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WINTER SPORTS

Next Dynasty Up? WC East Goes Back-To-Back

By Rob Senior
For MediaNews Group

WEST GOSHEN >> In alternating years, West Chester is home to the Pennsylvania high school ice hockey championships.
The Class A title, specifically, has found a more permanent home in town.

West Chester East controlled the Class A final against Norwin at Ice Line Quad Rinks on Saturday, claiming a 10-0 victory for their second straight state championship.

The Vikings’ fourth title in school history also marks a full decade of Class A dominance in the West Chester Area School District.

East claimed the title in 2013, only to see nearby WC Rustin go on a run of six consecutive championships from 2014-2019. After the tournament’s cancellation in 2020, the Vikings have returned to the top in consecutive campaigns.

“I think we’re standing in it,” said Eric Wolf, head coach of West Chester East, asked for the reason West Chester area hockey has been able to dominate. “It’s nice to have a hometown rink. Henderson, Rustin, us — it’s a huge advantage.

“When Rustin was winning, depth was their strength, and I think it’s the same story for us.”

“I think the Ches-Mont Division is the toughest in the state,” added Ethan Fredericks, whose hat trick led East’s offense Saturday. “We all push one another and it prepares the winner for a game like today.”

The East offense was a combination of efficiency and consistency Saturday, as the Vikings scored on their first three powerplay opportunities. By the midway point of the second period, shots on goal were even at 12, but WC East held a 6-0 lead.

It took six minutes for the Vikings to register a shot on goal, but Michael Cardarelli made it count, beating the

Norwin goalie blocker side on East’s first powerplay to draw first blood.

Junior Trey Jefferis followed just three minutes later to double the lead, while Ethan Fredericks’ first of two goals came on the Vikings’ second powerplay to make it 3-0 with five minutes remaining in the first period.

The Vikings separated themselves in the second period, outshooting Norwin 13-3 and expanding the lead to 8-0. Jefferis and Fredericks each added their second tallies, joined on the score sheet by Chase Khounsacknarath, Michael Tordone, and Joey Cardarelli.

Fredericks completed his hat trick two minutes into the third period, while Tordone’s second goal of the afternoon ended the game via mercy rule with 12:33 on the clock.

Norwin’s forays into the offensive zone were ably handled by a skilled Vikings defense, backstopped by senior goalie Jesse Davis (13 saves).

All in all, East’s special teams were the story as the Vikings added two goals in 4-on-4 situations and two more shorthanded markers, including Tordone’s game-ender.

“Speed and puck movement,” said Wolf. “We don’t have one guy looking to carry the puck up and down the ice. We have guys on the third line who are among the fastest players on our team. Our top scorers can rest while these guys kill penalties.”

East completed an undefeated 2022 season (28-0) with Saturday’s win, while Penguins Cup champion Norwin finished at 16-5-2. Combined with last year’s run, Saturday marked the Vikings’ 46th consecutive win.

“It’s been the ride of a lifetime, to be honest,” said team captain Michael Cardarelli. “I don’t have the words for it right now, but it’s something I’ll never forget.”

“They’re a great hockey team that work well together,” said Norwin coach Mike Robinson. “They’re blowing teams out, nobody’s been able to hang with them all year.”

The accomplishment of 46 straight wins and consecutive state titles during this time in history isn’t lost on Wolf either.

“Especially last year — when we’re not just preparing for an opponent, we’re hoping we can just put a team on the ice,” he said. “We weren’t practicing or meeting as much. You’re trusting guys to do things on their own, and we were able to navigate that.”

Ten WC East seniors played their final games in red and gold Saturday, but just as importantly, the Vikings had enough contributions from underclassmen that it’s not too difficult to envision them right back in this spot next season, looking to keep the streak alive.

“Yes, I think this [string of victories and championships] can continue,” concluded Fredericks. “Our coaches have built this program from the ground up, and there’s no reason to believe it won’t continue.”

West Chester East 10, Norwin 0
Norwin 0 0 0 — 0
WC East 3 5 2 — 10
West Chester East goals: Jefferis 2, Tordone 2, Fredricks 3, M. Cardarelli, J. Cardarelli, Khounsacknarath.
Goalie saves: Burmeister (N) 18; Davis (WCE) 13.

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