ROYERSFORD >> Spring-Ford never trailed in its District 1-AAA second-round game against Upper Dublin.
The No. 4 seeded Rams led for all but 90 seconds of its 12-7 win over the No. 13 seeded Cardinals at Spring-Ford High School Thursday night.
Spring-Ford will host No. 5 seeded Central Bucks East in the quarterfinals Saturday at a time to be determined.
Ryan Rosenblum got the Rams on the board right away. After Gavin Hare won the faceoff, the offense circled the ball around Upper Dublin’s goal until Rosenblum stepped in and let a shot rip into the back of the net 53 seconds into the game.
Drew Giovinco scored the game-winner less than a minute and a half later off an assist from Tate Pijanowski to make it 2-1.
The Pioneer Athletic Conference champion Rams would extend that lead to 4-1 with goals from Rosenblum and Dan Cassidy. The Cardinals would never get closer than two goals the rest of the way.
“Early we were moving the ball and getting good shots,” Cassidy said. “They were playing man. We’re pretty good in man. Ryan Rosenblum was playing well, beating his guys and getting good shots off. That was what got us going in the first six minutes.”
“(Spring-Ford is) a good team,” Upper Dublin coach Dave Sowers said of the slow start. “They’ve got some really good players and we’re extremely young. We don’t have a senior out on the field. Their seniors are kind of pushing our freshman around and we’ll get better.”
Cassidy and Jared Marenger iced the game at the end of the third quarter. They each scored in the final 21 seconds of the third to turn a 7-5 game into a 9-5 edge with 12 minutes remaining.
“That’s the ugly head of inexperience,” Sowers said. “We really only have three kids on that team that played last year … We have to keep the ball on the ground there and not let them get it up. That second goal in that little time span ran it up to four — that one hurt. That was the one that hurt.”
“That was a big momentum swing,” Cassidy said. “There was still a whole quarter left. We were real excited, especially after Jared had that real nice goal. We had to bring everyone in the huddle and say, ‘Let’s relax. We’ve got 12 more minutes to play. Let’s keep doing what we’ve been doing.’”
Cassidy led Spring-Ford with a game-high five goals, Rosenblum scored four and Marenger added two.
Max Winebrake paced Upper Dublin with four goals.
The Cardinals cut their deficit to 5-3 with a minute and a half left in the first half when Winebrake scored his third goal. He appeared to score his fourth with eight seconds left in the half to make it a 5-4 game, but the goal was called off by the officials.
The loss brings Upper Dublin’s season to an end. The defending district champs finished second in the Suburban One League American Conference before falling to Spring-Ford in the second round of districts.
“We’ve had a lot of adversity,” Sowers said. “We go into this week and find out that our starting long pole’s ineligible. We go into our Tuesday game and right before the game I find out one of our starters was in a car accident. We started the season with four kids suspended. It was great that these kids said, ‘This is life. Figure out the adversity and just keep playing hard.’ Absolute success this season. This many young kids are playing against a team that good in the second round of District 1, we’re just going to get better.”
District 1-AAA Second Round
Spring-Ford 12, Upper Dublin 7
Upper Dublin 1 2 2 2 — 7
Spring-Ford 4 1 4 3 — 12
Goals: UD: Max Winebrake 4, Colin Asper, Jed Hanson, Jerry Bardol. SF: Ryan Rosenblum 4, Drew Giovinco, Dan Cassidy 5, Jared Marenger 2.
Assists: UD: Jerry Bardol 2. SF: Tate Pijanowski, Jared Marenger, Dan Cassidy, Ryan Rosenblum 2.
Saves: UD: Lojeski 8. SF: Kyle Pettine 2.