HAVERFORD — Jake Orazi felt like he was in a little bit of a slump.
It’s all relative, of course, when you have 19 goals and 46 points in 20 regular-season games. But Orazi didn’t score in either of Haverford’s Central League playoff games, including a disappointing 3-2 loss to Springfield in the final for the top-seeded Fords, or in the eight-goal rout of Central Bucks West to open the Flyers Cup.
But Orazi’s ability to get himself going Thursday, creating offense out of thin air, helped keep the Fords in gear.
Orazi scored twice and had an assist in a five-goal first period as second-seeded Haverford routed No. 10 Pennridge, 8-1, at the Skatium, advancing to the semifinals of the Flyers Cup Class AA for the first time since 2016.
“I think it’s been coming for a long time,” the junior center said. “I haven’t been able to score for a couple of games, but I got lucky a couple of times, the puck bounced our way.”
Dont leave Jacob Orazi open there. Power play tally. 2-1 Fords. pic.twitter.com/onIyixxJHX
— Matthew De George (@sportsdoctormd) March 5, 2020
Orazi made his, and the Fords’, luck on the way to a semis date with No. 3 Perk Valley, which edged No. 6 Council Rock South, 4-3, Thursday. That game will be next week at a date and time to be determined.
The Fords opened the scoring seven minutes in when Orazi tailed a Pennridge defenseman behind his own net. Orazi, with his long reach, lifted the stick, pilfered the puck and set up Alex Gattone on the doorstep to rifle home.
But the slump-buster was furnished by defenseman Nathan Radadam when he spied Orazi lurking in the slot on the power play. Even in a slump, it wasn’t a place that Orazi misses from, and that tally proved to be the game-winner. It also set the Fords up for four goals in 3:37 to take control of the game for good, Orazi bookending the streak with tallies.
Orazi added the fifth goal of the period with less than two minutes to play, a deft faceoff win forward from the dot to the right of the goalie that he flicked past Ryan Pico before most of the Rams moved.
“It’s always nice to have somebody like that that can make those plays,” sophomore forward Jagur McClelland said. “We have pretty good depth on our team, and just to have more guys like that that can pull off moves like that and score those goals is definitely going to help us.”
The depth was on display. Daniel Quartapella, despite getting robbed point-blank twice by Pico in the first period, scored twice and added two assists. Gattone had a goal and a helper. Quinn Hawley, who scored four times in the 8-0 win over C.B. West, had a goal and a primary assist on consecutive shifts. McClellan added a goal and two assists.
Quartapella pokes home the rebound. Third rebound goal today for the Fords. 7-1. 11:21 left pic.twitter.com/NfAxjN6fvQ
— Matthew De George (@sportsdoctormd) March 6, 2020
The Fords were 3-for-5 on the power play, even cashing in late when Pennridge began taking liberties (leading to 30 third-period penalty minutes) with the forward depth combination of Nick Kunigus finding Michael McGeoch. Though Pico made 31 saves, three of the Fords’ goals were on juicy rebounds left at the doorstep, the Fords crashing the crease early and often.
“We just focus on doing the right things, getting the pucks deep, shots on net,” Orazi said. “We just try to get things rolling.”
PHOTO GALLERY: Haverford vs. Pennridge
Haverford’s first burst of momentum was short lived. Just 50 seconds after Gattone’s goal, Andrew David jumped on a long pass that hopped over the stick of a defender at the blueline and raced down ice. It took three chances before he stuffed the puck past Tyler Cassidy, but it evened the game at one.
If the Fords needed it, there was their wake-up call.
“We have to keep our foot on the gas and keep pushing, keep working a team down like that,” McClelland said. “It’s going to help us win games, and if we can keep going like that, we’re going to be alright.”
Orazi got the scoring restarted within two and a half minutes. Quartapella scored the only goal of the second period, lifting a stick and the blueline and ringing both posts on a short-handed tally. He added the first goal of the third on the power play, poking home the rebound off a McClelland point blast, to put the result beyond reach.
After the disappointment of the Central League tournament, the Flyers Cup has gained a little something extra for the Fords. And getting to the semifinals is only a start, they hope.
“It’s definitely been one of our biggest goals this year,” Orazi said. “Obviously we lost the CLC, so that gave us some motivation for the games to come.”
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