Conestoga’s Lutz ties up a Malvern player in Flyers Cup play

March 30, 1987

The Main Line may see a final round shootout in the Flyers Cup scholastic ice hockey championship between Conestoga and Malvern Prep as both teams advanced into the semifinal round last week with wins over Bishop Egan. The two teams won the Orange Division of the round-robin playoff for a berth in the semifinals against the Black Division victors. Conestoga will face Central Bucks East tonight at 7:30 at the Skatium, and Malvern will skate against William Tennent tomorrow night. The winners of the two games will play for the championship Thursday at the Skatium. In what may could be a preview of the championship game, Conestoga upended Malvern last Monday by a score of 4-2, handing the Friars their first loss of the season after compiling a 21-0 record. “It may have been an upset to some people, but I wouldn’t call it an upset,” Friars coach Tom Egan said. “We should have played better and beat them, but Conestoga was the first well put together team we played all year, and they’re a damn good team.” Any fears the Pioneers may have had going into the game were soon allayed when Don McEwan scored after just 56 seconds into the game, with an assist credited to Al Lutz. “That early goal helped us a lot,” Isaid Pioneers coach Taylor Railton. “The kids had heard how Malvern was almost invincible, and it helped break the ice for us.” The two teams played scoreless early into the second period before the Friars Steve Kinsley scored a short-handed goal on a breakaway to knot the game, 1-1. The Pioneers capitalized on their next power play to regain the lead, however, when Ross Cowan scored with an assist from Doug Smink, making the score 2-1. The final period saw Conestoga push its lead to 2 goals when Smink scored an unassisted power-play goal. But the Friars came back with another short handed goal, this one from Matt Lannen on a breakaway, to make it a 3-2 game. Conestoga clung to the lead through the rest of the period, forcing Malvern to pull goaltender Mike Longo in the final minute. The result of the effort was an empty net goal by Cowan with 5 seconds remaining. The game ended at 4-2 and capped a big win for the Pioneers. “These kids are overachievers,” Railton said. “It was a big game for them, and they had a little bit of a reason to go after them with their undefeated record.” Railton commended the goaltending of sophomore Scott Graham, credited with 24 saves in the contest. “He’s done all right for us,” Railton said. “Experience means a lot in these games, and he’s only been playing goal for three years. But he’s a feisty kid and gets into it; once over the nervousness, he’s all right.” On Tuesday, Malvern reversed its role by going after undefeated Bishop Egan (17-0-1), winner of the Lower Bucks County Scholastic Hockey League. Egan took a 1-0 lead in the second period with a power-play goal by Marty Mooney and held Malvern to just 15 shots throughout the first two periods. The Friars came to life midway through the final period, however, by scoring three times on goaltender Rich Burgess within 2 minutes to take a 3-1 lead. Steve Kinsley scored first for the Friars on a pass from Ron Christy, and 1 minute later Christy set up Chic Kelly for the second goal. Kinsley capped the three-goal barrage 49 seconds later with a score assisted by Al Tedesco. Egan came back to score with just over 3 minutes remaining in the contest, but the Friars held on for the 3-2 win and a spot in the semifinals. On Wednesday night, the Eagles were faced with playing a high-strung Conestoga team and found themselves unable to rebound from the Malvern defeat. The Pioneers took a 2-0 lead in the opening period with goals by John Parisi and Doug Smink before the Eagles narrowed the margin to 2-1 with a goal by Scott McCabe. The second period saw Conestoga duplicate its first-period efforts with goals by Parisi and Don McEwan and take a 4-2 lead into the final period. Three third period power play goals by the Pioneers broke Egan’s hopes for any chance of a comeback, as Conestoga finished with an easy 7-2 win to advance into the semifinal and eliminate Egan from further Flyers Cup play. “We got progressively better as the game went on,” Railton said. “The fourth goal was the key, and it really helped us. They took those penalties late in the game that helped us score the three goals.” Though Conestoga and Malvern must win to get to the finals of the Flyers Cup, neither coach is overlooking a possible rematch between the two teams in a championship game. “We’re hanging in there,” Railton said, noting that it would be nice for the Pioneers to take the Cup for a second straight year. “We don’t care who we play, we just want to keep winning.” “We’d be happy to get back to a Malvern-Conestoga shootout in the finals,” said Egan. “I think it would bring the two best teams back together.”

CREDIT: The Philadelphia Inquirer

By David T. Shaw