Referee Steve Miller has to separate Conestoga’s Rob Strawley and Tennent’s Lance LaTare during a fight in the Flyers Cup final

April 11, 1989

William Tennent goaltender Scott Shaw said he had butterflies before the Flyers Cup Championship final against Conestoga on Monday night. What he didn’t know was that the Pioneers had their own butterflies, knowing that if they couldn’t find a way to beat the Panthers’ goalie, their chances of winning were slim. In the end, Shaw must have resembled a butterfly net. Very little escaped him as he turned away 40 shots and helped his team to a 3-1 win for Tennent’s first Flyers Cup title. Shaw, the tournament’s most valuable player, was both brilliant and infallible in front of Conestoga’s steady onslaught of shots and the 693 fans who witnessed the game at the Skatium. “I played like I knew I could, and after the Central Bucks game I knew there was nowhere to go but up,” he said, referring to an opening round loss in which he gave up 8 goals. While the Tennent goalie was busy stopping shots, his teammates were working to gain an advantage with their tenacious, scrappy style of play. Tennent got the edge it was looking for when it managed a goal just 7 seconds into the power play after Pioneers captain Doug Smink was whistled off for a tripping penalty 5 minutes into the contest. Conestoga tried to clear the puck from its corner, but Panthers defenseman Sean Murry stopped it. Murry’s slapshot from the right point deflected off Conestoga goalie John White’s waffle, but the rebound rolled in off the shoulder of Tennent’s Paul Gregg, camped in front, for a 1-0 lead. The Pioneers struck back 31 seconds into the second period, capitalizing on a power play carried over from the previous period. Shaw came up with a rapid pair of saves off the close shots of Smink and Christian Rigamonti, but Mike Oh caught the next rebound on the left side of the crease to stuff it in and tie the game at 1-1. But Conestoga surfaced from trouble only briefly. Within 2 minutes of knotting the score, the Panthers again took a lead, this time when the puck squirted from behind Conestoga’s goal into the high slot. Murry raced in from the left point and got off a low shot that beat White to his stick side, making it 2-1. The Pioneers picked up their attack, but Shaw turned back every effort. It was a frustrating period for Conestoga, as it fired 16 shots on Shaw but came up with just 1 goal. Defensively it had held Tennent to just nine shots in two periods and allowed two goals. For winning coach Joe Paul, things were going as planned. “We let them have the outside shot, because if there’s a guy like Shaw in net and he can see the puck, he’ll stop it,” said Paul, whose team is 23-1-1. More of the same was in order for Conestoga in the final period, as it outshot Tennent, 12-4, but couldn’t put the puck in the net. The game was marred midway through when Murry caught Smink in back of the head with a high stick, sending the Pioneers forward to the ice. While Smink was being attended to, three separate fights broke out between Tennent and Conestoga players. With order finally restored, the teams played out the final 8 minutes with Conestoga pressing and Tennent just holding on. The final goal came after White was pulled from net with 42 seconds remaining and the Panthers’ Paul Gregg skated in alone for the insurance goal. “One thing, anyone who comes to watch us gets his money’s worth,” said Conestoga coach Taylor Railton, coaching his last game before handing the reins over to assistant coach Jim Shute. This year’s team finished 21-2-1. For Tennent, the Panthers will now face Meadville in the Class AAA State Championship on Saturday at 5 p.m at the Skatium. In the American Division final of the Inter-County League’s President’s Cup Tournament at the General Washington Rink, Downingtown ousted Archbishop Carroll, 7-6, to success fully defend its title. After falling behind, 5-1, in the second period, Carroll (10-7-1) came back to tie the game at 6-6 in the final period, before Scott Torrance. got the game-winner for Downingtown (11-6-1) with 11 seconds remaining. For Carroll, Jason Humm had 2 goals and 4 assists. Other scorers included Tom Handzus with 2 goals, and Glenn McClelland and David Moore with one each.

CREDIT: The Philadelphia Inquirer

By David T. Shaw – Special to the Inquirer