Germantown Academy’s Nate Smith, (undated file photo)

March 20, 2001


Dominic Gaspari was along for the ride two seasons ago when the Conwell-Egan ice hockey team claimed the Class AAA Flyers Cup and state championship. This year, after finishing fifth in the Lower Bucks County Scholastic League, the Eagles will compete at the less-prestigious Class A level. Nonetheless, Gaspari and his teammates are excited about the opportunity. “The season is over for most teams,” Gaspari said. “At least we’re still playing and have a chance to win a championship.” Conwell-Egan will meet Cinnaminson, of the South Jersey High School Hockey League, in the opening round of the Class A Flyers Cup tonight at 7:30 at the Grundy Recreation Center in Bristol Borough. Gaspari, a senior defenseman, helped the Eagles go 12-10-2 in the Lower Bucks league. The squad nipped Harry S Truman, 3-2, in a qualifying game for the Flyers Cup. “We have decent speed, we work hard, and we’re a pretty physical team,” Gaspari said. “I thought we could have done a little better in the regular season, but I’m satisfied with how we’ve played.” Conwell-Egan, coached by Steve Easley, outlasted fourth-place Holy Ghost Prep, 8-7, in double overtime in the first round of the Lower Bucks playoffs. The team lost to second-place Pennsbury, two games to one, in the best-of-three semifinals. After suffering a 4-3 loss to Pennsbury in the opener, the Eagles evened the hard-fought series with a 6-3 victory. They were edged, 3-2, in the deciding game. Senior center Mike LaTorre netted the game-winner for the Falcons with less than two minutes remaining in the third period. “It was a back-and-forth series,’ Gaspari said. “We just couldn’t hold our leads. We were ahead in the final game, but couldn’t hold on.” The 6-foot-1, 160-pound Gaspari also plays for the Bristol Blazers, a Midget A-level club team. “I’m pretty much a stay home defenseman,” he said. “I don’t do anything too fancy. I just try to execute the fundamentals the best I can.” Conwell Egan’s other regulars

on defense are senior Nick Caruso and sophomore Matt DeFranco. The squad’s leading scorers are seniors Mitch LaFleur, who totaled 26 goals and 18 assists in the regular season, and Mike Corsner (14 goals, 21 assists). Caruso chipped in 12 goals and 17 assists. Gaspari, who lives in Levittown, says he plans to play hockey in college. He is considering Delaware, West Chester, Millersville, and Shippensburg.

Ready to go. Germantown Academy, fresh off winning the Suburban High School Hockey League Liberty Division championship, will begin play in the Class AAA Flyers Cup tonight at 8:30 at the Face-Off Circle in Warminster. The Patriots, guided by first-year coach Gump Whiteside, will face the winner of last night’s matchup between Lower Bucks champion Archbishop Ryan and Eastern, the No. 2 seed from the South Jersey league. “The kids worked hard to get to this point,” Whiteside said. “Anything that happens now is gravy.” Germantown Academy is led by senior center Steve Ciottoni, junior winger Billy Ritter, freshman defenseman David Robertson, and sophomore goalie Luis Perez. The Patriots will not have the services of second-line center Nate Smith in the Flyers Cup. The team’s petition to have the fifth-year se- nior compete in the tournament was denied last week. Central Bucks West, which defeated North Penn in the Suburban Freedom playoff finals, faces Marple Newtown, the No. 2 seed from the Eastern High School Hockey League, in the first round of the Class AA Flyers Cup tonight at 6:45 at Face-Off. North Penn also qualified for the Class AA tournament. The Knights play Haverford High, the top seed from the Eastern League, tonight at 7:30 at Iceworks in Aston.

By Rick O’Brien
Philadelphia Inquirer Correspondent