March 24, 2006


Three champions will be crowned tonight and tomorrow as the 27th annual Flyers Cup championship tournament comes to its grand finale. “We have had good crowds, good competitive action, and it’s been a classy tournament, tournament commissioner Rob Baer said. “The seven hockey leagues keep getting better each season, and it is showing in all the games.” The championship games begin tonight at 8 with top-seeded Haverford High taking on the third-seeded Central Bucks South Titans in the Class AA title game at the Hatfield Ice Arena in Colmar. Tomorrow, top-seeded Penncrest and No. 3 Springfield (Delaware County) will meet in the Class A championship game at noon at Ice Works in Aston. At 3 p.m. at Ice Works, top-seed- ed Cardinal O’Hara takes on third-seeded Germantown Academy in the AAA championship game. That game will be televised live on CN8.

Class AAA. The Cardinal O’Hara and Germantown Academy hockey rivalry is one of the best in the area. O’Hara, looking for its first Flyers Cup championship, is coached by Bill Swahl. Senior Lions goalie Ryan Klingensmith is tied with La Salle’s Dan Pyne for the AAA leadership in goals-against average at 2.00. Klingensmith has the best average percentage at .920. Freshman Sean Coll has three points on two goals and an assist, and senior defenseman Tom Newman has three points on three assists. O’Hara and GA faced each other once this season, playing to a 3-3 tie. Gump Whiteside has been coaching GA for six seasons. He played for the Patriots in the first Flyers Cup in 1980. “The quality of hockey has improved so much over the 27 years of the Flyers Cup,” Whiteside said. “It has been good to see it develop at the different levels over the years. And the championships keep getting better and better.” The Patriots came within a goal of a title last season, losing to five-time champion Malvern Prep. Junior defenseman Brian O’Neill is leading the Patriots with one goal and four assists. Junior goalie Nick Stampone, who will start in goal against O’Hara, has a save percentage of .886 and a 3.00 goals-against average.

Class AA. Haverford High is looking to defend its 2005 Class AA title. Coach Brian Cleary’s Fords are led by senior Ian Finnerty, who leads all AA scorers with eight points on three goals and five assists. Junior forward Chris Campli leads the team with five goals. On defense, sophomore goalie Jason Hazelton has a 2.67 goals-against average and a 4-3 win over Abington, a 7-3 win over West Chester Henderson, and a 5-2 win over Neshaminy in the tournament. Central Bucks South is playing in its second Flyers Cup. The Titans defeated Hempfield, 5-2; Pennridge, 2-1; and Downingtown East, 3-2; to reach the finals. Coach Scott Reuter’s Titans are led by junior goalies Vinnie Minisale (0.71 goals-against average) and Pete Keltz (2.00). Minisale will start in goal tonight. Senior forward Andrew Reuter, the coach’s son, leads the Titans in scoring with four goals and two assists.

Class A. The Penncrest Lions are the defending Class A state champions. Coach Steve Mescanti’s senior goalie, Ryan McElhenney, has been super so far, sporting a 1.56 goals-against average. He has a save percentage of .921. Senior forwards Dave Bixler and Nick Kusturiss have been flying on offense. Bixler has six goals and seven points, while Kusturiss has two goals and four assists. The Springfield offense has dominated the Flyers Cup this year. After three games, coach Jack Burks’ squad is scoring at a rate of six goals a game. The team is led by senior forward Von Mondevergine, with four goals and seven assists, and senior defenseman Phil Eastman, with six goals and four assists.

By Joe Kadlec
The Inquirer