File photo, William Tennent’s Mike Lang scores a goal during regular season play

April 10, 1989

The written word was about to become an unwanted addition to William Tennent head coach Joe Paul’s diet as the Panthers met touted Malvern Prep in the Flyers Cup semifinal game Monday at the Skatium in Havertown. “From the very beginning of the season, I was saying that we weren’t going to be happy just being in the Flyers Cup, we wanted to win the Flyers Cup,” Paul said, “but when Malvern went ahead, 2-0, early in the game, I thought I was going to have to eat my words.” Fortunately for Paul and the Panthers, Tennent (20-1-1), the Northern Scholastic League champions, kept the coach on a no-letter diet by rallying to defeat the Eastern League champion Friars, 5-3, to advance to the Flyers Cup championship game. The title game will be played tonight against the surprising Conestoga Pioneers (22-1-1) at the Skatium with a 7:45 p.m. faceoff. Conestoga, the Inter-County League champion, upset Central Bucks, the Suburban Hockey League champion, 4-3, in overtime Tuesday at the Skatium. “For us to get 20 wins in a season, and for us to get to the final four in the Flyers Cup is quite an accomplishment,” said Central Bucks head coach Andy Richards. “Sure we are disappointed about losing the way we did, but there have been many positive things to think about this season. We just didn’t have it against Conestoga, and it was a tough thing for the kids to handle at the moment.” Coach Paul may have avoided the word “sandwich,” and Coach Richards may have wished that his talented defenseman, his son Steve Richards, and top defenseman Judah Siomos, also would not have eaten anything the day of the game. “Both Steve and Judah played with severe stomach cramps and did not play anywhere near the top of their game,” said Richards. “They didn’t have the flu, so they figured it was something they ate earlier. We had our chances to win without them playing well but give Conestoga credit: They are a fine team, and they beat us. “If I were a betting man, though, I would have to go with Tennent in the championship game,” Richards said. “They have Scott Shaw in goal, and anytime you have the best high school goalie in the area on your team, you would have to be considered the favorite. My prediction for the game would be something like 4-2 with Tennent winning.” Tennent, a clear underdog as the No. 2 seed from the Orange Division, may have played its best game of the season to get to the title game in the victory over Malvern, the No. 1 seed from the Black Division. “Every player on the team gave 100 percent,” said Paul. “It was a beautiful thing to watch. Our execution was super, and we played with a tremendous amount of discipline. Malvern is an extremely talented team, and I really think they might have a better team, talent-wise, than we do. But we played the style of game we had to play to beat them, and Scott Shaw was outstanding in goal.” Malvern, which went into the game averaging more than 10 goals per game this season, scored 2 goals in the first 4 minutes to take a 2-0 lead. Derek Amoroso, a blue-chip offensive player with glittering junior hockey credentials, scored the first goal of the game in the first minute. Ryan Mulhern, another Friars offensive standout, assisted on the Amoroso goal and added a goal 3 minutes later on an assist from Amoroso. “The first few minutes were a nightmare,” said Paul. “We knew what we had to do to win the game and giving them two early goals wasn’t in the game plan. But give my kids credit, we didn’t buckle under, and we played great hockey the rest of the game.” Tennent scrambled back on the power play to tie the score by the close of the first period. Paul Gregg and Lance LaTare both scored for the Panthers as Tennent made the most of just 9 shots on goal. “We were outshot in the game, 47-21,” said Paul, “but I thought we took more quality shots. Still, Scott had to play an outstanding second period for us to take the lead.” Shaw faced 20 Friars shots in the second period and turned them all away. Mark Hewitt’s rebound goal midway through the period gave Tennent a 3-2 lead going into the final period. “We did not want to get into a shoot-em-up game with them,” said Paul. “We wanted to play sound defensive hockey and, when the breaks came offensively, to take advantage of them.” Amoroso scored on the power play early in the third period to tie the score at 3-3, but Tennent controlled the game thereafter to earn its way to the title game. Dana Christ scored the go-ahead goal at the 5:31 mark, and Mike Lang scored an unassisted goal at 10:51 to ice the win. Central Bucks, in its loss, held a 2-0 lead after the first two periods. The Blazers received single goals from Tom Cole and Steve Richards and received fine goaltending from Scott Blore. The Pioneers rallied, however, to take a 3-2 lead on the strength of two power-play goals in the third period. In the last moments of the game the Blazers’ Skip Miller forced the game. into overtime with a goal. “We outshot them 5-2 in the over- time, but they put the puck in the net,” said Richards. “I would have loved to play William Tennent in the finals. We beat them 3 times in non-league games, it would have been great to see if we could have beat them with something on the line. But it didn’t work out, and all I can do is wish them luck.”

CREDIT: The Philadelphia Inquirer

By Scott Huff – Special to the Inquirer