Tennent Advances to Flyers Cup Final

William Tennent advanced to Wednesday’s Flyers Cup final against Downingtown East. CB West & CB South saw their seasons end. Photos provided courtesy of Dara N. King Photography...CLICK HERE to go directly to the ice hockey galleries.

By Ben Reese

HATFIELD -- Mason McKeever is a freshman who plays ice hockey for William Tennent.

That, in itself, isn't earthshaking.

However, taken into consideration that Mason McKeever scored the only goal through nearly the entire 51 minutes of the Panthers' Flyers Cup semifinal win over Central Bucks West, and it means a lot.

McKeever's goal and one scored by Bobby Markus on the power play with only 30 seconds remaining in the third period lifted Tennent into the Flyers Cup final on Wednesday night.

So, Mason, how did you do it?

"Sean Ovington slid it over," McKeever said. "I saw the top wide open so I backhanded it in."

Sounds rather simple, doesn't it? Well, McKeever's coach knows it isn't as simple as it sounds, especially for a freshman.

"It was kind of a broken play," Tennent coach Nick D'Aurizio said. "Broken plays are what win championships.

"We knew, in the first period, we had our chances, finding loose pucks, but we just didn't get to them at the right times. This one was a broken play, found its way into the slot.

"Mason got it on his stick and used the backhand. I don't think their goalie expected it to go upstairs but it did and he beat him. Goalies have a hard time picking up where a backhand is coming from. It's a hard shot to track. It was just a perfect shot."

But to get it from a freshman?

"For a freshman to show that kind of poise and to bury one like that, it's just phenomenal,” D’Aurizio said. “We've got him on the first line and a lot of kids would wilt under the pressure. He's shown no nervousness. He's calm and collected."

Obviously, the other question going into the game was how West would react after the unprovoked fighting that cost them two of their best defensemen, who were out with injuries.

To the untrained eye, it didn't look like it hurt the Bucks at all. But, when they finally got a power play, a situation where Brandon Savona and Shawn Phillipps excel, the spark wasn't there.

"I would be dishonest with you if I said we didn't wish we had them," said West coach Dave Baun. "But I don't think it made a difference to us losing that game.

"I thought William Tennent played really well. I thought they played clean and they were a credit to their school and a credit to our league. We missed Shawn and we missed Brandon. It didn't diminish the value of their (Tennent) win."

Miss them?

"Absolutely," said D'Aurizio. "Those two kids are great players.

"They're guys you have to game-plan around. When we play CB West, we know that their talent comes from their back end.

"We thought Philipps was actually playing tonight. We were game-planning for him.

"It's sad that they couldn't play. We wanted to face them at full strength so we can prove that we deserve to be here. It definitely affected their game."

The other key match-up came in goal. Tennent's Eric Lineman versus CB West's Jonah Brous. It was fun to watch.

Neither team could dent the net through the entire first period. Only McKeever's goal with 8:14 expired in the second and Markus' at 16:30 mark of the third marred an excellent duel.

"You knew this game wasn't going to be a shootout," D'Aurizio said. “With Eric Lineman and Jonah, the two best goalies in the league, going head-to-head. It was a goalies' duel and we knew it was going to be like that."

There was some sadness for the Panthers. Earlier in the day, Jim Bagdon, the president of the William Tennent hockey club and defenseman Blake Bagdon's father, passed away.

"If you had told me at the beginning of the year that we would be here after starting off 2-2, I would have laughed in your face," said D'Aurizio. "This ride has been unbelievable, with the added incentive of Jim Bagdon.

"This team is something special; I think we're just starting to realize how special. We're doing it for Jim."

The Panthers will face Downingtown East in Wednesday’s title game at Hatfield Ice (7 p.m.).

William Tennent 2, Central Bucks West 0
William Tennent                     0          1          1 – 2
Central Bucks West  0          0          0 – 0
First period: No scoring.
Second period: 1, Mason McKeever WT (Sean Ovington) 8:14.
Third period: 2, Bobby Markus WT (Ovington) 16:30 PP.
Shots: WT 36, CBW 24. Saves: Eric Lineman (WT) 24, Jonah Brous (CBW) 34.

Defense has been a point of pride to Ches-Mont regular season champion Downingtown East. The Cougars had not allowed more than three goals in any game this season, and goalie Jeff Cummings – who was between the pipes in Monday’s semifinal – boasted a goals-against average of 1.00 with a 0.953 save percentage, suggesting goals would be hard to come by for the Titans.
It turned out they were.
Neither team scored in an opening period that saw the Cougars hold an 8-6 advantage in shots. Eric Stankiewicz’s power play goal with assists from Collin Harple and Max McAllister 1:20 into the second period opened the floodgates. Justin Cohn turned an Alex Fox pass into a goal and a 2-0 lead, and when Harrison Layne scored in the closing minute of the period with assists from Stankiewicz and Alex Hill, the Cougars led 3-0.
East added to that lead in the third period with a pair of Luca Pisani goals – both with assists from Hill, the second shorthanded.
Cummings turned away all 18 shots he faced in a shutout effort in goal. South’s Kevin Dorozinsky recorded 28 saves.
Downingtown East will face William Tennent in Wednesday’s title game at Hatfield Ice (7 p.m.).
Downingtown East    0-3-2   5
Central Bucks South 0-0-0   0
Shots: DE 33, CBS 18.
Saves: Jeff Cummings (DE) 18, Kevin Dorozinsky (CBS) 28.
Period 1
No scoring
Period 2
DE: Eric Stankiewicz (power play) (Collin Harple, Max McAllister) 1:20
DE: Justin Cohn (Alex Fox) 5:54
DE: Harrison Layne (Eric Sankiewicz, Matt Hill) 16:02
Period 3
DE: Luca Pisani (Matt Hill) 3:20
DE Luca Pisani (shorthanded) (Matt Hill) 13:17