CORNWELLS HEIGHTS – The way the first period ended, it was hard to imagine the final outcome of Holy Ghost Prep’s District 1 Class AA playoff opener against Harriton.
Ahead 3-1 after the initial frame, the eighth-seeded Firebirds fell 11-5 to the ninth-seeded Rams, who advanced to face top seed Springfield (DelCo) Saturday in Delaware County.
Holy Ghost wasted no time getting onto the scoreboard, getting a goal less than a minute and a half from junior Phillip Rueter. Classmate Zach Nangle put the ‘birds up 3-0 with back to back goals at the 4:11 and the 4:52 mark.
If only Ghost could have frozen the playoff contest right there.
With 50 seconds to go, Hakan Atillasoy sparked the Harriton offense with the first of many goals the senior attacking midfielder would notch for the winners.
While it was sophomore Mike Stewart who deadlocked the sides at 3-all with a goal 2:41 into the second period and another at the 4:38 mark, it was Atillasoy who gave the Rams their first lead when he notched his second goal of the game 7:04 into the second period.
Jake Putnam gave Harriton a two-goal cushion with a goal scored off an assist from Atillasoy at the 7:41 mark though Nangle cut the ‘birds deficit to a lone goal with a shot bounced into the back of the net with 1:26 to go in the first half.
Just when it looked like Ghost would head into the locker room trailing by one, Atillasoy used an under-handed shot to put the Rams up 6-4 with 10 seconds remaining in the second period.
Hakan tallied for his team again to open the second half, helping Harriton advance to the District 1 quarterfinals on Saturday.
The Firebirds’ season ends at 11-7 while the Rams improved to 9-10.
TOP PHOTO: Holy Ghost Prep junior Matt Rueter (45, center, is sandwiched by Harriton’s Brian Stewart (2), left and Tyler Doney (21) in District 1-AA playoff opener Tuesday, May 17 on the Firebirds’ home field. (Steve Sherman – 21st-Century Media)
Harriton 11, Holy Ghost Prep 5
(May 17 at Holy Ghost Prep)
HOLY GHOST (11-7) 3 1 0 1 – 5
HARRITON (9-10) 1 5 2 3 – 11