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All-Delco Hockey: Ridley’s Giampapa picked up where he left off

In addition to Player of the Year Liam McCanney, the All-Delco hockey team includes:

Michael Giampapa, Sr., forward, Ridley >> The 2017 Daily Times Player of the Year followed up his award-winning junior season with an even better campaign in 2017-18. Giampapa added physicality to his repertoire, while continuing to pile up points at a ridiculous rate. He scored a goal in all but one game, totaling 44 in 18 contests. As the Central League’s top scorer and perhaps its most respected player, Giampapa was indispensable to a Green Raiders squad that was rebuilding in more ways than one. Ridley scored 102 goals this season. Giampapa, with his 44 goals and 34 assists, had a hand in 78 of them. He closes his career with 265 points, including regular season and Flyers Cup play.

Haverford High captain scored 19 goals and registered a team-high 45 points to lead the Fords to a second-place finish in the Central League. (Digital First Media/Pete Bannan)

John Paul Ahearn, Jr., forward, Cardinal O’Hara >> With 2018 Player of the Year Liam McCanney on one wing and honorable mention All-Delco Zac Deemer on the other, Ahearn centered the county’s top line as the Lions won their second consecutive PCL title and reached the Flyers Cup AAA semifinals. The two-way pivot-man was hardly just a sidekick. Ahearn led O’Hara in scoring with 69 points — 67 in the regular season and the PCL playoffs, two more in the Flyers Cup. A patient player with deceptive speed, Ahearn used his long stride and reach to protect the puck against defenders and pull goaltenders out of position. He had six five-point nights and five hat tricks and was never better than he was in a late season tilt against Archbishop Ryan. With McCanney serving a one-game suspension and Deemer out for long stretches of the game with an injury, Ahearn had a goal and two assists in a crucial 5-2 Lions’ victory.

Mike Irey, Jr., forward, Strath Haven >> The bigger the game, the bigger Irey played. So it’s been for two seasons as the do-everything center has keyed the Panthers’ resurgence. Irey led Strath Haven with 29 goals in 22 games, including two overtime winners. He scored three times in a run to the Flyers Cup A semifinals, where the Panthers fell just short against West Chester East. Irey scored a third-period goal to bring Haven within one and peppered the Vikings’ net-minder until the final whistle of a 5-3 defeat. Physical, fast and packing a heavy wrist shot, Irey was called a “bull,” in a complimentary way, by East head coach Eric Wolf.

READ: The All-Delco team listing

Dante Gattone, Sr., defenseman, Haverford >> Gattone’s 19 goals and team-high 45 points give the impression that he was a purely offensive defenseman, but that wasn’t the case. He was often creating odd-man rush opportunities from his own defensive zone, picking off passes and skating down opposing forwards and forcing them into turnovers. Then Gattone would turn on the jets the other way. He was a 200-foot defensemen, who, despite moving freely on the ice, was rarely caught out of position. Gattone was at his best during the Fords’ surprising run to the Central League title game, scoring three goals and two assists in three games as Haverford finished second to Conestoga.

Justin Boornazian, Sr., defenseman, Cardinal O’Hara >> A forward by trade, Boornazian demonstrated his worth to the Lions by moving back to the blue line and solidifying a young defensive corps. His strong skating and puck-handling ability gave McCanney, Ahearn and Co. up front license to push the rush as Boornazian would break the puck out then join the attack. He was also terrific on special teams, scoring a power-play goal and adding an assist with the man-advantage in O’Hara’s 6-5 loss to Holy Ghost Prep in the Flyers Cup AAA semifinals. Boornazian had four multi-point games to finish with 17 goals in 15 games.

Jacob George, Sr., goaltender, Archbishop Carroll >> George’s numbers won’t blow you away: He carried a 4.93 goals against average and an .884 save percentage. But it was how he played the position that made him an All-Delco selection. Besides, goaltender stats, more than any other, are contingent on a perceptive scorekeeper. For instance, the Daily Times recorded 60 saves for George in an 8-0 defeat to O’Hara; the Skatium had him down for 38. At any rate, George gave the rebuilding Patriots a chance every night he stood between the pipes. Athletic, smart and remarkably competitive, he posted save totals of 73 against Bonner, 63 against Father Judge and 50 against Penncrest. The last of those three came in a 2-1 Carroll win.

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