WEST GOSHEN — The West Chester East hockey team knew they would be the underdog heading into the Flyers Cup "A' Semifinals match against Springfield (Delco), but then again, they beat the league's best
in Unionville two days before.
Unfortunately, too many penalties by West Chester East put them in a hole they just couldn't dig themselves out of as they were eliminated, 7-1 on Friday at Ice Line.
"After the first two rounds, we were playing better hockey and were really coming together as a team,' said West Chester East head coach Drew Cox. "We came out with plenty of focus and energy tonight, but
we got behind and were chasing the game the rest of the way. When you chase the game, it's hard to catch it.'
One of the most deadly part of Springfield's game is the power play as heading into the match, it was clicking at 50 percent, so it was no surprise its first score came on the man advantage.
"All around, they're a very good and very well coached,' Cox said. "Any team left in this tournament is going to make you pay if you put them on the power play that many times, especially if they score early on and get confidence.'
It seemed to start off well for the Vikings as they came out with the initial jump in their legs, but a borderline hit shifted the momentum.
After forward Pat Ward took a shot on net, defenseman Charlie Eppenheimer came flying in and checked him from below the goal line and hard into the end boards head first, but no penalty was called.
From that moment on, Springfield took firm control of the game and never looked back.
"That was a huge deflator,' Cox said. "A top line player going down in the first five minutes of the game and not being able to come back just deflated us. How the game began the first 10 minutes, their
confidence grew and ours didn't — ours sunk.'
Forward Tyler Riddle skated around the back of the net and threw a quick shot on net which somehow made it through goaltender Tyler Percival for the game's first goal 5:03 into the first. Tyler Riddle followed his goal up with a pass across the crease to his brother Kyle Riddle waiting backdoor five minutes later to make it 2-0.
West Chester East looked to have broken the shutout 50 seconds into the second period, but goaltender Bryan Biehl was able to get just enough to keep from crossing the goal line. It didn't matter much because on the ensuing faceoff, forward Mike Miller sent the puck back to defenseman Bill Stewart. He lined up the shot and blasted it from along the boards to cut the deficit to 2-1.
Unfortunately, that was the only goal West Chester East could get past Biehl, who made 23 saves on the night.
Tyler Riddle answered West Chester East's goal and scored his second of the night, once again on the power play with his snap shot from the middle of the left circle for a 3-1 lead.
Springfield continued to pile on the power-play goals, going 3-for-3 not even halfway through the game. Tyler Riddle sent a pass up from behind the net to forward Steve Cavaliere planted in the slot for a quick tap-in at 6:19.
Percival tried to keep his team in it the best he could, including a big stop on a Springfield 3-on-1 late in the second, but it wasn't enough to overcome the offensive might of the opposition.
Just 61 seconds later, forward Ryan Vogt pounced on a rebound to put the game out of pretty much out of reach for West Chester East.
"You've got to hand it to Springfield,' Cox said. "When they had the chance to step on the gas and make the game harder for us, they did. They didn't give us a chance to comeback no matter what we did. A lot
of the credit goes to them.'
Despite its best efforts early in the third, West Chester East couldn't find the back of the net and frustration set in as Vogt tacked on two more goals for a hat trick and a 7-1 lead.
The elimination by Springfield marked the end of an up and down season for West Chester East.
"It was a tough season,' Cox said. "We had our good games and our bad games. We had penalty issues all season long and that reared its ugly head today. We did a lot of good things [this season]. Everyone on
the team made strides to be better this year. Unfortunately, it just wasn't our year.'
Springfield (Delco) 7, West Chester East 1
Springfield (Delco) 2 3 2— 7
West Chester East 0 1 0— 1
Springfield goals: T Riddle 2, K Riddle, Cavaliere, Vogt 3.
West Chester East goal: Stewart.
Goalie saves: Biehl (S) 23. Percival (WCE) 24.
Barone's OT goal lifts Rustin into championship
It was only fitting to have a fast-paced, high-energy game between the two West Chester teams as they fought for the final spot in the Flyers Cup "A' Championship game.
It was almost scripted to have the game also go into overtime, but ultimately, West Chester Rustin prevailed with a game-winning goal from forward J.R. Barone with 3:55 left in the first overtime to win 3-2 over West Chester Henderson on Friday at Ice Line.
"Whenever the West Chesters get together, it's a war,' said Rustin head coach Nick Russo.
Henderson took the lead twice in the game, first off a goal from forward Jarrett Slear and once again by forward Eric Beren. But Rustin came back to tie it with goals from forwards Brett Christie and Michael Grande.
West Chester Rustin will face Springfield (Delco) in the championship game Wednesday at 8 pm. at Ice Line.
"(Springfield is) going to be tough,' Russo said. "They have veterans that are there every year.'
W.C. Henderson 1 0 1 0 -- 2
W.C. Rustin 0 0 2 1 -- 3
W.C. Henderson goals: Slear, Beren.
W.C. Rustin goals: Christie, M. Grande, Barone.
Goalie saves: Bonjo (H) 29; J. Grande (R) 24.