WEST GOSHEN >> In a game that was as close as the 8 vs. 9 seed lines suggested, the only penalty was the deciding goal.
Luke Van Why scored unassisted on the power play to snap a 4-4 tie late in the third period as ninth-seeded North Penn pulled out a 6-4 victory over No. 8 Avon Grove in the first round of the Class 2A Flyers Cup at Ice Line on Tuesday.
The Knights will face top-seeded Central Bucks South in the quarterfinals at Warwick on Thursday.
The Red Devils erased a two-goal deficit to knot the score as Ryan Nichol buried a shot past goalie Chris Maiden off a feed from JT McDonald with 6:02 on the clock.
“This is the kind of character this team has shown all season,” said coach Brian Capobianco, who took over midway through the season. “We’ve had comebacks before, so nobody was hanging their heads or giving up. They just kept working.”
The crucial sequence started when Brady Anderson was called for the game’s lone penalty, a hooking call with 3:03 left. Less than 30 seconds later, Van Why corralled a loose puck, made a move to gain some daylight, and slipped the puck past JD D’Ambrosio to take the lead.
George Boyle potted an empty-net goal from his own end of the ice with four seconds left for the final margin.
“It just happened at a bad time for us,” said Capobianco of the penalty. “Their No. 1 line is very good.”
North Penn tallied twice in the latter half of the first period to take a 2-0 advantage.
Boyle scored the opener with 4:08 remaining, as he beat D’Ambrosio off a faceoff win from Andrew Galetta. Three minutes later, the Knights doubled their advantage as Nathan Oh notched the first of his two goals on the evening.
Avon Grove, playing in its third straight Flyers Cup, got on the board as Josh Sepela tallied off a faceoff, 90 seconds into the second period to cut the deficit to 2-1.
The five-goal second continued as North Penn regained its two-goal advantage on Oh’s marker.
Shortly thereafter, the Red Devils made it 3-2. They kept a man up high to try to get behind the defense most of the game, and it paid off big time as Matt Miller was sprung on a partial breakaway from a pass by Anderson. Miller glided in, fought off a defenseman and beat Maiden.
“We played one of our best games, offensively,” said Capobianco. “We just couldn’t control the defensively. We gave up too many rushes, but we played well offensively.”
Jared Albano scored on a rebound to make it 4-2. McDonald put a topper on the high-scoring period as he made it 4-3 going into the third.
Maiden recorded 26 saves, including one flush off his face mask following a slap shot from Sepela.
The Red Devils, whose season included a win over West Chester Rustin, completes their season that saw them become a threat in the Ches-Mont.
“The Christmas break really messed us up,” said Capobianco. “It was hard to get our stride back, but the guys did a good job in the last part of the season.”
IN OTHER FLYERS CUP ACTION:
CONESTOGA 5, SPRING-FORD 3 >> Third-seeded Conestoga stormed back with four goals in the third period — including a hat trick in just over 10 minutes of action for Jaydan Sison — to sink Spring-Ford in the first round of Flyers Cup Class 2A action Tuesday night.
Michael Cameron scored for the Pioneers in the second period to tie things at 1-1, but Spring-Ford’s Brenden DeSantis scored his second of the night to give the Rams a 2-1 lead heading into the third.
Cameron scored again early in the third to tie things up, but Spring-Ford’s Carson Porkka found the net to give the Rams the lead again.
Then, 4:12 into the third period, Sison begin his charge with his first goal of the night, with assists from Cameron and Will Delany.
Four minutes later, Sison scored again, with an assist by Will Schnorr, to give Conestoga its first lead at 4-3. Sison added one more late in the game off a pass from Frank Konopasek for the 5-3 win.
The Pioneers will meet Parkland in Thursday’s quarterfinals at Ice Line.
DOWNINGTOWN EAST 11, PERKIOMEN VALLEY 1 >> Alex Fox, Erik Stankiewicz, Justin Cohn and Mike Bolger had two goals each as the second-seeded Cougars cruised past Perk Valley in Class 2A action.
Mark Stankiewicz, Ryan Prestayko and Jack Barton had the other goals for East in the win, while goalie Matt Shandler stopped 14 of the 15 shots he faced.
East will meet archrival Downingtown West in Thursday’s quarterfinals at Ice Line
DOWNINGTOWN WEST 10, COUNCIL ROCK NORTH 0 >> Josh Biskowitz and Zach Hanaway both had hat tricks as the seventh-seeded Whippets absolutely manhandled the No. 10 Indians.
Alec Connolly, John Michael Owens, David McQuiston and Nick Higgins also found the net for West.
Goalie Eric West only faced four shots, stopping them all, as the Whippets look ahead to Thursday’s meeting with archrival East.
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