WEST GOSHEN >> Having convincingly beaten Unionville a week before, West Chester East was confident, but wary, heading into Thursday’s Flyers Cup Class A quarterfinal.
But two first-period goals paved the way for the second-seeded Vikings to waltz to a 7-0 victory over the No. 10 Indians at Ice Line.
It’s the second straight season East will appear in the final four. The Vikings will meet sixth-seeded Strath Haven on Monday at Ice Line.
“Tough when you draw a division rival in such a meaningful tournament. It’s good that we left no doubt,” said East coach Eric Wolf.
The Vikings, who thumped Kennett, 7-1, in the first round, defeated Unionville, 5-0, in the Ches-Mont playoffs.
East got off to a flying start nearly two minutes in, as Unionville was sloppy in its own end and turned the puck over. The Vikings applied the pressure and cashed in as Sean Heard was left alone in front to tap in a pass from Richard Mullineaux.
“It was a great team effort tonight,” said Heard. “Everyone passed the puck well, which allowed us to get up the ice. I was alone in front, and my teammate, Richard Mullineaux, found me with a great pass.”
It didn’t take long to make it 2-0 as Nicholas Castura poked the puck away from a Unionville defender, Leading scorer Dylan McLaughlin collected the puck and skated in on a partial breakaway. He went forehand to backhand and lifted the puck over goalie Brandon Terrey.
“Everybody likes to play ahead,” said Wolf. “When you’re chasing the game in a one-and-done situation, sometimes people grip their sticks a little tighter. Anytime you can get the lead and enhance it, you want to keep twisting the knife.”
East dominated the play in the first, outshooting Unionville, 17-5.
The Vikings made it 3-0 with 15:46 left in the second as McLaughlin stole the puck off a defender in the Unionville zone, skated out in front and slipped the puck past Terrey for a nifty shorthanded goal.
“Stole the puck and saw that goalie was off the post a little and just roofed it,” said McLaughlin. “We’ve been there, done that last year and want to keep the boys rolling. We want to get to states, but we can’t look past anything except the next game.”
Special teams also contributed on the power play as Mullineaux and John Conlon worked a give-and-go inside the Unionville zone. The puck went to Mullineaux on the point, who snapped a shot that beat Terrey to make it 4-0 after two.
Unionville was playing without captain and leading scorer Joey Impagliazzo, and couldn’t really muster any significant pressure on East goalie Joey Galitski. One of the top goalies in the Ches-Mont, Galitski made 25 saves for the shutout, most from the outside which didn’t provide many dangerous opportunities.
“Our focus is we can’t score until we have the puck and we’re getting out of our end,” said Wolf. “First thing’s first, we have to take care of our end and the rest will take care of itself.”
Heard, Castura and Zac Mulholland tallied in the third to put a bow on the emphatic victory.
“It’s another step for us,” said Wolf on reaching the semifinals. “This is a five-step process. We crossed off two of them, but we are not satisfied with anything. It’s up to us to take care of our opportunities when we get them.”
IN OTHER FLYERS CUP ACTION THURSDAY:
DOWNINGTOWN EAST 4, DOWNINGTOWN WEST 3 (OT) >> Downingtown East waited until the very last minute to keep breathing in the Flyers Cup Class 2A bracket.
And the Cougars got to sink their archrival at the same time.
Trailing, 3-2, late in the third period, Justin Cohn found the net while the Cougars had their goalie pulled for an extra skater. Cohn then scored again in overtime to lift the second-seeded Cougars to a dramatic 4-3 win over Downingtown West in the quarterfinals of the Flyers Cup Thursday night at Ice Line.
East will face No. 3 Conestoga in Tuesday night’s semifinals back at Ice Line.
Alex Fox and Luca Pisani scored the other goals for East, while Alec Connolly scored twice for the Whippets to go along with Zach Hanaway’s opening goal.
East goalie Matt Shandler had 25 saves on the night, while West’s Eric West stopped 27 shots.
WEST CHESTER RUSTIN 5, PALMYRA 2 >> Nick Ferraro opened the scoring in the second minute and the top-seeded Golden Knights never looked back in a quarterfinal win in Class A Flyers Cup action.
Ian Strasinski, Jack Page, David Carney and Matthew Owens also scored for Rustin, which will face No. 5 Hershey in Tuesday’s semifinal at Ice Line.
The Golden Knights had a 5-0 lead before Palmyra scored twice in the third period.
MALVERN PREP 10, ARCHBISHOP RYAN 0 >> Jack Costabile had a hat trick and Nick Martino and Charlie Andress each scored two goals as the Friars rolled into the Class 3A semifinals.
Third-seeded Malvern will face No. 2 St. Joe’s Prep in the semifinals.
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