OAKS >> The last time forward Bransen Mackey didn’t register a point, Boyertown was only three games into its season.
On that late-November night, the Bears took down Sun Valley to cap their four-game win streak to start the season.
Flash forward just over three months.
On Monday night, the senior registered his league-leading 16th consecutive game scoring a point, as Boyertown defeated Owen J. Roberts 8-3, and secured a berth in the ICSHL Pioneer Conference championship on Thursday night.
The No. 1 seeded Bears will take on Spring-Ford – a 5-2 winner over Perkiomen Valley in Monday’s other semifinal – at Center Ice in Oaks for the inaugural Pioneer Conference title.
Mackey ended the game with a goal and two assists. On the season, he now has a team-high 48 points — 29 goals and 19 assists.
“I’ve been able to spread out the ice and create a lot of scoring chances for my teammates this season,” said Mackey of his point-streak. “Our forward line has been able to convert a lot of goals. I’ve definitely got to attribute all of this to my teammates.”
Boyertown head coach Bryan Roth says Mackey has been an anchor to the Bears’ success all season.
“We count on him to lead the guys out there,” Roth said. “He’s one of our best leaders. We can always rely on him for the offensive production — but it’s more than that. It’s his complete game. He’s a leader on the bench, in the locker room and on the ice.”
Mackey put a shot on goal right off a face-off during the first period, which teammate Jake Harmon then scooped up and flicked past Owen J. Roberts goalie Zach Shepker to then make it 4-1.
Sean McGinley registered two goals and an assist for Boyertown while Casey Sottenella had a goal and three helpers. Freshman Harmon notched two goals and an assist and Owen Sheppard added two goals.
“We’ve had guys stepping up all season,” said Roth. “Whether it means scoring goals or making the tough play in front of the net, those are the things that add up. That’s why we’ve gotten where we are.”
Boyertown goalkeeper Troy Viola made 18 saves on 21 shots faced. The Bears only allowed one goal in each period, after jumping out to a 3-1 lead to start it.
Owen J. Roberts’ Patrick O’Neill made 38 saves on 46 shots faced.
Austin Mourar had a hand in all three of OJR’s goals, finishing with two goals and an assist. Ryan O’Neill also added a goal just a minute into the second period.
Despite the loss, OJR head coach Troy Vokes knows his team has plenty to look forward in the coming years.
“It’s good to get here in play in a game like this,” he said. “We’re graduating five seniors from our team, and we’ve got a lot of young players who gained valuable experience throughout the season.
“Boyertown’s a great program,” he added. “They’re stacked at all positions. All we could do was fight hard the entire way.”
Now as Boyertown looks toward the title game Thursday, Roth says it should be no problem preparing his guys for the championship game. If anything, they’ve had their sights set on it since the season got underway.
“These guys are as motivated as they were in the beginning of the season,” said Roth. “We set some pretty lofty goals for ourselves early on and until we reach those goals, we’ve got to treat every game the same way.”
Now Mackey will look lead Boyertown in its most important game to date.
“It’s great to be going to the championship,” he said. “We’re definitely playing our best hockey right now, so we’ve got to bring that fire with us that we’ve been playing with. We can’t be satisfied yet. We’ve got to bring everything.”
Spring-Ford 5, Perkiomen Valley 2
With a man down and his team up two, Ryne Moore slipped behind the defense, gained control of the puck, put a move on his defender and iced the game.
Moore’s short-handed breakaway goal served as the graceful tally that put it out of reach, as Spring-Ford defeated Perkiomen Valley, 5-2 in the Pioneer Conference semifinals at Center Ice in Oaks, Monday night.
With that, Spring-Ford will take on Boyertown for the inaugural Pioneer Conference title on Thursday.
Moore added an empty-netter with 40 seconds left to seal it. Christian Graff scored two goals for the Rams, including the opener just under seven minutes into the game while Moore also added two assists. Ben Geremski registered two assists in the win.
Adam Panzarella made 25 saves for the win, letting up just two goals.
Kevin Lombardi registered both of Perkiomen Valley’s goals, both with assists from Kyle Zahour. Christopher Fiorillo made 40 saves on 36 shots faced.
NOTES >> After Moore’s empty-netter with 40 seconds remaining, the referees waived it off once fans began throwing items onto the playing surface.