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Abington, Snellenburg shut out Plymouth-Whitemarsh

Abington goal keeper Jacob Snellenburg watches Nikolai Portner and Plymouth Whitemarsh's Dean Keller fight for the puck during their game on Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017. (Bob Raines/Digital First Media)

HATFIELD TWP. >> Abington goalie Jacob Snellenburg stopped anything and everything that came his way Wednesday night.

“We had 30 shots on net — seven in the first period, 19 in the second — but he stoned us non-stop,” Plymouth-Whitemarsh coach Josh Aiello said. “There was a point where the puck is sitting right in front and he’s keeping it out of the net.”

Snellenburg never let the puck reach its destination, providing plenty of defensive backbone in the Ghosts’ 6-0 victory over the Colonials at Hatfield Ice.

“It definitely boosts your confidence when you get one of these,” said a smiling Snellenburg, whose play helped lift Abington to a 5-1 start on the season in the Suburban High School Hockey League’s Varsity A Division.

Abington scored early on a power play and that would wind up being enough, as Snellenburg locked down Abington’s second shutout of the year — the other by keeper Mason Large in a blanking of Upper Moreland.

Abington’s Colin Bruton scores on Plymouth Whitemarsh goal keeper Ben Yuter during their game on Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017. (Bob Raines/Digital First Media)

“(Jacob) really came through for us tonight and the rest of the team rallied behind him, wanted to try and support and get the shutout for tonight,” said Abington coach Ken Brzozowski. “We’ve got two goalies and we’ve been rotating back and forth.

“Both of them are playing fairly even right now so I feel pretty confident with either one that ends up in the net for us.”

Less than seven minutes in, Gavin O’Donnell scored on a power play to put Abington in front, 1-0. O’Donnell scored again to make it 2-0 at the end of the first period.

After Perry Carpenter struck quickly in the second to make it 3-0, Colin Bruton got himself a hat trick, scoring the final three goals of the contest as Abington won going away.

Abington came back nicely from its only loss of the season — to unbeaten Wissahickon — and built some momentum going into a Dec. 14 showdown with surging Hatboro-Horsham (8:30 p.m. at Wintersport).

“We’ve got a good group of seniors who have been playing well for us all year,” Brzozowski said. “We also have a strong group of underclassmen that have been coming through for us as well.”

Plymouth Whitemarsh’s Stephen Longo sprints past Abington’s Elijah Coston during their game on Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017. (Bob Raines/Digital First Media)

The Colonials kept generating opportunities Wednesday but a reaching save by Snellenburg kept it 3-0 midway through the second, and with a minute to go in the period, the Ghosts’ keeper — under heavy pressure — made a series of stops while down on the ice.

“Scary. For a couple seconds there I think I lost the puck and just felt it hitting me,” he said. “I turned around and the puck wasn’t in the net so that was a good thing.

“My team definitely helped me on that. If you saw, there were two people in net with their knees down, trying to make sure it didn’t go in — it hit them maybe once or twice.”

Feeling right at home

Growing up, it was a little bit of fate that pulled Snellenburg to his place between the pipes.

“I was actually a player when I was little, and our regular goalie went to spring training for the Phillies,” he said. “He left me his pads and said ‘go try it out.’

“I was like ‘okay,’ was pretty good at it. My dad brought me my own pads and the rest is history.”

For the season, Snellenburg has 90 saves on 99 shots, even surviving a wild 5-4 win over rival Neshaminy.

“(The 5-1 start is) more than I expected,” the goalie said. “It’s very good. Neshaminy was a tough game, but we always seem to have the last laugh, the last goal.”

Abington’s Perry Carpenter takes a shot against Plymouth Whitemarsh during their game on Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017. (Bob Raines/Digital First Media)

Some work ahead

The Colonials are off to a 1-4 start but better nights could be ahead.

“We’re not at the level we should be at,” Aiello said. “We have room for improvement. We have drastic room for improvement. I’m confident in these guys. I know that we can do it.

“Pretty much every year — aside from last year when we went 15-1 in the regular season — we gotta battle. It takes us a little time to get going and then before you know it, we’re battling back.”

PW is right back on the ice Thursday night, against Lower Moreland at Wintersport (8:30).

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