HATFIELD— Pennridge got off to a quick start Tuesday night and maintained its advantage all evening long. The Rams scored three times in the first period and went on to a 4-2 win over Central Bucks East in a Class AA Flyers Cup first-round game at Hatfield Ice.
Tenth-seeded Pennridge will face second-seeded Pennsbury in a quarterfinal game on Thursday (6:30 at Hatfield Ice).
There wasn’t a lot of flash and sizzle in what the Rams did on the ice. But they were extremely efficient and Ryan Pico was solid in goal. That’s been a winning formula for the Rams (9-4-0-1) all season and it was again on Tuesday.
“It was boring,” admitted Pennridge coach Jeff Montagna. “But I’ll take that every day of the week.”
The Rams lack the firepower they’ve enjoyed in the recent past. That necessitated a different approach this season.
“If we’re going to win, if we’re going to advance, it’s got to be defense first, second, and third,” Montagna said. “That’s not easy for kids to always want to do, they want to go. To respond this way, that’s a lot of the older guys. They’ve been there, they know how we’ve got play.”
Richie Shanks got things started for the Rams 6:39 into the opening period when he beat Patriot netminder Matt Mangiacapre from close range off a feed from Aidan Boyle. Aeryk Lehrhaupt made it a 2-0 game at the 10:08 mark before Boyle extended his team’s lead at 12:54.
Despite the three-goal deficit, the Patriots kept battling. “It was hard to keep consistent pressure in their zone,” said East coach Jeff Mitchell. “We’re missing a couple key guys in the lineup. It just got to a point where the boys gave it their all. Things just didn’t go our way at the end of everything.”
Connor Keiser got East on the scoreboard 6:48 into the second frame.
Adam Bostock made it a one-goal game when he beat Ryan Pico 3:19 into the third period. But Blake Stewart answered back for Pennridge 71 seconds later to complete the scoring.
The seventh-seeded Patriots, who we’re playing their first game since March 17, saw their late hopes fade thanks to a pair of late penalties; Tyler Godown and Phil McIntyre were accessed unsportsmanlike conduct penalties with 1:28 left in regulation, forcing East to finish the game with two players in the penalty box. Two other Patriots drew unsportsmanlike conduct penalties following the final buzzer.It marked the conclusion to a season in which the Patriots (6-4-1-1) faced a plethora of unique challenges.
“There were a lot of things that were out of our hands this year,” Mitchell said. I feel like my group did the best they could given the hand that they were dealt.”
Pennridge 3 0 1—4
C.B. East 0 1 1—2
First-period goals: Richie Shanks (P) from Aidan Boyle, 6:39; Aeryk Lehrhaupt (P) from Blake Stewart, 10:08; Boyle (P) from Colin Dahowski and Dane Fichette, 12:54
Second-period goals: Connor Keiser (CBE) from Phil McIntyre and Adam Bostock, 6:48
Third-period goals: Adam Bostock (CBE) from Stephen DIRugeris, 3:19; Stewart (P) from Cooper White and Lehrhaupt, 4:30;
Shots: Pennridge 40, C.B. East 26; Saves: Ryan Pico (P) 24, Matt Mangiacapre 36