McGovern stops Garnet Valley in its tracks in setback

LOWER MERION — The Central Bucks East bench made a beeline for the far end of the field Saturday afternoon, seconds after Matt Vetter’s laser beam of a shot hit the twine to decide their 12-11 win over Garnet Valley.

Vetter, though, wasn’t the first person to get the mobbed-celebration treatment in the overtime session.

That honor went to Sean McGovern, who was stellar in goal in leading the No. 9 seed Patriots (18-2) to the upset of the top-seeded Jaguars. Their reward is a date with No. 4 Springfield, a 9-8 winner over Spring-Ford.

McGovern made 16 saves on the day, none bigger than two back-to-back in OT.

With Daniel Lanham, who went 19-for-26 at the X, winning the faceoff of the extra session, Garnet Valley settled into its offense. McGovern used the shaft of his stick to fight off Dylan Lee’s shot, then after a turnover, he stonewalled Denny Nealon on a 2-on-1 with Matt Moore (two goals, three assist) that seemed destined to end the game.

Instead, McGovern swung the pendulum of momentum decisively in the Patriots’ favor.

“In overtime, I’m actually the calmest,’ he said. “I’m just finding my zone, I’m in the zone, I’m just doing me. I saw (Nealon) shoot five-hole, I just ate it up. I was like, ‘ hell yeah.”

The sense of foreboding that came with those two stop was palpable for Garnet Valley (14-4), especially after the Jaguars spent the entire game trying to get even. They trailed 52 seconds in courtesy of Owen Griffin (four goals). They never led, not after digging out a 5-1 hole early in the second quarter.

It took until Tyler Moschella’s goal off a rebound at 8:14 of the fourth to get even at 10-all for the first time since the game was 1-1. Even then, a Lanham goal at 3:03, eight seconds after Ryan Brown completed his hat trick to nudge the Patriots ahead, was required to send the game to overtime.

That played straight into the hands of McGovern, who knew the Jags had to press, attempting suboptimal shots that he gobbled up.

“They’re going to test me with more shots when they’re down,’ he said. “We’re just ready for the shot, staying ready, keeping the talk up and just being ready for anything.’

“I didn’t think we weren’t hitting the net,’ said Nealon, who scored twice. “We were putting it right on his body. We didn’t have a good shooting day. We just hit his body.’

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