Cassidy stands tall as Haverford stonewalls Pennridge

HAVERFORD >> With Haverford spotting him a five-goal lead in 18 minutes Wednesday night, goalie Tyler Cassidy might not have expected to work quite as hard as he did.

But even as a ton of rubber flew his way, the freshman netminder stood tall again and again.

Cassidy turned aside 44 shots as the No. 5 seed Fords claimed a 7-2 win over No. 12 Pennridge in the Flyer Cup Class AA Round of 16 at the Skatium.

Cassidy helped the Fords withstand an avalanche of pressure in the second period, after the Rams’ belated breakthrough on the scoreboard. And he stopped six shots on a five-minute major for hooking assessed to Brendan Daly at 6:45 of the third with the Fords ahead four goals.

Haverford defenseman Dante Gattone works the puck up the ice Wednesday. Gattone scored as the Fords notched a 7-2 win over Pennridge in Flyers Cup Class AA play. (Digital First Media/Anne Neborak)

Cassidy’s penultimate save wasn’t his most impressive but perhaps the most telling — a point drive by Eric Slater that caromed off a Haverford body and a Pennridge stick before Cassidy pinned it against his chest, allowing no rebound.

“It felt good,” Cassidy said. “The D were getting them out of the way and they let me really see the puck and make the save.”

“He’s doing pretty well back there,” defenseman Dante Gattone said. “We trust him a lot. He bails us out a lot, and he’s bailing us out in the playoffs now.”

The win moves the Fords into the quarterfinals Thursday night to take on No. 4 seed William Tennent, a 5-1 winner over North Penn. Puck drop at Bucks County Ice is at 7:10.

There were plenty of spectacular saves to choose from, even if Cassidy made them appear routine. Pennridge captain Michal Padgeon, who got the Rams on the board at 3:30 of the second, was all alone in the slot several minutes after the goal, but Cassidy blockered his rising shot off the glass.

Cassidy flexed out a pad to deny Nathan Runk on a breakaway, then a crazy sequence left Troy Crosson in alone after side-stepping a check. But Cassidy flashed the glove to fight off Crosson’s shot.

“To me, he’s like a senior goalie,” forward Henry DeVoe said. “He’s one of the best goalies in the league. He played his butt off back there.”

DeVoe did plenty of that on the other end of the ice, lighting the lamp four times. Shane Moran and Daniel Morris picked up three assists apiece, Moran also burying a goal.

The offensive outburst owed to a marked speed differential. The Rams had the size edge, but untimely neutral-zone turnovers gave Haverford’s undersized forwards chances to build a head of steam across the blue line. That was bad news for the Rams.

DeVoe’s first marker typified the simplicity of approach. Dominic Pantalone jumped on a loose puck at center ice and flipped it to Moran for a 2-on-2. DeVoe split the defensemen, chugging toward the crease for Moran to caress a pass into his path.

“Just simple plays, nothing fancy,” DeVoe said. “We were crashing the net, getting pucks deep and stuff happens.”

Gattone’s goal was showier, skating past spectating defensemen before dekeing to his backhand to beat Luke Stranick. Moran did the heavy lifting next, slaloming through a pair of flailing blueliners before finding Pantalone, who fired a changeup that nonetheless eluded Stranick, and Moran did the finishing himself on the fourth goal after pocketing a loose puck.

Stranick’s night ended after one period, and his replacement Tyler Gilbert was greeted by a Padgeon interference call 12 seconds into the second, dutifully cashed in DeVoe in the slot when Morris threaded him a pass from behind the cage.

Haverford’s Daniel Morris creates havoc in front of the Pennridge net Wednesday night as the Rams’ Lucas Gotwals fails to clear him out in front of goaltender Tyler Gilbert. (Digital First Media/Anne Neborak)

The Rams finally got their bearings, but it was too little too late, even when Padgeon lifted a defenseman’s stick and walked out in front to beat an off-guard Cassidy early in the second, trimming the deficit to 5-1.

“It was really hard for us,” Padgeon said. “If we get that goal earlier, we know what to do right away. It was kind of hard getting it in the middle of the second period and going from there.”

Pennridge got a spark when its third line produced a goal, Michael Ferrello beating Cassidy 71 ticks into the third.

But DeVoe was ready with the dagger. The first installment came with eight seconds left in the second, when he picked a pocket along the boards and strode past a defender to tuck one away short-side, capping a period in which the Fords were outshot 24-7 but increased their lead. Then he formally ended matters with 47 seconds to play, Moran teeing him up for a one-timer on the man advantage.

“We just had a lot of confidence,” DeVoe said. “We came out ready to go and we got pucks deep and to the net. We just came ready to play.”

Also in Flyers Cup AA:

Ridley 5, Cumberland Valley 2 >> Cade Stratton tallied twice in the second period to put the eighth-seeded Green Raiders up for good.

Michael Desio scored and dished two assists, and Jake Cross provided a pair of helpers. Thomas Plotts and Brett Dunning also scored for Ridley, which gets top seeded Central Bucks West in the quarters Thursday at Hatfield Ice at 8:40. C.B. West downed Parkland, 5-1.

Downingtown East 10, Garnet Valley 0 >> Luca Pisani and Michael Bolger each recorded hat tricks as the No. 19 Jags ran into a buzzsaw in third-seeded East.

In Flyers Cup A:

Radnor 3, Lower Dauphin 1 >> Clayton Proctor set up Donald Sucher’s opener and scored the game-winner off a Thomas Winnick feed at 15:50 of the second to guide the No. 6 Raiders into the quarterfinals.

Proctor added an insurance tally in the third, and Jake Rader picked up the secondary assist on Sucher’s marker. Harris Brotman made 21 saves for the Raiders, who advance to take on No. 3 Penncrest Thursday night (7:30, IceWorks).

Springfield 10, Harriton 2 >> Joseph Cavaliere posted a first-period hat trick to pace the rout.
Aidan Smith (two goals, three assists), Connor Sadoff (two and one) and Nick Farese (one and two) also had big days for the fifth-seeded Cougars, who get No. 4 Hershey in the quarters next Monday (7:45 p.m., Klick Lewis Arena).

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