March 27, 2001


Once the doormat of the Suburban High School Hockey League, Central Bucks West is one victory away from claiming a Flyers Cup championship. In the 1996-97 campaign, as an expansion squad the Bucks went 0-17-2 and placed last in the five-team Suburban National Division. They posted a 3-17-1 mark the next season. Real progress was first shown last year when C.B. West posted an 8-10-3 mark and placed second in the National Division. This season, when the league switched to a three-division format, the team went 12-8-3 and finished atop the four-team Freedom Division. Tomorrow night this former cellar dweller will play Archbishop Carroll for the Class AA Flyers Cup title. The game is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at Grundy Recreational Center in Bristol Borough. The winner will advance to the state championship game. The Bucks went 4-1 in the Suburban League playoffs, beating division rivals William Tennent and North Penn. They are 2-0 in Flyers Cup action. “The team keeps rising to the occasion,” said John Curley, West’s fourth-year coach. Senior Mike Gresko and sophomore John Curley, the coach’s son, notched two goals apiece as the Bucks upset Father Judge, 5-4, in the semifinals Thursday at the Face-Off Circle in Warminster. The Crusaders, who placed third in the Lower Bucks County Scholastic Hockey League, claimed the Class AAA Flyers Cup championship last season. The Bucks routed Marple New- town, the No. 2 seed from the Eastern High School League, 8-1, in the opening round. “We were on the power play for most of the first period,” Curley, the coach, said. “They took a lot of stupid penalties.” West will have to be at its defensive best against Carroll. The Inter-County Scholastic Hockey League Division AA champion averaged nearly six goals per game in the regular season. Carroll’s leading scorer is senior David Moccia, who scored 25 goals and had 29 assists in Inter-County play. Juniors Ta Ung (20 goals, 18 assists) and Stefano Tecce (14 goals, 21 assists) are also scoring threats for the Patriots. The offensive leaders for the Bucks are Gresko, junior center Lou Hoey, and senior winger Max Linn. Linn had the game-winning goal against Judge. Gresko, a winger and assistant captain, did not play for West last year. He opted to compete only for his club team. “He let me know last spring that he wanted to play this year,” the coach said. “We’re always looking for good players.” Carroll defeated North Penn, 2-1, to reach the final.

Banner season. Abington’s postseason run came to an end in the semi-finals of the Class AAA Flyers Cup. The team bowed to Lower Bucks champion Archbishop Ryan, 2-1, in overtime Thursday at Face-Off. “I thought it was a great game,” said Kevin Underwood, a senior winger for the Ghosts. “It was a clean game, no trash-talking. Everybody had only one thing on their minds winning the game.” Ryan sophomore Kevin Switek netted the game-winner with 1 minute, 39 seconds remaining in the first overtime. He pounced on a loose puck in front of the net and slipped it past senior goalie Evan Schaffer. “The locker room was silent afterward,” Underwood said. “We couldn’t believe that’s how the game ended. It wasn’t the prettiest goal I’ve ever seen.” Abington, led by Underwood and senior winger Andrew Weinstein, went 16-3-3 and won the Suburban Liberty regular-season title. The Ghosts were swept by third-place Germantown Academy in the play-off finals. Underwood recorded four goals in an 8-5 win over Washington Township (N.J.) in the second round of the Flyers Cup. He will play collegiate hockey at West Chester University.

Notes. Sophomore winger Ryan Gunderson led Holy Ghost Prep in scoring this season, recording 11 goals and 24 assists in Lower Bucks action. Freshman center Paul Worthington chipped in 16 goals and 17 assists for the Firebirds…. Junior center Scott Roberts (10 goals, 24 assists) was Bensalem’s top scorer…. Senior center Mitch LaFleur paced Conwell-Egan with 26 goals and 18 assists. Mike LaTorre, a senior center, scored 19 goals and had 11 assists…. Harry S Truman, who went 5-83-7 over the last four seasons, posted an 8-14-2 mark this season and placed sixth in the Lower Bucks standings. The Tigers were led in scoring by junior defenseman Sal Punturiero (14 goals, 13 assists)…. Bishop McDevitt senior defenseman/forward Bill Cleary (19 goals, 22 assists) finished as the top scorer in the Inter-County A-East Division. … Methacton junior winger Brian Burgoon (32 goals, 24 assists) was the third-leading scorer in the Inter-County A-North Division.

By Rick O’Brien
Philadelphia Inquirer Correspondent