Entering Wednesday night's Flyers Cup Class A quarterfinals game against West Chester Rustin, Upper Moreland had already advanced further than it ever had. Unfortunately for the Golden Bears, its postseason run came to an end as the second-seeded Knights jumped all over the seventh-seeded Bears to advance by a score of 8-2.
"Unfortunately the game that you don't want to fall flat in, with everybody here, happens to be the second round of the Flyers Cup,' Upper Moreland coach Michael Angelo said.
Upper Moreland took the play to Rustin early in the game, controlling the puck in the Rustin zone for most of the first half of the first period, but for the Bears this did not result in getting on the board first.
The Knights took a 4-1 lead after the first period and with their great speed made it tough for the Bears to get back in the game. Upper Moreland, however, countered the Rustin speed with physical play as the Bears laid fierce hit after fierce hit that limited Rustin to only one second period goal.
"We tried to do that, it was very chippy out there,' Angelo said of his team's physical play. "As the other coach said, they swallowed the whistles the entire game.'
While Upper Moreland started to figure out how to slow down the Rustin attack, it could not figure out how to crack the Knights' defense as they constantly were funneled to the boards by Rustin defensemen. Rustin allowed only two shots on goal through the first two periods and held the Bears to a 1-for-8 night on the power play including two abbreviated five on three power plays in the third period.
"I don't know if they did a scouting report or what,' Angelo said. "They knew what players to attack. They knew which players to defend against, I don't know if they scouted us or not, but they did one hell of a job.'
It's not too often that a goalie can allow eight goals and have a good showing, but Upper Moreland goalie Patrick Biessel made 29 saves, several of them outstanding, particularly in the second period. There might have been a goal or two Biessel would like back, but through the final two periods he was solid.
"Patrick stopped a lot of shots, I think he had one bad goal that was from the blue line out, I think he wants it back,' Angelo said. "He played with so much heart, he really played well.'
As the season comes to an end for the Bears, the loss stings but in a season that ended with a good Flyers Cup run, they have a lot to look forward to next season.
"We'll use this as a learning experience, growing pains so to be it,' Angelo said. "We'll use this to step further next time.'