HATFIELD—In the end, both teams left every ounce of energy on the ice, like warriors spilling their last drop of blood on the battlefield.
Sam Cherkassky scored a power-play goal 5:23 into sudden-death overtime Wednesday night to give Council Rock South a 2-1 win over Central Bucks South in a Suburban High School Hockey League National/Continental semifinal at Hatfield Ice.
The third-seeded Golden Hawks (9-3-0-2) will try to defend their divisional title when they face top-seeded Pennsbury Thursday night at Grundy Arena (7:20) in the championship game.
The winning goal came as the second-seeded Titans, who had just 11 skaters dressed because of injuries, a suspension, and Covid issues, were dealing with a flurry of penalties; four of them in the last 2:19 of regulation plus overtime.
Trailing 1-0 heading down the stretch with the Titans’ Aydin Thierolf in the box for elbowing, the Golden Hawks pulled goaltender Jimmy Sweeney, giving them a six-skaters-to-four advantage. Julian Wagenmann tied the game with 1:12 left in regulation when he poked in the second rebound of a shot from the right point.
The Titans found themselves shorthanded again when D.J. Bray was whistled for elbowing 3:04 into the 15-minute extra period. Just 11 seconds later, Owen Mendham was called for interference with a bench minor attached, a bench minor that didn’t start until Bray’s penalty expired. Mendham’s penalty lapsed without incident but Emilee Lindenmuth, who was serving the extra penalty, could only watch, along with her teammates, as Cherkassky scored the game winner.
Council Rock South forward Doug Lopez said it was important for he and his teammates to step up their games entering the third period.
“We just knew that they were shorthanded,” he said. “We came into the locker room after the second period and said ‘We’ve got to give it our all.’
“I think them being short and a combination of them being short and us coming out hard really changed the game in our favor.”
Council Rock South coach Joe Houk noted that after a break for an ice cut following the second period, his players found another gear.
“I felt we were not focused the first half of the game,” he said. I thought our puck possession in the third, plus in overtime, whether there were penalties or not. I thought we controlled the entire overtime.”
Central Bucks South coach Shaun McGinty tried to find solace in his team’s work rate. “The boys played a great game,” he said. “The effort was there. Hat’s off to (Council Rock South), we’ll take the loss and move on to the Flyers Cup.”
Notes—The Titans’ goal came from Adam Cusick 63 seconds into the second period. Central Bucks South is seeded sixth for the Class AA Flyers Cup tournament and will face 11th-seeded Own J. Roberts on Tuesday at Hatfield Ice. The Golden Hawks, who are seeded fifth, will take on 12th seed Avon Grove on Tuesday at the same venue.
C.R. South 0 0 1 1—2
C.B. South 0 1 0 0—1
Second-period goal: Adam Cusick (CBS) unassisted, 1:03
Third-period goal: Julian Wagenmann (CRS) unassisted, 14:48 (pp);
Overtime goal: Sam Cherkassky (CRS) unassisted, 5:23 (pp)
Shots: CR South 29, CB South 22; Saves: Jimmy Sweeney (CRS) 21, Mason Moyer (CBS) 27