April 4, 2000

The 1999-2000 ice hockey campaign came to a close last weekend, when Pennsbury fell to Serra Catholic, 4-1, in the state Class A title game at the Mellon Arena in Pittsburgh. That said, it is time to hand out the awards and recap the highlights and lowlights from a season that started way back in September.

Coach of the Year. Holy Ghost Prep’s Brian Tibbels is The Inquirer’s ice hockey coach of the year for Bucks and Montgomery Counties. Turning a perennial doormat into a league contender, Tibbels guided the Firebirds to a 16-7-1 mark and third place in the Lower Bucks County Scholastic Hockey League. They finished only a point behind defending league champion Conwell-Egan. Tibbels, who doubles as the Lower Bucks league commissioner, took over Holy Ghost’s struggling program in 1997-98. After a first-year league record of 4-17-3, the Firebirds improved to 13-8-3 last season and reached the final of the Class AA Flyers Cup before losing to La Salle II, 3-0. This season, Holy Ghost handed Class AAA Flyers Cup champion Father Judge its only regular-season league setback. The squad again qualified for the Class AA Flyers Cup, losing to William Tennent, 3-2, in the first round.

Team of the year. La Salle appeared unbeatable in the playoffs, first breezing through the Inter-County Scholastic Hockey League AAA Division’s qualifying tournament and then winning its first three games of the Class AAA Flyers Cup by a combined score of 21-5. The impressive postseason drive was finally halted by Judge in the Flyers Cup final. The Crusaders twice rallied from two-goal deficits to beat the Explorers, 5-4, in overtime at the First Union Spectrum. The Explorers went 33-15-3 overall this season. They avenged two regular-season losses to Inter-County league nemesis Malvern Prep, beating the Friars, 5-2, in the Flyers Cup semifinals.

Steve Urglavitch

Turmoil of the year. Conwell-Egan first-year coach Steve Urglavitch, citing ongoing verbal abuse from some parents associated with the program and a lack of commitment from some team members, re-signed eight days before the Eagles were to begin defense of their Class AAA Flyers Cup. The Eagles weren’t able to answer the bell in the Flyers Cup. With interim coach Steve Easley behind the bench, they bowed to Washington Township (N.J.), 9-6, in first-round action.

Ryan Tocicki, Holy Ghost Prep

Scorer of the year. Holy Ghost Prep’s Ryan Tocicki, a senior center, accounted for 71 points, with 50 goals and 21 assists, in 21 regular-season games. The Lower Bucks league scoring champion totaled 76 goals and 57 assists in regular-season play over the last two seasons.

Most improved player. Pennsbury junior center Mike LaTorre, who had 14 goals and 15 assists in the regular season, played a key role in the Falcons’ first Class A Flyers Cup title since 1993.

Ryan Ciolli

Best stretch of the year. La Salle senior Ryan Ciolli played splendidly in the playoffs. Named the MVP of the Class AAA Flyers Cup tournament, he provided nine goals in four games. The second-line winger notched three of the Explorers’ four goals in the championship- game loss to Judge.

Best single-game performance 1. Harry S Truman senior center Mickey Klemp posted a team-record eight goals in a 9-3 win over Bensalem in February.

John Zdunkiewicz

Best single-game performance 2. Junior goalie John Zdunkiewicz, the MVP of the Class A Flyers Cup, stopped 27 shots as Pennsbury nipped Strath Haven, 3-2, in the final. The Falcons won despite registering only 14 shots on goal.

Best line. La Salle’s Pete Naticchione, Mike Loftus, and Brett Urban made up the area’s most explosive forward line. The three seniors combined for 32 goals and 37 assists in 16 regular-season games. Runner-up: Methacton, which had three capable scorers in juniors Kevin Unruh and Mike Prendergast and sophomore Brian Burgoon. Winger Unruh (25 goals, 18 assists) and center Prendergast (16, 27) each netted 43 points in regular-season play; Burgoon, a winger, tallied 27 goals and 23 assists for 50 points, the fourth-best total in the league.

Nick D’Agostino

Smallest player of the year. Five-foot-6, 130-pound Nick D’Agostino, Lansdale Catholic’s senior center, finished the regular season with 31 goals and 23 assists. Among Inter-County A-North Division players, only junior teammate Justin Bardsley (32 goals, 34 assists) managed more points.

All-Area Team


Forward: Steve Ciottoni, Germantown Academy. The junior center, a quality playmaker, was the Patriots’ leading scorer. He sparked them to their sixth straight Suburban High School Hockey League regular-season championship and their second playoff title in the last three seasons. The 6-foot 165-pounder totaled a league-high 56 points on 27 goals and 29 assists in the regular season.

Forward: Pete Naticchione, La Salle. A repeat first-team selection, the senior left winger produced 108 points 64 goals and 44 assists to spearhead La Salle’s explosive offense. The 5-7 170-pounder arguably had the quickest release on his shot of any of the season’s top performers. Led by Naticchione, the Explorers came within one win of claiming their third Flyers Cup title in five years.

Forward: Brian Tetley, Conwell-Egan. While Conwell-Egan was a team in turmoil for much of this season, Tetley was his steady self. The 5-10, 170-pound senior notched 35 goals and 21 assists in 21 regular-season games. He was used at center and on defense. Versatile and skilled, he says he is thinking of playing in the United States Junior Hockey League after graduation.

Defense: Pat Higgins, La Salle. The 6-4, 205-pound senior defenseman was one of the area’s hardest hitters and usually made good decisions when handling the puck. A former forward, he posted 16 goals and 14 assists. He was the anchor of La Salle’s defense, which yielded only five goals in the team’s first three Flyers Cup games.

Defense: Anthony Seravalli, Germantown Academy. The senior’s heady play on defense helped the Patriots beat archrival Council Rock in the Suburban championship series and reach the semifinals of the Class AAA Flyers Cup. A four-year varsity performer, the 6-1 170-pounder showed strength and skill in digging the puck out of the corners.

Goaltender: Mark Wilkins, Neshaminy. With a quick glove hand and a knack for cutting down scoring angles, the senior goalie kept games close that otherwise would have been routs. On Jan. 17 against second-place Conwell-Egan, the 5-10 155-pounder stopped 34 shots to help the Redskins gain a 3-3 tie. He was the starting goalie for the Lower Bucks County Scholastic Hockey League squad that topped the Suburban team, 5-3, in a Feb. 2 all-star game.


Forward: Jon Bada, Conwell-Egan, senior
Forward: Ryan Tocicki, Holy Ghost Prep, senior
Forward: Nate Smith, Germantown Academy, junior
Defense: Dave Ciarrocchi, Council Rock, senior
Defense: Brandon Levy, Abington, senior
Goaltender: Dan Angeline, Germantown Academy, senior


Forward: Chris Heverly, Council Rock, senior
Forward: Kevin Underwood, Abington, junior
Forward: Ryan Ciolli, La Salle, senior winger
Defense: Adam Wellington, Pennsbury, senior
Defense: Dan Andrzejewski, Archbishop Wood, senior
Goaltender: Nick Cordisco, Pennridge, senior

Athlete of the Week…

April 5, 2000

John Zdunkiewicz
Pennsbury ice hockey What he has done

The 5-foot-10 junior goalie led the Falcons to the Flyers Cup Division A championship, making 27 saves in a 3-2 win over Strath Haven on March 28. He was named the tournament’s most valuable player. Pennsbury lost, 4-1, Saturday to Serra Catholic at Mellon Arena in Pittsburgh in the Pennsylvania Cup Class A final, but Zdunkiewicz kept the game close by making 33 saves. A 17-year-old from Levittown, he shared time in goal in his first two seasons and became the regular starter this year. Armed with a good glove hand and strong technique, Zdunkiewicz led the Falcons to a 14-12-3 record, posting two shutouts.
Best high school moment
Winning the Flyers Cup.
Favorite athlete
Colorado Avalanche goalie Patrick Roy
Favorite movie
The Matrix
“In the next few years…”
“I would like to go to a nice college.”
“Ten years from now…”
“I would like to have a family and a nice, steady job.”
What his coach says
“John won the Flyers Cup for us. He kept us in that game with Strath Haven. They really came at us in the third period, and he held them off. He did that kind of thing for us all season.” -John Bria

By Rick O’Brien
The Philadelphia Inquirer