Neshaminy Silences CB East in SHSHL Battle

Neshaminy defeated CB East 3-0 in SHSHL action Friday. Ben Reese recaps all the action. Photo courtesy of Tracy Valko:

By Ben Reese

WARMINSTER — The push for the playoffs in the Suburban High School Hockey League has started and both Neshaminy and Central Bucks East are battling for one of the six available spots.

When the two teams matched up on Friday night at Bucks Ice Sport, you knew one of them was going to get a leg up in the race for a playoff slot.

That team turned out to be Neshaminy, which rode the hot hand of goalie Cory Hemberger and some balanced scoring to a 3-0 victory.

Entering the game, the teams were tied for the sixth playoff position with seven points. Now, the ‘Skins have grabbed the lead with the victory.

“We knew they were going to be a good team,” Neshaminy coach Matt DeMatteo said. “They’re a hard-working bunch and they won’t go away.

“For us, it’s nice to get a 3-0 win out of it and come out on top. We’re battling just like everybody else.

“This year is a little different from others where teams are moving around, Teams are beating other teams. Some teams are dropping games you wouldn’t think they would drop.

“Every game is important. Every period is important. That’s our focus, one game at a time.”

His counterpart, behind the other bench, CB East coach Jeff Mitchell, wasn’t pleased with his team’s effort.

“They’re a great team,” Mitchell said. “We really didn’t take care of business.

“We were getting a lot of chances in the first two periods. We were keeping up with them on shots for the most part until the third period started. They got the better of us tonight.”

The key to the victory for Neshaminy was the play of its goalie, Hemberger. He tossed the shutout and kicked aside 23 shots.

“He’s a really good goalie,” said Neshaminy captain Nolan Geria. “He’s solid for us between the pipes.”

His coach couldn’t agree more.

“He’s super solid back there,” DeMatteo said. “He bails us out when he needs to.

“He made a couple big saves down the stretch there for us. He’s been really good for us all year long.”

Mitchell added his praise for the opposing goalie.

“We put up 23 shots and not one slipped through,” he said. “He did a pretty good job on the other end of the ice tonight.”

Then there was the balanced scoring for the ‘Skins. Geria had a pair of goals for the winners and Max Gallagher had the other one.

But it was in the assist category that the balance came through. With Geria and Gallagher taking care of putting the puck in the net, Daniel McColgan had two assists and AJ Dougherty and Gallagher had one each.

“A lot of us know how to score,” said Geria. “We just have to get to the net, put it on net.”

The Redskins took a 2-0 lead in the first period. Gallagher turned a Dougherty pass into a goal 5:39 into the contest, and late in the period, Geria scored with an assist from McColgan.
That 2-0 lead stood until midway through the third period when Geria scored, again using a McColgan assist.

Mitchell said that mistakes were his team’s undoing. They made too many and didn’t take advantage of Neshaminy’s mistakes.

“We had a 5-3 (power play) early in the game,” he said. “We just basically didn’t do anything with it.

“We were in the game, but we weren’t taking advantage of anything. We were kind of sitting back and waiting for them to make a mistake.

“They’re a good team and they’re not making too many mistakes. They capitalized on two mistakes we made early, they kept the lead and made us pay for it.”

East’s Matt Mangiacapre had a busy night in goal, turning away 45 of 48 shots in a standout effort of his own.

Neshaminy 3, CB East 0
Neshaminy        2          0          1 — 3
CB East            0          0          0 — 0
First period: 1, Max Gallagher N (AJ Dougherty) 5:29; 2, Nolan Geria N (Gallagher, Daniel McColgan) 14:57.
Second period: No scoring.
Third period: 3, Geria N (McColgan) 7:07.
Shots: N 48, CBE 23. Saves: Cory Hemberger (N) 23, Matt Mangiacapre (CBE) 45.