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Pennridge rallies past Garnet Valley in Flyers Cup AA 1st round

Pennridge's Eric Slater works to control the puck against Garnet Valley during their Flyers Cup AA first round game on Wednesday, March 6, 2019 (Gene Walsh/MediaNews Group)

HATFIELD TWP. >> They stared at the mortality of the third period, said their coach, and they didn’t panic.

Pennridge rallied back from a 5-4 deficit Wednesday night to push past Garnet Valley, 6-5, and into the Flyers Cup 2A Quarterfinals.

“They didn’t rush things,” Rams coach Jeff Montagna said of his squad. “It was (Eric) Slater first and then Frankie (Rota). They did a real good job of fighting through that potential disaster.”

With the victory, fourth-seeded Pennridge advances to take on rival and No. 5 seed North Penn.

Pennridge’s Michael Eissler reaches for a loose puck on the boards against Garnet Valley during their Flyers Cup AA first round game on Wednesday, March 6, 2019. (Gene Walsh/MediaNews Group)

“Credit to their goalie,” Montagna said of Jaguars keeper Josh Juliano, who stopped 48 shots. “He played a great game. He played a phenomenal game. That’s a really good league down there and they have a lot of good players.
“We knew that going in. We knew that, with Downingtown West beating Central Bucks South tonight. It wasn’t gonna be easy.”

The Rams kept the pressure on, racking up a whopping 54-25 advantage in shots.

Slater tied the game five minutes into the third period, off an assist from Nick Eissler. Then, with eight minutes to play, Rota broke away for the game winner.

“(Jeff Manto) made a play, right along the boards at our blue line,” Rota described, “and then I just took it and headed into the zone. I took a shot and it happened to go in.

“It was amazing getting that first win in the Flyers Cup. It’s big for momentum going forward and we just look forward to the rest of the tournament.”

Garnet Valley’s Daniel Carlin reaches to intercept a pass against Pennridge during their Flyers Cup AA first round game on Wednesday, March 6, 2019. (Gene Walsh/MediaNews Group)

Luke Stranick made some key saves in the final minutes to help hold off the 13th-seeded Jags.

The contest got off to a wild start. Pennridge trailed on three separate occasions in the first period, with goals by Slater, Michael Walker and Manto allowing them to even things up at three heading into the second.

Matt Guinette gave Pennridge a short-lived 4-3 lead before Matt Wood scored twice for Garnet Valley, putting the Rams in the 5-4 hold they were able to dig out of in the third.

“It got off to a weird start,” Montagna said, “but I was proud of the way they stabilized themselves.”

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