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West Chester East blanks Palmyra, will meet rival Rustin in Flyers Cup semis

EAST GOSHEN >> The West Chester East hockey team has often leaned on goalie Joey Galitski this season, and long before then.

Thursday night, the star goaltender did it again, and set up another showdown with archrival West Chester Rustin.

Galitski stopped all 25 shots he faced Thursday night, as West Chester East shut out Palmyra, 4-0, in the Flyers Cup Class A quarterfinals at Ice Line.

With the win, East advances to to the semifinals next Tuesday night against top-seeded Rustin. The winner of that game will play in the Flyers Cup final, under the lights at Wells Fargo Center on March 17, against either Strath Haven or Hershey.

“Joe is our backbone,” said East coach Eric Wolf. “There’s a reason he’s an all-league goaltender and you saw that tonight.” 

“I just focus on stopping every puck,” Galitski said. “I know my teammates are going to be there and do the rest for me. The guys in front of me are the reason I was able to post that shutout tonight. Without them I wouldn’t be able to do what I do.”

The teams were well matched with the only difference being the solid goaltending from Galitski. Palmyra was unable to stay out of the penalty box, accumulating 12 penalty minutes in the second and third periods, thus limiting their possessions on the offensive end. 

Palmyra was threatening in the first period, however, with five shots in the opening four minutes, controlling the puck and keeping it in the Vikings’ zone. Galitski had all the answers early on, but on the other end, Palmyra did not surrender a shot through the first seven minutes of play and forced the Vikings to ice the puck to slow the pace of play back down. 

Once the pace slowed down, the Vikings began to finally get shots on net and have chances of their own. Once West Chester East could set up their attack it was a very different game. Jack Hamilton netted a wrist shot off a pass from Tristan D’Elia just under 10 minutes into the game to give the Vikings a 1-0 lead. Palmyra battled back, but Galitski continued to hold down the fort for West Chester East, stopping 11 shots in the first period. 

The second period was much more intensive defensively. East was called for a crosscheck that resulted in the first penalty of the game, 4:40 into the second period. Galitski and the Vikings’ defensemen come up big to prevent a conversion on the power play. There was more back and forth play, before a tripping penalty with 3:11 left in the second gave West Chester East a chance to take the 2-0 lead. Palmyra killed their first penalty of the night and was able to notch a shot on goal, but less than 20 seconds after the penalty was killed, Chase Becnel’s unassisted slapshot with just 52 seconds left in the period gave the Vikings a 2-0 lead.

West Chester East opened the third period on the power play and managed four shots on goal, but could not convert. But three minutes later, Palmyra found itself in the penalty box again for high sticking. The Cougars managed to kill the penalty, just to commit two more less than three minutes later. Palmyra was solid on the penalty kill, until with four minutes left in the game, Nick Castura finally capitalized on the 5-on-3 advantage, assisted by Jack Hamilton. Defenseman Philip DiPiero tacked on the final goal assisted by John Conlon with 42 seconds left to make the final score 4-0 West Chester East. 

“The effort was unbelievable,” said Palmyra coach Zach Lokey. “Coming in you never know the teams you’re playing, it’s just you come in and play your game; we did that, but the puck wouldn’t bounce our way and there was great goaltending on the other side that didn’t allow us to hit the back of the net.”

On the other side, Wolf was looking ahead at Rustin, which has beaten East the last two years in the Flyers Cup final.

“The past is for them,” Wolf saiad. “But as far as we’re concerned that’s ancient history. Our job is to put that in the past.”

***

In Flyers Cup Class AAA action:

Malvern Prep 9, Roman Catholic 1 >> Kyle Washkalavitch had a hat trick and six other Friars found the net as Malvern Prep cruised to a win and locked up a spot in the Flyers Cup semifinals. Second-seeded Malvern will face No. 6 St. Joe’s Prep on Thursday, March 14 at Ice Line. The winner of that game will face La Salle or Holy Ghost Prep in the Class AAA Final on March 17 at Wells Fargo Center

Ryan Sambuco, Matt Harris, Kosta Hionis, Jake Rudloff, Chuck Andress and Aidan Gordinier were the other goal scorers for Malvern Prep. Friar goalie Dan Dougherty had 14 saves in the win.

***

West Chester East 4, Palmyra 0

West Chester East 1 1 2 — 4

Palmyra 0 0 0 — 0

Goals: Hamilton, Becnel, Castura, DiPiero 

Saves: Galitski 25, Bell 26

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