HATFIELD TOWNSHIP— If a single word were used to describe Pennridge’s performance Tuesday night, ‘relentless’ would be fitting. The Rams gradually wore down Council Rock South en route to a 5-1 win over the Golden Hawks in the Class AA Flyers Cup championship game in front of an overflow crowd at Hatfield Ice.
Shane Dachowski and Kevin Pico each scored two goals as Pennridge (21-0-1), the tournament’s top seed, claimed the first Flyers Cup in school history.
The Rams will conclude their journey by facing Penguins Cup champion Thomas Jefferson for the state title Saturday at 2:00 at Ice Line.
Pico was the recipient of the Bobby Clarke Award as the tournament’s Most Valuable Player while Dachowski, with six goals and three assists, led the tournament in scoring.
It was an emotional evening for Jeff Montagna, the Rams’ head coach. “Words can’t describe how satisfying this is,” he said. “I think what I’m most satisfied with is the way they did it. The way they did it and the ability to deal with expectation (of winning the Flyer Cup) all year.
“I really don’t know how you do that and play as well as they did.”
The third-seeded Golden Hawks (16-2-2-1) scored first. Blaise Pepe beat Ryan Pico in the Pennridge net 9:23 into the opening period. But that was all that South could manage, despite having a 46-36 advantage in shots.
Kevin Pico tied the game for the Rams from close range at the 13:16 mark when he bested South netminder Carson Lopez, then put his team in front for good 2:26 into the second frame. Shane Dachowski added back-to-back goals in the second period and Colin Dachowski provided one more in the third.
South coach Joe Houk was without forward Matt Constantini, who was out of the lineup with an injury. He noted his team couldn’t build on its early goal.
“We didn’t show up for all three periods,” he said. “We showed up for the first (nine) minutes and then just stopped working. (Pennridge) outworked us.”
Kevin Pico noted the Rams’ overcame a slow start. “We were a bit hesitant at first,” he said. “Nervous. But then, after that, we were just fine.”
The Rams’ defensive effort was particularly noteworthy since Aidan Boyle, arguably their premier blueliner, was serving a suspension due to his actions in the Rams’ Cup semifinal win over Avon Grove. With Boyle not available (he will also miss the state championship game), Montagna was forced to reposition his troops.
“Credit to Trey Mikulich and Jacob Lizak,” he said. “They logged a lot more ice time tonight then they have been. They were really good back there. They only thing we tweaked a little bit, we put (Tyler) Manto back there some and I thought we didn’t take as many chances.”
Ryan Pico lauded the collective efforts of his defense corps. “It was amazing,” he said. “We were down one of our best defensemen and to have everybody else play the way they did means a lot to our team.”
Notes: The Rams lost the Flyers Cup championship game to Conestoga in 2008. They fell to eventual champion Haverford in last year’s semifinals.
The all-tournament team included forwards Kevin Pico, Andrew Savona, and Shane Dachowski, all from Pennridge, along with defensemen Colin Dachowski (Pennridge) and Kevin Koles (Council Rock South), plus Lopez in goal.
Saturday’s game will be part of a tripleheader. West Chester East and Norwin will meet in the Class A final at 11:00 while Malvern Prep and Peters Township will play for the Class AAA title at 5:00
Council Rock South 1 0 0—1
Pennridge 1 3 1—5
First-period goals: Blaise Pepe (CRS) from Julian Wagenmann and David Vergules, 9:23; Kevin Pico (P) from Colin Dachowski, 13:16
Second-period goals: Pico (P) from Andrew Savona, 2:26; Shane Dachowski (P) from Aeryk Lehrhaupt and Jack Lowery, 4:00; Shane Dachowski (P) from Lehrhaupt, 15:05
Third-periods goal; Colin Dachowski (P) from Shane Dachowski and Lehrhaupt, 12:52
Shots: Council Rock South 46 Pennnridge 36; Saves: Carson Lopez (CRS) 31, Ryan Peco (P) 45
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