HATFIELD TWP. — It was a scrappy goal, a timely goal.
Ultimately, it was the winning goal.
"The puck got shot, ended up going behind the net and I was back there," North Penn's Alex Peterson said. "I just kind of put it out front, thinking it would hit off a couple of their guys. It barely crossed the (goal) line before the kid pulled it out. Lucky goal, but it still counts. That's all that matters."
Peterson's goal gave the third-seeded Knights a 2-0 lead in the third period, and North Penn would hold on for a 2-1 victory over 14th-seeded Downingtown East in the first round of the Class AA Flyers Cup at Hatfield Ice Wednesday night.
"We need to play better so we don't have to be nervous towards the end of the game,' said Peterson, whose team held a narrow 29-26 advantage in shots. "But we still won. (Goalie Jake Snyder) basically won us that game. He's been playing well all year."
Snyder made 25 stops for the Knights, who now advance to a 7:20 p.m. quarterfinal battle with No. 6 Parkland on Friday.
"They played us extremely tough,' North Penn coach Kevin Vaitis said of East. "Jake played awesome. He's been great all year. I've said this before, the last couple years, that I feel I have the best goalies in the league and this year again, I feel I have the best goalies in the league. Jake's been phenomenal all year and he's really stepping it when we need him to right now.'
Alex Rocco scored with six minutes to play to cut North Penn's lead in half, but the Knights held on. It was Peterson's goal, coming two minutes into the third, that sent North Penn into the quarters.
"The referee was in great position to keep that play alive and Alex did a great job of playing to the whistle,' Vaitis said. "He saw the puck was still loose, kind of pounced on it and was able to tuck it in."
The two teams played to a scoreless tie after one period until Jake Heckenberger scored for the Knights early in the second, off assists by Matt Stella and Peterson.
North Penn now gets ready for another matchup with Parkland.
"That'll be fun," Vaitis said. "They knocked us out of the Flyers Cup last year and we played them twice this year — we split with them. So it's gonna be a good game. They're a good team, well-coached team. They have some balance across the board, good defensemen back there, so it's gonna be a battle Friday night."
Flyers Cup First Round
North Penn 2, Downingtown East 1
Downingtown East 0 0 1 — 1
North Penn 0 1 1 — 2
NP-Jake Heckenberger (Matt Stella, Alex Peterson), 8:07
NP-Peterson (Stella, Heckenberger), 2:15
DE-Alex Rocco (Tom Tapper), 9:21
Shots: East 26; North Penn 29
Saves: Jeff Cummings (DE) 27; Jake Snyder (NP) 25
Follow Kev Hunter on Twitter @khunter10.