CB West remains alive for postseason
There may be only a month to go, but the jury is still out on Central Bucks West’s hockey team.
The Bucks are sitting in fifth place in the Suburban High School Hockey League’s (SHSHL) Continental Division, as of Jan. 20. In many sports, that would be a recipe for doom given that only five division contests remain on the schedule.
This year, though, could be different. The Bucks have just seven teams ahead of them in the Class AA division, and after they tied one of their nearest opponents, Pennsbury, 2-2, last Thursday night at Hatfield Ice, the potential is there for a postseason berth.
“So far, I think we’ve been up and down,” goalie Jonah Brous said. “We’re coming along.”
While they were disappointed in not being able to hold two leads, the Bucks did earn a valuable point, while improving to 3-5-2 on the season. With eight points, they also kept Pennsbury one point behind them in the playoff standings, and with earlier wins over two squads ahead of them, Wissahickon and Council Rock South, the Bucks have also shown an ability to beat anyone on any given night.
That said, there are some challenges facing CB West right now. For one, it is not delivering a full 48 minutes of hockey, leading to occasional breakdowns that have proven costly. Against Pennsbury, after jumping out to a 1-0 advantage four minutes into the second period and holding a shot advantage, the Bucks gave up nine of the next 11 shots. They also conceded a goal to the Falcons in the process, resulting in a 1-1 draw heading into the final period.
Again, CB West was able to get ahead, this time on an outstanding effort in front by forwards Patrick Smith and John McCreadie. Eventually, the puck was pushed home by fellow forward Scotty Cappuccio, which gave the Bucks a 2-1 edge less than 30 seconds into the third period.
It didn’t take long, though, for the Falcons to take control again. Brous was unable to stop a shot by Linder Kenyon with about nine minutes to go. From there, Pennsbury had plenty of chances to put home the game-winner, but no more of their 32 shots by the time the horn sounded went in.
The other Falcons goal came from Craig Meschel, while both were assisted by Larry Kolk.
When they did have opportunities, the Bucks took advantage, including a disallowed goal with 4:47 to go when the whistle blew before a CB West attacker could poke the puck into the net from under Falcons netminder Trevor Schadler. That, along with 23 saves, including a great one on an open look for McCreadie just moments earlier, helped lead to the eventual draw.
“I think we had a lot of opportunities,” said Bill Licopoli, an assistant coach who was filling in for Dave Baun as head coach of the Bucks. “We were telling them that we need to get it to the net as much as possible.”
The Bucks boast just two seniors this year in center Daniel Wilson (nine points so far) and winger Kyle Weidman. That has led to a lack of experience, but the good news is that captain Smith, along with assistants Ryan Trefz (defenseman) and Tanner Ginn (forward), will all be back for the Bucks next season and have gained valuable ice time this year. To make things even more promising, Brous and Cappuccio, who scored both goals for the Bucks against Pennsbury, are only freshmen. Currently, Cappuccio leads CB West in goals (10) and points (13), while McCreadie has seven assists. Smith and Trefz, who also had an assist against Pennsbury, have three goals apiece.
“We just need to communicate and be the better team out there with hustle,” Cappuccio said.
In the net, Brous has been solid with a 2-2-1 record and 2.80 save percentage. If fellow goalie Kenny Doak can keep improving, the Bucks could have a solid backup for the future, as well.
“I think we’re just starting to build some chemistry,” Brous added about the team. “I think in a couple of years, we’ll be a very competitive team.”
If the Bucks can manage some points against Council Rock North, Lansdale Catholic and/or Pennridge, they may end up getting a chance to extend their season into the SHSHL playoffs. That would be even more likely if they are able to upset Souderton, North Penn, CB East and/or CB South, all of which are ahead of them in the standings.
Copyright ©2014 Bucks County Herald, Inc. All rights reserved.