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Ice hockey: CB South staves off late CB East rally to nip Patriots

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On Senior Night, the 12th-graders came through for Central Bucks South.

Senior forward Steve McMillan led the way with a first-period goal and a pair of assists in a key Suburban High School Hockey League (SHSHL) triumph over Continental Division rival CB East Jan. 8 in front of a standing room only audience at Hatfield Ice.

“With their Senior Night, we knew they were going to come out fired up the first half of the game so we had to ride that storm out, which our kids did,” stated Patriots head coach Kenny Latchum.

McMillan’s classmate Dominic Patrone sparked the Titans with its only power-play goal in the contest in the second period and captain Colin Abbonizio recorded the winning tally in the final frame to help stave off a two-goal rally by the Patriots in the last six and a half minutes of the contest.

CB East goalkeeper Chris McIntyre stood tall in net, stopping 38 shots and giving the Patriots a fighter’s chance at knotting the score in the final moments. CB South fought off a final flurry of shots by East however, emerging with a 4-3 victory that extended the Titans’ win streak to eight games.

South has not dropped a contest since a 2-1 season-opening loss to AAA non-league rival LaSalle way back in October. The Titans (8-1) sit atop the conference with an unbeaten 6-0 record. This was South’s first game back from a two-week hiatus; the Titans hadn’t played since a shutout over Council Rock North Dec. 20 at Revolution Ice Gardens.

“McIntyre is a good goaltender and we knew we had to pepper him with shots,” stated CB South head coach Shaun McGinty. “We wanted to get him moving laterally left and right since he was seeing a lot, stopping a lot.

“Kudos to him; he did what he had to do for his squad.”

Indeed. McIntyre made a huge difference in the battle, stopping 18 of 19 shots he faced in the first period. He had just stoned South senior Harry McLaughlin with a pad save near the left-side post, forcing a faceoff with less than 10 seconds remaining in the initial frame.

“Steve (McMillan) just took a quick shot on net – he has a quick release,” explained Patrone. “I don’t think the goalie even saw it. It went in the bottom right corner and it was the perfect play to go into the second period with the lead.”

Ten and a half minutes into the second period, Patrone poked home a rebound on a power-play goal that extended the Titans’ lead to two. However, just 41 seconds later, Patriots scoring leader Sean Gorman took control of a turnover near the blue line at South’s end of the ice then fired a wrist shot that found the back of the net to cut CB South’s lead in half.

“Mistakes happen in the game,” admitted McMillan. “That’s part of life.”

“We have to work on defense more in practice but I think we’ll come back next week against CR South.”

McMillan played a pivotal role in a pair of goals recorded by the Titans in the second period, helping the home team take a 4-1 lead.

First he and Abbonizio fed sophomore Dan Kvecher for an even-strength goal that gave South a two-goal cushion two and a half minutes into the third period. Seven minutes later, he fed Abbonizio with the goal that put the Titans up three.

“I couldn’t have done it without my linemates (Colin) Abbonizio and (Dan) Kvecher,” stated McMillan. “They all played good. The whole team actually played great in my opinion.

“It was just a solid team win.”

Less than two minutes after falling behind 4-1, CB East started its comeback. With 4:45 remaining, Phil McIntyre came through with an even-strength goal then linemate Aiden Schmidt poked home a rebound on a power-play goal with 3:32 showing on the game clock.

“My best line was my youngest kids; we saw that tonight,” said Latchum. “Aiden Schmidt, (Bogdon) Borodenko and Phil McIntyre.”

“They’re eighth- and ninth-graders and they play with speed and they play with guts.

“They’re really gutsy and they got us back in the game.”

CB South’s coach thinks East caught his team with its guard down.

“We were up by three and I don’t wanna say we settled in; I’m not a believer in that and the kids aren’t,” stated McGinty.

“But I think we did settle in a little bit and obviously the repercussions were that they fought their way back in.”

Last season, CB South made its way to the SHSHL championship game where it fell in a shutout loss to Pennridge. Then, the Titans lost to Downingtown West in the first round of the AA Flyers Cup Tournament.

The year before, South captured the league title before falling in overtime to Downingtown East in the Flyers Cup. With the current run they are on, the Titans are hoping to once again catch fire in the postseason and possibly come home with the cup this time around.

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