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CB East’s Breen, Young lead Patriots to Suburban High School Hockey League playoff victory


Central Bucks East emerged from its Suburban High School Hockey League 2A playoff opener with North Penn a 3-2 winner, despite being outshot by a more than 2-1 margin.

The Patriots (12-5-2) have junior goalkeeper Cole Breen to thank for keeping the National Division contest – Thursday night at Hatfield Ice Arena – a one-goal game throughout the first two periods when they were outshot by a 30-9 differential.

“He’s the reason we won the game; he got the game puck tonight,” stated CB East head coach Jeff Mitchell, flatly. “We’ve always been lucky (getting) some higher caliber goaltenders.

“But that kid right there has got the ‘A’ on his jersey for a reason.

“He’s vocal. He wants his team to do well. He’s ready to push; he’s ready to motivate.”

The Patriots can also thank Breen’s classmate Jaden Young, who grabbed a pair of turnovers – one in front of the Knights’ net and the other near the blue line at East’s end of the ice – and converted them both into third-period strikes for the winning side.

“The kid’s a light switch,” stated Mitchell. “He just keeps working. I don’t think he has a stop gear. He’s just constantly moving.”

“If he has a player, he’s gonna dish it off but if he doesn’t have a player, he’s gonna take it himself,” added Mitchell. “If he’s got an open lane, he’s gonna take it; if he’s got an open shot, he’s gonna take it.”

“He just makes every right decision, every single time.”

Young had already put the Patriots on top 2-1 just 30 seconds after CB East top scorer Corey Kosick knotted the skirmish at a goal apiece with his 27th goal of the season less than a minute into the third period.

With a man in the box for elbowing, Young stole the puck just outside the Pats’ defensive zone and went in all alone before blasting a 15-foot shot past the outstretched arms of North Penn netminder Aidan Quigley for the game-winning goal with 10:34 remaining in regulation.

Young had already stolen a puck in front of the Knights’ net and converted that into the goal that put his team on top for the first time in the contest.

“He was definitely the star performer tonight,” said Breen, of his teammate Young. “He was battling hard for those turnovers and (scored) some pretty nice goals.

“He was a really key part of tonight’s win. To come up 3-1 right after being down, 1-0, he came out really hot in the third period.”

With Breen practically standing on his head to keep the duel scoreless throughout most of the first two periods, the Knights finally broke through when Nolan Shingle grabbed a turnover of his own in CB East’s side of the ice and converted it into his 10th goal of the season with just 1:32 left in the second period.

With the goaltender pulled in favor of an extra skater, fifth-seeded North Penn (10-8-1) tallied again when leading scorer Sam Norton notched his 20th goal of the season with 1:04 remaining in regulation. Try as they might, the Knights could not manage the strike they needed to send the battle into overtime and a melee between the combatants ensued as time expired on the game clock.

The fourth-seeded Patriots advance to take on top seed Pennridge Feb. 28 back at Hatfield Ice. No. 3 seed Central Bucks South, which toppled sixth-seeded Souderton 6-2, will battle No. 2 seed Council Rock South the same night but at Grundy Ice Arena.

Ironically, CB East ended 2023 with a 2-1 victory over the Knights and began the current calendar year with a 3-3 draw with Pennridge that sent the Patriots on their current path. In that one trailing the Rams 3-2 on Jan. 4, Ethan Cenci deadlocked the score with a power-play strike with just one second remaining in regulation.

From there, East went on a four-game winning streak that included a victory over Pennsbury and one-goal triumphs over Council Rock North and Neshaminy before capping the string off with a 5-0 shutout over CR North.

“This team is a momentum rider to the very end,” explained Mitchell. “If we are riding hot, we’re riding as hot as anybody; if we’re riding low, we’re down in the ditch.”

“When it’s on, it’s on and it’s really fun to watch.

And other times?

“It can be really frustrating to watch too, sometimes – like periods one and two, but when it comes back, it feels so good,” the coach added.

“It warms your heart.”

With the victory over North Penn, Breen notched his 11th win of the season, stopping 39 shots along the way. Breen entered the game with an .891 save percentage and that number will surely rise when it is combined with this triumph.

Game Notes: Dave Brown assisted on East’s first goal by Kosick. John Stinson, James Boyle, Cole Pluck and Joseph Silvotti notched assists for the Knights.

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