HATFIELD— It was a game that crackled with playoff-like intensity. Which was fitting because Friday’s regular-season final between Central Bucks South and Neshaminy had enormous postseason implications.
Aydin Thierolf scored a power-play goal with 4:15 left in regulation and added an empty-net goal with 26 seconds remaining to give the Titans a 2-0 win at Hatfield Ice.
The win assures the Titans (7-5-1, 6-2 in divisional play) of the second seed and an opening-round bye when the SHSHL playoffs get underway next week. Neshaminy (6-5-1, 5-3) will be seeded fourth.
The winning goal came after the ‘Skins J.H. Hathaway was sent to the penalty box for knocking down a South player after the whistle near the Neshaminy net.
Thierolf’s goal came on a rebound after Neshaminy netminder Brian Nelson stopped his original shot.
Nelson and South’s Mason Moyer were in top form, making 31 saves each in the 48-minute game. Moyer noted the bond of familiarity that exists between himself and his defense corps.
“If the guys are comfortable with me, I’m comfortable with them,” he said. “I’ve been playing with them for years and we just build that trust over time.”
South coach Shaun McGinty praised the support the Titan defense gave their goaltender. “Defensively, the nucleus back there played very well,” he said. “As a whole, we. We’re blocking shots, the forwards were doing the job too.”
The game featured 15 penalties. The Titans lost Aidan Gaffney at the 8:54 mark of the second period when he drew a major penalty plus a game misconduct for a check from behind but Neshaminy was unable to take advantage of the extended power play.
Neshaminy coach Matt DeMatteo tried to take some positives away from the evening. “It was a really tight game,” he said. “The boys played really well. Our goalie played really well.They just finished one more chance than we did.”
Moyer feels Friday’s game offered a preview of the postseason to come. “Every team here has a chance to win it,” he said, “and if we just keep playing how we’re playing, I think we can go far.”
Notes—The SHSHL National/Continental playoffs begin Monday with third seed Council Rock South facing sixth seed North Penn and fourth seed Neshaminy facing fifth seed Pennridge. The sites and times of those games have yet to be announced.
Neshaminy 0 0 0—0
C.B. South 0 0 2—2
Third-period goals: Aydin Thierolf (CBS) from Owen Mendham, 11:45 (pp); Thierolf (CBS) unassisted, 15:34 (en)
Shots: Neshaminy 31, C.B. South 33; Saves: Brian Nelson (N) 31; Mason Moyer (CBS) 31