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Ice hockey: East’s McIntyre stonewalls West

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Central Buck East toppled CB West for the second time this season last Wednesday at Hatfield Ice.

While the Patriots got a pair of goals from defenseman Connor Keiser and a pair of late scores from top forward Sean Gorman, it was 55 saves from junior goalkeeper Chris McIntyre that helped CB East emerge from the Jan. 29 battle with the Bucks with a 5-0 clean sheet.

CB West (6-4-2-1) outshot the Patriots, 55-33, but no matter how hard they tried, the Bucks couldn’t get the puck past McIntyre.

“Shots are shots; I try to be there for every one,” said McIntyre. “And I try to be sharp for every game.

“I enjoy stopping the puck.”

CB East took eight penalties in the game and at one point midway through the second period was playing with two men in the box.

Still, West could not penetrate the force field that McIntyre put up in front of the Patriots’ net.

“With the mistakes and the penalties that we had, Chris was there for us and he saved our butts,” admitted East head coach Kenny Latchum. “Probably his best game all year.”

“And he’s had some great games but this was probably his best one.”

On Senior Night for both teams, McIntyre stopped a pair of early opportunities for the Bucks – one on a shot from in front of the net by CB West junior Keith Orlando and another on a shot from the left circle by sophomore Billy Loughnane.

However, it was an innocent shot from the blue line by Keiser that broke the ice, finding the back of the Bucks’ net just 5:24 into the first period.

While it was Phil McIntyre who made it 2-0 less than three minutes later off a feed from Gorman, Keiser found the back of the net again 8:31 into the second period.

“Connor played his best game I’ve ever seen,” commented Latchum. “He played disciplined, he played physical; he played a great hockey game.”

After winning six of its first seven battles of the season, CB West hasn’t emerged victorious in its last six contests, tying Pennsbury 5-5 on Dec. 18 and Quakertown 3-3 on Jan. 16.

“I thought we played well but when you’re struggling to score goals like we are – our opponents are scoring goals every five or six shots when we’re taking 20 and tonight, we outdid ourselves,” said Bucks head coach Dave Baun. “Fifty-five (shots) and we didn’t score.”

West failed to take advantage of multiple opportunities with a man advantage include a 16-minute stretch that spanned the last 10 minutes of the second period and the first six of the final frame in which East was called for five penalties.

“There are some things we clearly need to work on,” added Baun. “Our power play, our breakouts and outlets were not good.

“It’s not from the blue line in, it’s from the goal line out and that’s where we’ve struggled a little bit.

“Three quarters of my team are juniors or below and they need to work. They need to work together and get better. That’s all.”

While the Bucks scored 44 times in their first four games this season, they’ve admittedly had some problems finding the back of the net of late. West has scored just once in its last two games and tallied just three times in a pair of early January losses to Pennridge and Suburban High School Hockey League (SHSHL) National Division leader Council Rock South.

“We’ve had a little trouble putting goals in but tonight was an exceptional evening for scoring futility,” said Baun.

Of course, Chris McIntyre had a lot to do with that.

East actually outshot West 17-9 in the first period. Up 2-0, the Patriots came out flat in the opening minutes of the middle frame. While that helped the Bucks even the shots at 20 apiece just six minutes into the period, it did nothing to change the scoreboard.

Moments after East killed back-to-back penalties and a two-skater shortage on the ice, Keiser tallied his second goal on the night for the Patriots.

West also couldn’t crack the net on two more CB East penalties called in the opening minutes of the final frame.

“That’s what happens when you have a wall in net,” said Latchum. “They did take advantage; they had their shots; Chris just stopped them.”

Before the first puck was dropped, East recognized seniors Nick LoCastro, Dan Tori, Marc Green, Jasen Cluckey and Max Ermigiotti – who fed Gorman on his first goal of the night. West honored Jake Lang, Chris Trefz, Dan Poliak, Jack Boland and goalkeeper Jake Coddington.

Ice Chips: West took East to overtime on Thanksgiving Eve at Revolution though the Patriots got the overtime goal to record a 5-4 triumph. The league schedule wraps up on Feb. 6 with the SHSHL Tournament beginning soon after. Pennridge is the defending league champion. The Flyers Cup Tournament begins March 13 and ends March 25. The Class AA final is set for March 24 at Hatfield Ice. The Titans top the AA rankings at 11-0-0-1. East is ninth at 9-2-1-1.

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