March 27, 1989

The scholastic ice hockey version of March Madness will begin tonight at 8 with the opening game of the Flyers Cup between William Tennent and Bishop Egan at the Face Off Circle in Warminster. Tennent, the Northern Scholastic Hockey League champion, and Egan, the Lower Bucks Hockey League champion, are two of the three teams in the Orange Division of the Flyers Cup. Central Bucks, the Suburban Hockey League champion, is the third team in that bracket. All Orange Division games will be played at the Face Off Circle beginning tonight with Tennent-Egan, continuing tomorrow with Tennent-Central Bucks, and ending on Wednesday with Central Bucks-Egan. The Black Division has Inter-County Hockey League champion Conestoga along with Eastern Hockey League champion Malvern Prep. The third team is Council Rock, from the Suburban Hockey League, which won a mini- series of league second-place finishers that included Monsignor Bonner (Eastern), Archbishop Ryan (Lower Bucks) and West Chester Henderson (Inter-County). All Black Division games will be played at the Havertown Skatium, beginning tonight. The tournament is a round-robin affair that I will send two of the three teams from each bracket to the Flyers Cup final rounds with all semifinal and championship games to be played at the Skatium. The Orange Division No. 1 team will meet the Black Division No. 2 team, and the Orange Division No. 2 team will meet the Black Division No. 1 team in the semifinals on April 3. The Flyers Cup title game will feature the winners of those semifinal games on April 10. “I would say that on paper that the Orange Division may be a little tougher,” said William Tennent head coach Joe Paul. “But the games are not played on paper, they are played on the ice. The team that gets the bounce of the puck, and the team that goes out and plays with emotion is the team that usually wins the big games. I hope we can be that team.” The biggest asset that the Panthers carry into the first round of the Flyers Cup is goalie Scott Shaw. “The key to winning in the playoffs usually comes down to goaltending,” Paul said. “And I have to feel that having a Scott Shaw in the nets has to give us an advantage over some of the other teams.” Tennent has not only a terrific goaltender in Shaw, but also offensive firepower in Lance LaTare, Mike Lang, Sean Murray, and Greg Lovern. “Tennent is a very good team, they have some goal scorers, and they are well-coached,” said Central Bucks head coach Andy Richards. “But the biggest thing about them is that they have the best goaltender around in Shaw. Their success may rest with how well he plays, and when we play them, we know it’s not going to be a high-scoring game.” The Central Bucks-William Tennent meeting will also showcase the premier defenseman in the area in Steve Richards. Richards is a blue-chip defensive player and is also the leading point scorer during the season for the Blazers. “No question that the key to stopping Central Bucks is stopping Richards,” Paul said. “They have some fine players in Tom Cole, Judah Siomos, and Mike Henke, but Richards is the one who usually beats you. We played them in a nonleague setting twice this year, and we haven’t beaten them yet. The last game they beat us, 5-4, and it was one of the best games I’ve ever seen.” Both the Panthers and the Blazers could advance to the Flyers Cup final round, regardless of the outcome of their game, if they beat Bishop Egan. Egan went unbeaten in the Lower Bucks League with a 15-0 record. The Eagles are an offensive-minded hockey club that features high-scoring center Mike DiSantis. But both Richards and Paul feel that the Achilles heel of the Eagles might be their goaltending. “Richie Burgess is one of the best goalies in the area, but he is no longer with Egan,” Paul said. “I’m not too sure why he quit the team, but it is a big loss for them. They have a good defenseman in Rich Hevener, but I don’t think they’re real strong defensively. “DiSantis, though, is something special,” Paul added. “He is a terrific offensive player who can almost beat you by himself. Egan will be a real test for us in the first game. Right now playing in the Flyers Cup is not really a goal for our hockey team; winning the Flyers Cup is our goal.” The survivors of the Orange Division will have to face quality competition from the Black Division. Early handicappers have both Council Rock and Malvern Prep a shade better than Conestoga to make the Flyers Cup final four from that bracket. “I’m not too sure that Council Rock, even though they are the wild-card team, isn’t the best team in the whole tournament,” Richards said. “I would love nothing better than to meet up with them in the Flyers Cup championship game. It would be great for the Suburban League, but both of us have to get there first. And to get there isn’t going to be easy.”

CREDIT: The Philadelphia Inquirer

By Scott Huff – Special to the inquirer