Strofe-George tandem powers Carroll past O’Hara

HAVERFORD >> It’s not often a high school coach will split up his top two offensive stars. But that’s just what Archbishop Carroll has done with forwards Brendan George and Matt Strofe. The separation gives the Patriots enviable scoring depth, while keeping opposing defensive units on their toes for 48 minutes.
“We’re totally different players,” said Strofe. “It gives the whole team confidence when we both get going.”
“He’s a playmaker,” added George. “I’m the scorer.”
Both players lived up to that billing and more Thursday night at the Skatium in a 9-2 victory over Cardinal O’Hara. George scored three times, while Strofe contributed a goal and two assists.
It took a while for the Patriots to get in gear, though. Ten minutes into the opening period, the Lions held a 6-3 advantage in shots-on-goal and held the vaunted Carroll attack in check. It was a rivalry game after all, the kind of Catholic League tilt that both programs have been yearning for for years. The student sections came out in force.
O’Hara’s contingent, eager at first, fell silent as they watched George open the scoring then celebrate against the glass in front of them. Three minutes later, Strofe doubled the lead with a backhander from in tight. The rout was on.
“All four lines really work well,” said George. “When we get one, we just want to go get the next one.”
That mentality played out in a four-goal second period where the talents of the high-scoring George-Strofe duo were on full display.
After scoring on a one-man rush to the net 20 seconds into the frame, George added a highlight-reel goal to complete his hat-trick 11 minutes later.

The 6-foot centerman dangled through the Lions’ defense then used every inch of his reach to slide the puck around goaltender Dan Dougherty. The goal made it 5-1 with 3:53 left in the period. Not to be outdone, Strofe had his own moment of brilliance with 2:44 to play. A sturdy 5-7, 192 pounds, Strofe fought off two checkers before dishing a pass to Robert Batten, who buried the puck into an open net for his second goal of the night.
The contrast between the two players, and the Patriots’ top two lines, was evident in the scoring: George long and direct, Stofe balanced and poised.
Jon Melanchuk’s shorthanded break-away goal briefly gave O’Hara (1-4-1, 1-3-1 PCL Blue) hope at the end of the second before Carroll countered with three more markers in the third. Batten’s third goal of the night completed the scoring.
With the blowout, the Patriots remain undefeated both in the league and overall (6-0-1, 4-0-1), a far cry from the team George joined four years ago.
“We’ve been trying to build a program here since I was a freshman,” he said. “Now we have the guys to finally do it.”
The addition of Strofe certainly helps. Last season the junior was one of Upper Darby’s offensive standouts playing with his older brother Michael. But Carroll’s academic reputation as well as a familiarity with some of his current teammates enticed the younger Strofe to transfer.
“First off it’s a great school,” he explained. “The hockey is just a bonus.”
George played a small role in the quasi-recruitment. The two have known each other for a few years as they both skate with the Haverford Hawks club team.
“I trust Brendan. He told me all about the school,” said Strofe. “Everyone has welcomed me in. It’s been awesome.”
Patriots fans would likely concur.
In the South Division:
Interboro 7, Sun Valley 6 >> Kenny Keene scored three unanswered goals in a 2 minute, 3 second span in the third period including the winner with 26 seconds to play in the game.
The Vanguards (1-3-2) built a 6-4 lead behind four goals and one assist from Eric DeLellis before Keene took over. He put home a pass from Nicholas Daniels to cut the deficit to one and tied the game off an assist Jake Reifer, and then scored the winner with assists from Reifer and Kyle Oreskovich.
Reifer finished with three goals and two assists. Oreskovich also had a goal and Joe Bucci dished out two assists for the Bucs (1-2-0). Dante Fantini added one goal and one assist for Sun Valley.
In late action Wednesday night:
Ridley 7, Marple Newtown 0 >> Nick Catona scored twice and set up a pair of goals to pace the unbeaten Green Raiders.
Eric Miller also had two goals while Michael Giampapa and Nate Dunning each had a goal and three assists for the Green Raiders (6-0-1).
Brendahn Brawley (11 saves) and Wayne Shambo (nine saves) teamed up on the shutout. Drew Moore stopped 36 shots for Marple Newtown (1-4).

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