CB West locked in battle for playoff spot
Central Bucks West head coach Dave Baun hopes his team answers the call.
The Bucks are 4-8-2 in the Suburban High School Hockey League (SHSHL) Continental and 6-9-3 overall. With 10 points, they are in a battle for the eighth and final playoff spot with Pennsbury, and possibly Truman, heading into the final two games of the regular season.
First up is a date with Pennridge on Wednesday (result unavailable at press time), followed by the finale against Souderton two nights later.
“Success always breeds content,” Baun said. “It would be nice to be able to deliver some positive results back to our school.”
With just two seniors and 11 freshmen or sophomores on its 17-man roster, CB West has endured growing pains this season against the top teams in the division. But, despite a lone win over Pennridge and a tie against Souderton in Continental play, the Bucks are in the postseason mix thanks to solid non-conference results, including a tie with Pennsbury and a 5-3 victory over Council Rock South.
The Bucks are 2-1 in their last three contests, including a 6-2 victory over Lansdale Catholic and a 7-0 triumph over Council Rock North sandwiching a setback to Central Bucks East.
“We needed to win it, and not only did we need to win it, we needed to keep the goals against down,” Baun said of his club’s victory over CR North.
Forward Scotty Cappuccio was the star of the contest, scoring a pair of goals and adding the same amount of assists, while Kenny Doak stopped 35 shots in net to earn the shutout.
“He’s somewhat of a phenom in terms of being a goal scorer,” Baun praised of Cappuccio. “He’s got a natural ability to score.”
What makes the Bucks exciting is their youth, as only forward Danny Wilson (nine goals and seven assists on the year) and defenseman Kyle Weidman will be graduating. Cappuccio, meanwhile, is a freshman and leading the squad with 14 goals and 23 points. Both Doak and fellow goalie Jonah Brous are also freshmen.
John McCreadie and Patrick Smith each have 20 points, with the former also leading CB West with 13 assists.
“They both get the job done. There’s just a dramatic contrast in how they get it done, but I’ll take it,” Baun said of his goaltenders.
Whomever is in net to close the season will have added pressure. None of the current Bucks have qualified for the league playoffs. Further, the team is being considered for a berth in the Flyers Cup, which would be a chance to gain even more postseason experience going forward.
“Do I think we belong in the Flyers Cup? Absolutely, we do, based on strength of schedule,” Baun said.
“It’s hockey that’s unlike any other hockey that kids play,” he continued about the tournament. “The more accustomed you get to that and the more you do it, the hungrier you are to do it again.”
CB East enters the final week of the regular season in great position to claim the SHSHL Continental crown. The Patriots stand one point behind Central Bucks South in the standings, leaving them in second place with games against Abington on Feb. 19 and Truman on Feb. 21.
Regardless of how things play out, the Patriots should earn a high seed in both the league playoffs and the Flyers Cup thanks to their 16-2 record (12-2 in the SHSHL Continental). Their two blemishes came by a combined three goals to CB South and North Penn, which is currently in third place in the Continental.
Since the North Penn setback more than a month ago, CB East has gone 5-0, averaging more than six goals per contest and not allowing more than two by any opponent. It is doing so thanks to balance on both ends of the ice. Goaltenders Steven Gilchrist and Evan Angotti are both 8-1 with goals against averages of less than 2.00.
Five players have more than 25 points on the year: Joe Ridolfi (15 goals, 14 assists), Nick Chimera (12, 17), Zach Davis (12, 15), Austin Chase (11, 15) and Andrew Bily (10, 16). Defenseman Austin Baty has 13 assists.
Pennridge will look to finish its season on a high note and as a potential CB West spoiler. The Rams will close out their campaign against Souderton.
A win in either contest would be their first in Continental action, as all three of their victories (Truman, Abington and Upper Moreland) have been out of conference. They are 2-12 in the league to this point.
Pennridge is averaging 1.94 goals per game and has been shut out six times. Only two players, Aaron Crosson and Jake Wexler, have more than 10 points, with Crosson leading the way in goals (10) and Wexler in assists (seven).
Quakertown wrapped up its season at 1-13 in the Lehigh Valley Scholastic Hockey League (LVSHL), with its lone victory coming on Jan. 13 over Liberty, 6-4, behind two goals and an assist by Tyler Clymer.
Clymer finished with eight goals and 10 points on the season, making him one of two players on the team to reach double digits in the latter. The other was Nicholas Ducalo, who scored 10 goals to lead the Panthers and added four assists. Austin Gower had four assists, while Thomas Waidelich contributed six goals.
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