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FLYERS CUP AA: Pennridge handles Owen J. Roberts in semifinals

Pennridge forward Dane Fitchett, left, works his way past Owen J. Roberts' Ethan Bochanski, right, during the Flyers Cup semifinals at Hatfield Ice Arena on March 13. (Evan Wheaton - MediaNews Group)

COLMAR >> There were plenty of similarities on the stat sheet in the  Flyers Cup AA semifinal matchup between No. 2 Pennridge and No. 6 Owen J. Roberts.

The Rams put 30 shots on goal to the Warriors’ 28. OJR earned six power plays to Pennridge’s four. Both teams generated plenty of scoring chances throughout the 51-minute contest.

The similarities stopped when looking at the only stat that matters – goals. Pennridge made the most of its opportunities and cruised to a 7-0 win at Hatfield Ice Arena Monday night.

“Executing is everything,” Pennridge sophomore Shane Dachowski said. “They had a bunch of chances, but they couldn’t bury one. We buried all our chances and it gave us the win.”

Owen J. Roberts defenseman Evan Foster, left, and Pennridge’s Shane Dachowski, right, skate by the boards in the Wildcats’ zone during the Flyers Cup semifinals at Hatfield Ice Arena on March 13. (Evan Wheaton – MediaNews Group)

Dachowski scored three goals against OJR, bringing his total to seven goals in the first three rounds of the Flyers Cup. Kevin Pico added a goal, his fifth of the tournament, while Dane Fitchett, Andrew Savona and James Rush also scored.

“We’ve played with each other for six or seven years,” Pico said about he and Dachowski dominating the Flyers Cup so far. “The chemistry is there for us. We’ve been able to get goals.”

Fitchett got the scoring started five minutes into the game. Tyler Manto took a shot from the top of the circle and Fitchett was in front of the net to deflect it in for an early 1-0 lead.

The advantage doubled just 81 seconds later. Dachowski deked his way through the defense and found a way to get the puck between the left post and the goalie to make it 2-0. The score held through the remaining 10:39 of the opening period.

Pico made it a 3-0 lead early in the second period. Savona carried the puck behind OJR’s net as if he was going to try a wraparound, but instead sent a pass to the far side. Pico was there to bury it for a three-goal Pennridge lead.

Pennridge forward Kevin Pico (20) skates after the puck to mid ice during the Flyers Cup semifinals against Owen J. Roberts at Hatfield Ice Arena on March 13. (Evan Wheaton – MediaNews Group)

The Rams not only killed off all six of their penalties, but scored two shorthanded goals in the second period. Savona’s wrister from the right circle found the top shelf to make it a 4-0 game and Colin Dachowski set up his brother Shane for a breakaway and 5-0 lead.

“Special teams is very important,” Shane Dachowski said. “For us to shut them down, and they’re a very good powerplay team, and put two up is huge.”

“(The powerplay) has been our strength for the last two years,” OJR coach Chuck Gorman said. “It’s one of those things when we need momentum, those guys can usually find each other. It was just flat. Sometimes in any sport, trying to get the troops going, get them up on their toes and the magic just isn’t there. That’s kind of what happened to us tonight.”

Owen J. Roberts forward Cael Primanti (48) moves the puck into Pennridge’s zone during the Flyers Cup semifinals at Hatfield Ice Arena on March 13. (Evan Wheaton – MediaNews Group)

Rush added a goal early in the third period and Pico set up Dachowski to complete his hat trick and make it 7-0.

Pennridge goalie Jacob Winton earned the shutout win, stopping all 28 shots he faced.

“It’s a big statement going into the championship game,” Pico said, “knowing that we can put a shutout in the semifinals game, that our goalie can play like that under the pressure that there is. He played a really good game.”

OJR goalie Shane Towler made 23 saves.

It was a tough night for the Wildcats overall. They hit the post midway through the first period with a chance to cut their 2-0 deficit in half and captain Charlie Davis dealt with some equipment issues throughout the game. They generated plenty of quality scoring opportunities in the second period, but couldn’t get one past Winton.

“(Pennridge) played a great defensive game,” Gorman said. “They clogged up the middle on us. We just couldn’t get our mojo going. I think for a couple guys on the team – we had an early injury to Joe Bacallao and Charlie Davis’ skate blade broke like 10 times in that game. We just couldn’t pull together. They scored at very opportune times just when we amped up the intensity and started to change the play. We were in the offensive zone for a while working our cycle and we just couldn’t get shots through. It was one of those nights.”

Pennridge will face No. 5 Pennsbury, a 7-5 winner over No. 1 Council Rock South, in the final next week. The teams split their regular season meetings this year – Pennsbury winning 6-3 on Nov. 3 and Pennridge winning 11-4 on Jan. 12 – and the Falcons won 8-5 in the Suburban High School Hockey League semifinals earlier this month.

“We’re ready for them,” Dachowski said. “It’s going to be a fun game.”

Pennridge forward Kevin Pico, left, and Owen J. Roberts’ Charlie Davis, right, go for the puck in a faceoff during the Flyers Cup semifinals at Hatfield Ice Arena on March 13. (Evan Wheaton – MediaNews Group)

Owen J. Roberts’ season ends with the loss. The Wildcats won the Inter County Scholastic Hockey League Pioneer Division title before winning a pair of Flyers Cup games to reach the semifinals.

“This is incredible for the organization,” Gorman said. “Only four years we’ve qualified for the Flyers Cup for our organization. This group here has taken our club to a whole new level. It’s an honor to be in the Flyers Cup, let alone get to the semifinal. They also have to remember that they are back-to-back Pioneer champs and that’s a lot to be said in a very competitive Pioneer Division. Hats off to the group for doing that and elevating our club to new heights.”

Pennridge 7, Owen J. Roberts 0

Owen J. Roberts 0 0 0 – 0

Pennridge 3 2 3 – 7

1st period

P – Dane Fitchett (Tyler Manto, Andrew Lizak) 5:00

P – Shane Dachowski 6:21

2nd period

P – Kevin Pico (Andrew Savona) 4:59

P – Andrew Savona (shorthanded) 7:11

P – Shane Dachowski (Colin Dachowski) (shorthanded) 11:56

3rd period

P – James Rush (Andrew Lizak) 1:37

P – Shane Dachowski (Kevin Pico) 9:31

Shots on goal: OJR: 28. P: 30.



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