"I have tried not to think about it all week," Lefever said. "This is just business as usual and just another match."
Central was only playing against last season's Viola Cup champion, Kennard-Dale.
But as the final seconds ticked away, even the strict, disciplined coach could not keep a beaming smile from crossing his normally stoic face as his Central team won the CPIHL Tier 1 championship with the 9-3 victory Monday.
Every Central York player stormed the ice and swarmed junior goalie Tallen Stroman in one
Stroman's eight-save performance confirmed his status as the top goalie for 2010-2011 season and brought Central's total goals allowed to 28 on the season -- 13 better than second-place Red Land in the CPIHL.
"It was our system," Stroman said. "The offensive zone kept the puck down low and away from the defensive zone, but it still feels great to be No. 1."
The victory gave Central York its first title since winning the Tier 1 East Division championship in 2005. This title run, however, cemented an 11-win turnaround from last season.
"I just kept thinking, 'We did it,'" Stroman said. "The 2004 team got us to Tier 1, and now we have topped it."
Central was able to celebrate early and often Monday night after jumping out a 4-0 first-period lead.
Kenny Gross' power-play goal started the scoring surge, and his assist to Nathaniel Troupe only minutes later made for some breathing room.
Less than a minute later, Central's Dylan Zavett tripped up Kennard Dale's Ryan Frear and gobbled up the loose puck. He skated the length of the rink before crossing the puck back to Gross, who slapped it into the net.
Central increased its lead to 6-0 after two periods, but Kennard-Dale refused to allow Central its seventh shutout of the season.
Frear scored two third-period goals and nabbed an assist on Geoff Kemp's late goal, but Central captain Cameron Swengel added two goals to bring the final score to 9-3.
"It did not set in until we got to the locker room and finally had a chance to sit down," Swengel said. "This match was extremely important for me because I have been playing since my freshman year, and we never finished first until now."
Now the Panthers will have today to prepare for the first round of the CPIHL tournament Wednesday night against Dallastown.
"I told the guys that this is just step one of three," Lefever said. "We still have the CPIHL playoffs and the Flyers Cup state tournament to go."
Not bad for just another match, but now it's back to business as usual.
CENTRAL 9, KENNARD-DALE 3
Central 4 2 3 -- 9
K-Dale 0 0 3 -- 3
First Period -- 1. CY, Kenny Gross (Stehl Taylor), 9:10; 2. CY, Nathaniel Troupe (Gross), 5:07; 3. CY, Gross (Dylan Zavett), 3:58; 4. CY, Christian Belker, 3:14.
Second Period -- 5. CY, Taylor (Gross), 7:30; 6. CY, Brendan McWilliams (Cameron Swengel), :08.
Third Period -- 7. KD, Ryan Frear, 13:11; 8. CY, Swengel (McWilliams), 8:06; 9. CY, Swengel (Andrew Guinan), 6:52; 10. KD, Geoff Kemp (Frears), 1:20; 11. CY, Andrew Barninger (James Mueller), :46; 12. KD, Frear (Kemp), :03.
Goalies -- Central York, Tallen Stroman (8 saves); Kennard-Dale, Adam Myers (26 saves).