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East ties Pennridge on last-second score


Central Bucks East (6-4-1) trailed Pennridge (11-0-1) 3-2 last Thursday night but there was noticeable electricity in the Patriots fan base.

With 5.8 seconds remaining in the game, there was a faceoff in front of the Pennridge goal. And the Rams were playing with two men down.

Sure enough, East’s Ethan Cenci won the puck after a scrum and found the back of the net with 1.3 seconds left. CB East and Pennridge skated to a 3-3 tie, a noticeable reversal of their Nov. 15 game in which Pennridge won 7-3.

“We knew it wasn’t over yet and we kept the fight up to the end,” Cenci said. “We put all the guys in front of the goal to try and push it in.”

In a late December game against favored Council Rock South, East did one forecheck and then iced the puck. South won 4-0, but was held to its second lowest scoring total of the season.

“We did the same thing here,” added Corey Kosick. “And when we had an opportunity to flick it up, we did.”

East earned its signature point of the season to date. Pennridge remains unbeaten, although the tie is the first blemish on its record.

Kosick struck first five and half minutes into the game, traveling most of the length of the ice for a short-handed goal.

After intercepting a pass, “I saw an open lane and took it around their defense,” said Kosick, whose 16 goals lead East. “I took it to the far side and it went in.

Pennridge answered just 25 seconds later with a power-play goal from Andrew Savona, who has 46 points in a superlative season. Tyler Manto scored another power-play goal off a rebound with just four seconds left in the first to put the Rams up 2-1.

Both goalies took over. East’s Cole Breen and Pennridge’s Jacob Winton combined for nearly 30 shutout, albeit chippy, minutes. Each team also had an apparent goal waived off.

After the Rams converted on two first period power plays, Pennridge made six of the game’s final eight trips to the sin bin.

“We were trying to make sure that they were the ones in the (penalty) box in the game,” Cenci said. “If they were in the box, we could capitalize on the power play.”

Jaden Young tied it at 2 on a back hand with 4:19 remaining. Manto ripped a goal from the left wing two minutes later to put Pennridge up 3-2 and give him his first brace of the season.

Breen saved 33 of 36 shots in his third straight impressive game. He has a .936 save percentage over his last three games, including a 33-save performance in East’s 2-1 win over North Penn to close 2023.

“I feel like we’ve been playing solid D,” Breen said. “We have definitely improved a lot from the beginning of the year. We’ve changed up our defense a little from how we had been playing it, and we are clicking right now.”

Winton stopped 22 of 25 East shots. Savona and Kevin Pico (45 points) may get headlines for lighting up scoreboards, but Winton now as a .927 save percentage over his last six games.

The Rams returned to the ice to play CR North in a Wednesday late game. CB East hosts Pennsbury on Thursday.

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