March 31, 1985
The opening round of the 1986 Flyers Cup has been completed, and, not surprisingly, Conestoga swept through the two game round without a loss. What was a little surprising was the ease with which the Pioneer skaters disposed of their opponents The six teams in the tournament were divided into two divisions. The Black Division included the champions of the three high school leagues in the northern part of the Delaware Valley: Archbishop Wood from the Northern Scholastic Hockey League, Pennsbury from the Lower Bucks County Scholastic Hockey League, and Cheltenham from the Suburban High School Hockey League. Conestoga was bracketed in the Orange Division along with the other southern champs, Malvern Prep from the Eastern High School Hockey League, and William Penn from the New Castle County (Del.) Scholastic Hockey League.
Last Monday night, the Conestoga boys faced what was expected to be their stiffest test of the season, a showdown with their Chester County rivals, the Friars of Malvern Prep. The Malvern skaters entered the game with a 17-2-1 record and optimistic hopes of knocking off the undefeated (24-0-0) ICSHL champs But Conestoga won, 6-2. The Friars outshot Conestoga, 12-9, In the first period, but that statistic was deceptive. The Conestoga boys-controlled play most of the period and were in front 20 on a pair of goals by David Smink. The first Smink tally was a power-play goal on assists by Bill Railton and Chris Cummings, Railton and Tom Kegel combined for the assists on the second, which came with the teams at even strength. Malvern Prep’s team appeared to come alive in the middle period and a Tom Scarpato-assisted goal by Chic Kelly allowed the Friars to cut Conestoga’s lead in half. Just when it seemed that the Friars were going take control, Conestoga’s Dave Smink knocked the wind out of them with a beautiful unassisted break-away goal. Conestoga led 3-1 when the final period began, and then went on to score three unanswered goals to put the game out of reach. Conestoga’s last three goal-scorers were Dave Smink, Chip Graham and John Parisi. Malvern’s Andy Imhof capped the game’s scoring with a goal in the closing minutes. “Everybody worked hard tonight, and that was important,” remarked. Conestoga coach Taylor Railton after the win. “We got outstanding performances from our forwards, and our goalie Scot McComas had another excellent game.”
On Tuesday night, Malvern Prep got back on the right track by posting a relatively easy win over William Penn High School. The Friars cruised past the Colonials, 11-3, despite leading by only one goal with less than a minute left in the opening period. Malvern held a 12-5 shots-on-goal advantage after the first period, then improved on it in each of the next two (16-6 in the second; 17-6 in the third). The Friars outscored their Delaware opponents 6-1 in the middle period and 3-1 in the third. Malvern’s leading point-getter in the game was Chic Kelly, who scored two of the team’s first three goals and then followed with three assists for five points. Two Friars registered hat tricks: Matt Acerba with three goals and one assist, and Andy Imhof with three goals. Rob Christy also had a big night with three assists. The following night, Wednesday, the William Penn team went from the frying pan to the fire. Conestoga pummeled the Colonials 15-2, and the game was not nearly as close as the score might indicate. The game was only competitive for the first 4 minutes, at which point it was still a 1-1 tie. With 4:43 gone in the first period, Conestoga’s Chip Graham scored what was to be the first of 14 straight goals by the Conestoga skaters. In the first period, Conestoga outshot William Penn 15-4 and scored five times. In the second period, Conestoga’s attackers launched 17 shots on goal and 10 of them found their way past William Penn goalie David Shane. Conestoga’s first line of David Smink, Chris Cummings and Bill Railton combined for an amazing total of 18 points in the game. Smink had two goals and five assists, Cummings two goals and three assists, and Railton a hat trick with three goals and three assists. Defenseman Chip Graham also had a big night offensively with a pair of goals and a pair of assists. Other Conestoga goal scorers were Don McEwan, Geordie Shaw, John Parisi, Marc Daly, Gregg Sparks and Steve Reid. “I told all my players not to take any shots in the third period,” said Conestoga coach Taylor Railton, after the blowout. “I wanted them to practice just moving the puck around. We were hoping for a more competitive game, because it’s tough telling kids not to score. I just hope we can keep going. Our kids just have to remember that they have to play them one at a time.”
Conestoga’s semifinal round game is slated for tonight at the Skatium against Pennsbury, with faceoff scheduled for 7:30. On Wednesday evening at the same time, same location, Malvern Prep will face Archbishop Wood in the other semifinal game. The championship game will be played Thursday night at the Skatium at 7:30.
CREDIT: The Philadelphia Inquirer
Denny Dyroff – Special to the Inquirer