Connect with us

Ice Hockey

Rustin dispatches Unionville to advance to Flyers Cup semifinals


WEST GOSHEN – In the modern lexicon of sports, is the term ‘seven-peat’ a real thing?

When it comes to West Chester Rustin ice hockey, it apparently is. The Golden Knights may not have legendary head coach Nick Russo behind the bench anymore following his retirement, but the squad is still a major force in Flyers Cup action and beyond.

West Chester Rustin’s (56)Aiden Harris embraces (55) Alex Crook after Crook scored in Flyers Cup action against Unionville at Ice Line Wednesday night.

On Wednesday, third-seeded Rustin dispatched number six Unionville, 4-1, in quarterfinal action of the Flyers Cup Class A Playoffs at IceLine. The Indians topped the Knights twice in the regular season, but Rustin knows how to win this tournament and now advances to the semifinals to play the Palmyra-Springfield (Delco) winner.

“We are rounding into form,” said Knights’ head coach Ken Sheriko. “We have a nice senior core that’s helping the younger guys along.”

Now two wins away from winning its seventh straight Flyers Cup, Rustin (14-7-3 overall) amassed a 32-14 edge in shots through the first two periods, eventually went up 4-0 and then surrendered a goal in the final minute of regulation to miss out on the shutout.

“We’d like to have that late goal back, but we played pretty well in our (defensive) zone, which you like to see,” said Knights’ senior goaltender Joel Keller.

“A lot of the shots came from the outside, so it wasn’t too bad. We worked a lot on keeping the shots to the outside, so it was easier to control the rebounds.”

It was also a nice outing by Unionville goalie Keegan Craig. The senior faced 20 shots on goal before letting one in, but Rustin kept making it more and more difficult as their shooting accuracy improved.

“Keegan was amazing. He did a great job,” said Indians’ head coach Steve King. “They put more than 40 pucks on him tonight.”

West Chester Rustin’s (55) Alex Crook moves the puck ahead of Unionville’s (73)Jay Kulp in the first period of Flyers Cup action at Ice Line Wednesday night.

Sophomore Aiden Harris opened the scoring early in the second period while fighting for position in front of the Unionville goal. It was his seventh goal of the season.

“My teammate, Evan Saylor, took the shot, it went off (Craig’s) pads and I just kind of tucked it in,” he explained.

“It’s special for me because this is my first year of varsity. We have a lot to live up to, but it’s a cool experience.”

Harris was also involved in the another goal in the final two minutes of the period when his blast from the top of the circle was tipped by teammate Alex Crook and it went over Craig’s shoulder and in.

Gavin Dempsey and Tommy Finley then followed with unassisted goals in the first 10 minutes of the third for the Knights.

“We’ve been working a lot on getting to the net and making it tough on the (opposing) goalie, creating those second and third chances,” Sheriko said.

In all, the Indians had five power plays, but were unable to convert until the last. Defender Cam Janofsky scored with 52.2 seconds on the clock, with Philippe Doucette and Nolan Masters notching the assists.

“(Unionville’s) power play is tough,” Sheriko said. “It’s been a bit of an Achilles heel when we’ve played them. Unionville is always a tough out for us.

“But we pride ourselves on defense – blocking shots and then our offense comes from that. A team shows its character by how it kills penalties, the number of shots you block, the patience and poise you have. There were some pretty epic battles in front of the net.”

Unionville’s season ends with a 14-7-1 mark. The Indians were without two injured players: Braden Speck, who was lost for the season, and Ben Frystock (shoulder).

“I don’t want to take anything away from Rustin. They played a great game,” King said. “But we were a two-line team tonight where we usually play three lines.

“It was just one of those nights. Nolan Masters on the breakaway – that kid rarely misses when he is wide open. But the puck just didn’t bounce our way.”

In addition, Keller also stopped the Indians’ Dylan Blackburn on another breakaway later in the contest.

“I thought our defense played strong – that’s the strength of our team,” Sheriko pointed out. “(Keller) is playing very well right now for us. Pressure-packed games are familiar for him and he played very well.”

Keller added: “We don’t want to get ahead of ourselves. But we’ve all been here before and that’s why we are confident.”

West Chester Rustin 4, Unionville 1

Unionville                             0 0 1 — 1

W.C. Rustin                          1 1 2 – 4

Unionville goal: Janofsky.

W.C. Rustin goals: Harris, Crook, Dempsey, Finley.

Goalie saves: (U) Craig 37; (WCR) Keller 29.


Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


Recent News


More in Ice Hockey