OT goal stops Indians’ dreams of Class A title
By Brett Ciancia, Correspondent, UnionvilleTimes.com
WEST CHESTER — This year’s single-A boy’s Flyers Cup Championship pitted #3 Unionville against #4 Springfield, the team that took out the Indians a year ago in last year’s playoffs. The packed house at West Chester’s IceLine was in for a classic back-and-forth battle on Friday night, as Unionville pursued its first Flyers Cup title since 1998.
Although Unionville controlled the first period in terms of possession and shots on goal, it was Springfield that started the scoring just a minute into the second period. Unionville continued to pressure Springfield goalie Mike Rice and eventually broke through to tie the game at one. It was Austin Rinck and Billy Donovan who set up Conor Donze for the tying goal with under two minutes left in the second period.
Heading into the third period tied at one, it was a matter of time until someone broke the tie. Despite being plagued with penalties, it was Unionville’s Zach Emerson who broke the tie with nine minutes left in the game. The lead was short-lived though because just three minutes later Springfield tied the game at 2.
In the most crucial time of the game, penalties again damaged the Indians offensive flow – the total power plays due to penalties were 7-0 in favor of Springfield. Unionville fought off a 3-5 player disadvantage, and then an additional power play that ran until just under a minute left in the game. Credit goes to the Unionville penalty-kill team and goalie Chris Sutera for keeping the Cougars out of the net in the last four minutes in the third period. Regulation ended in a 2-2 tie forcing a sudden-death overtime period.
Like most of the game, Unionville was on the offensive for the majority of overtime, firing shots at Springfield’s goalie. A few minutes in, Unionville scored and absolute chaos ensued, the Unionville bench cleared in celebration, and the student section was sent into bedlam. However, eventually people started to notice the faint whistles of the officials, the same whistles that ruined Unionville with penalties all game. They waved off the goal because of a ‘high-sticking’ penalty, even though no one recalls seeing a high stick. After the Unionville players gathered themselves, play resumed. Unionville had a few more scoring chances but couldn’t convert. With 3 minutes left, Springfield’s Billy McGugan stole the puck off of a faceoff and fired a shot that Sutera wasn’t ready for. It was deflected by another player and scored to win the game.
No team should have to experience the emotions of having a Flyers Cup Championship ripped away, and especially not this team. The 2010-2011 Unionville hockey team will be remembered for their teamwork, resiliency, Senior leadership, and how their playoff run caught the attention of the entire Unionville community.
In the girls’ championship game, Molly Topp’s goal midway through the second period was all Unionville’s girls’ hockey team needed to win its second straight Flyers Cup. Topp scored off an assist from Annabeth Donovan, as the Indians squeeked past Downingtown East to win their second cup in as many years.