to score for us and all that helps. We play a defensive style of hockey and create turnovers which leads to opportunities for us.”
The leader of the Vikings’ offensive unit, and the entire league for that matter, is Timothy Cordero. Cordero has scored a ridiculous 42 points in just 12 games.
He has shown great balance in his play, recording 21 goals and 21 assists, and done everything his coach has asked of him.
“Timmy Cordero is really a great leader for us and he will do whatever we need him to do,” said Walsh. “He isn’t necessarily a vocal leader, but he leads by example through the way he plays on the ice. He’s an extremely smart, skilled and hardworking player and you can tell that he just loves being out there. You can’t ask for anything more.”
The scoring is obviously not a problem for Wood, but if they want to take the next step forward and get into first place ahead of PW, they may need one of their goaltenders to step up.
David Casper and Joe Danig have split time throughout the season, but with neither separating themselves from the other, they have been forced to kind of pick and choose who plays when.
At the rate they’re scoring goals, Wood doesn’t need to improve much of their game going forward, but it’s important that they’re able to keep it up on the offensive zone if they’re going to catch PW in the final weeks of the season.
SHSHL 3 STARS OF THE WEEK
1. Michael Roarty, F, Truman– 7 Goals 3 Assists
Roarty has been floating around the top of the league in points all season long, and this past week he showed a little bit of everything to shoot back to the top. He started out with a five-goal, one-assist performance in a 12-8 win against CR North and followed it with a two-goal, two-assist showing versus CR South. Roarty has 37 points this season in just 14 games played and is a threat to score every time he steps on the ice.
2. Coleman Peppelman, F, Lower Moreland – 4 Goals 3 Assist
Lower Moreland has had a tough season so far, but Peppelman has put together a pretty nice year individually. The sophomore had four goals and three assists in a 12-2 win against Upper Moreland, guiding the Lions to their second win of the season. His mark of 19 goals in just eight games played is unbelievable, and he shows no signs of slowing down.
3. Luke Stranik, G, Pennridge – 1-0 31 SV on 32 SOG .969 SV% 1
Stranik’s season has been up and down so far, but this past week it was way up. The Pennridge net minder stopped 31 of 32 shots he faced against division foe North Penn, helping his team leap the Knights in the standings. If they can get more consistency from their goaltenders, Pennridge could be a dangerous team in the postseason.
SHSHL LEAGUE WEEK 7 LEADERS
1.Michael Roarty (TRU) – 37
1.Michael Roarty (TRU) – 23
1.Matt Stoll (CBS) – 18
2.Matt Stoll (CBS) – 34
T-2.Gabe Evans (SOU) – 19
T-2.Jack McKeever (WT) – 16
3.Jack McKeever (WT) – 31
T-2.Steven Avellino (TRU) – 19
T-2.Joe Anton (CBW) – 16
4.Gabe Evans (SOU) – 30
4.Bryan McIntosh (CBE) – 17
4.Josh Finlayson (PR) – 15
T-5. Sean Ovington (WT) – 28
T-5.Matt Stoll (CBS) – 16
T-5.Michael Roarty (TRU) – 14
T-5.Luke Slater (PR) – 28
T-5.Luke Slater (PR) – 16
T-5. John Dern (WT) – 14
1.Timothy Cordero (AW) – 42
1.Dean Keller (PW) – 26
1.Timothy Cordero (AW) – 21
2. Dean Keller (PW) – 35
2.Ari Nordlinger (UD) – 23
2.Brandon Cullura (AW) – 20
3.Luke Brzozowski (PW) – 32
T-3.Timothy Cordero (AW) – 21
3. Spencer Heuges (A) – 17
4.Patrick Sheehan (AW) – 31
T-3.Luke Brzozowski (PW) – 21
T-4.Patrick Sheehan (AW) – 15
T-5.Ari Nordlinger (UD) – 30
5.Perry Carpenter (A) – 20
T-4.Chris Zawislak (PW) – 15
T-5.Chris Zawislak (PW) – 30