Pennridge’s offensive firepower was showcased early and often in Tuesday night’s 6-1 victory over Central Bucks East, but it was also the Rams’ defensive play that dictated control throughout in the Flyers Cup AA opener.
“One of the things we have talked about constantly since we got here, (coach) Tom (Coyne) and I, is defensemen moving their feet, activating the breakout where it’s just not wrapping it up the boards,” said assistant coach Jeff Montagna, who was subbing in for Coyne as head coach on Tuesday evening. “You come around the net, move your feet, get up ice, and go up with the five-man unit. And I thought tonight was as good as they’ve done that since we’ve been here.”
Patrick McGinley, Matthew Guinette, Evan Kehoe, Frankie Rota and Nicholas Eissler all helped out in limiting the Patriots to just 13 shots on goal.
“All five of them did a great job with it,” said Montagna. “I looked up and I think (CB East) had seven shots at one point and I don’t think they could have been in our zone for more than 15 seconds at a time the entire game.”
In contrast, Pennridge was able to attack in waves.
“Obviously Pat’s line — (Eric) Slater, (Michael) Walker — they score a lot for us. But I thought for really one of the first times since we’ve been here, the other lines fed off that,” Montagna said after the fourth-seeded Rams racked up 48 shots on goal. “And I thought there was a 12-, 15-minute stretch there where it was as well as we’ve played as a team.”
Next up: No. 5 Council Rock South, Thursday night at 8:50 at Hatfield Ice.
“All three lines were generating offense and playing good defense,” Montagna said of the opening-round win. “And that’s really important. And as we move forward, that’s what we need. Teams will key on that first line so you need all three lines going. They did a really good job with that tonight.”
Bucks don’t stop here
Central Bucks West saw its season end Tuesday night with a 5-1 loss to Parkland in the first round of Flyers Cup AA.
But the Bucks came a long way in 2018.
“We graduated a lot of kids (from last year) and we had a lot of new kids coming in,” Bucks coach Dave Baun said. “We had nine new players come in this year. And so we kind of started from point zero.
“If we can have a 10-6 season and start from point zero, I’ll take that.”
And there should be plenty to look forward to.
“We have some really strong players coming back,” Baun said of a group that will include rising junior Jake Lang (19 pts). “Some of our best players are underclassmen, and they’re gonna be back next year. And I expect they’re only gonna get better.
“It’s gonna be tough to lose some of the seniors we have because we’ve had them for four years,” Baun said of a class that includes leading point scorer Joey Rockovich (20 pts). “But every year the combination changes. You roll the dice and a totally new hand pops up.”
In Flyers Cup AA, the winner of the Pennridge-Rock South contest will take on either Central Bucks South or North Penn, on Tuesday night at Hatfield Ice at 7:45.
On the other side of the bracket, quarterfinal contests include Conestoga taking on Parkland, and the battle of the Downingtowns — East meets West for the chance to go to the semis.
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