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District champ Shanahan shuts down South Western in state opener

Lower Providence >> At halftime of Bishop Shanahan’s PIAA 2A state tourney opener against District 5 fifth-place finisher South Western, the newly-crowned District 1 champs were winning by a 7-3 score. And they were disappointed.
“At halftime, the score wasn’t really close, but we were disappointed because we knew we could play a lot better,” said Shanahan sophomore midfielder Gabe Goforth. “We knew we were going to come out firing in the third quarter. In the second half, we started getting the tempo going a little faster, and we just started finishing on our shots. Their goalie [Nick Race, 14 saves] played outstanding in the first half, I’ve got to hand it to him, but I think he had to have gotten a little worn down by the second half.”
In the second half, Shanahan (19-1) routed South Western 11-1 en route to an 18-4 win, getting four goals each from Goforth, senior attack Connor Heisman and junior attack Bryan Rafferty. The Eagles advance to the PIAA state quarterfinals, where they will play District 11 champion Allentown Central Catholic Saturday at a time and place to be determined.
Shanahan head coach Jon Heisman said, “In the beginning we were a little sluggish and their goalie kept them in the game in the first half. Their faceoff guy played well in the first half, and they played tough.
“I just think in the second half we took over with our athleticism, and our depth. We ran them into the ground. It was a little warm out there, and we’ve got a lot of kids who can do things. So we’re well-balanced, and we picked it up in the second half.”
Tuesday’s slow start and fast finish by the Eagles was similar to the District 1 championship game five days earlier, in which Shanahan held a 3-2 lead in the first quarter, then exploded for an 11-2 advantage the rest of the way.
Goforth, a University of Maryland commit, said, “As the game went on today and we started getting into our groove, we started going a little faster, just like we did in the district championship game.”
In the first six minutes of the third quarter, the Eagles ripped off a 5-0 run, starting with a goal from Kyle Gucwa (two goals, three assists), a Michael Tagliaferri goal after a sharp pass from Rafferty, unassisted goals from Goforth (after a long run down the right side) and Gucwa, then a score from Heisman, who fired it in from the left side after a good pass from junior Tyler Kingsbury. With 5:52 to play in the third quarter, Shanahan led, 12-3.
Rafferty scored three goals in the first 93 seconds of the fourth quarter (two of them assisted by Heisman) to give the Eagles a 16-4 lead with 10:27 to play.
The final 16 minutes of the game, South Western was held scoreless.
“We shut them down on defense in the second half, and we started winning faceoffs,” said the Shanahan coach.
Kingsbury won 16 of 26 faceoffs Tuesday, while junior goalie Nicolas Pezone racked up six saves.
Seven different Eagles scored goals Tuesday, including senior midfielder Dan Bathon (who scored the opening tally) and sophomore midfielder Jesse Lynch. Six Shanahan players dished out assists, including senior defender Thomas Ford and junior midfielder Vincent Riccardo.
Jon Heisman said, “Everybody contributed today, it was a workmanlike effort. This is a special group of players, and we’re looking forward to advancing.”

Bishop Shanahan 18, South Western 4
South Western 1 2 1 0 – 4
Bishop Shanahan 3 4 6 5 – 18
South Western goals: Quinn 3, Wolfe.
Bishop Shanahan goals: Bathon, Rafferty 4, K. Gucwa 2, Tagliaferri 2, Goforth 4, Heisman 4, J. Lynch.
Goalie saves: Race (SW) 14, Pezone (BS) 6.

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