by Jody Kessler

Facing Germantown Academy in the Independence Hockey League playoffs, Chestnut Hill Academy could not get up for the big stage and lost 7-3.  It was 6-0 before they got their first goal. The fifth seed, they won the play-in game against Penington Monday, but could not get it going versus the top seeded Patriots at Wissahickon Ice Arena last Wednesday.  Still it was a very successful season for the young team, ending at 15-5-1.  GA would finish the year 13-2-1 after moving on to beat Academy New Church in the final.

GA got two shorthanded goals.  They got two goals each from Ryan Hoffman and Will McNamara.  The Blue Devils Jason Bright, Zack Baron and Harmar Rappoport scored, all in the third period when the game was already out of reach.  GA outshot CHA 46-39.

GA’s Will Vaeth showed early why he was feared by Chestnut Hill.  He made a great effort skating through players and putting a shot on goal, but Crosby Harris was up to task.  Next CHA’s Baron got off a good shot. Bright then got clear right in front of net, but could only shoot right at Patriot goalie Jake Adoni. GA then got their first goal. The puck hovered in front of the net, several players jabbing at it. Crosby tried to cover it up but couldn’t, and Bill Oppenheimer was credited for the goal, assisted by McNamara.  The teams traded penalties, neither scoring.  But when CHA went on a 5-on-3 advantage GA got a shorthanded goal, Vaeth skating all the way up ice again and this time scoring.  It came with 2:15 left in the period and the score would stay 2-0 into intermission.

CHA went on the powerplay one minute into the second period, and again they gave up a shorthanded goal.  Crosby tried to clear the puck but he gave it right to Justin Manro, who passed it to Ryan Hoffman who scored easily.  CHA started to get frustrated, roughing with GA every chance they got.They were not strong with the puck, and their defense was off.  At 10:19 they gave up another goal, similar to the first when Crosby could not clear it.  There was just no urgency to the Devils game, and they gave up two more goals before the zamboni came out.

The Devils must have recieved a good speech at the intermission because they looked like a different team in the third period.  They scored the first of three goals at 11:19 when Rappoport passed to Bright for the goal.  They almost had another moments later.  Five minutes then went by but they did get another goal, this time Baron scoring off Adoni’s body.  All in all there was too much individual play by CHA.  GA answered that goal, McNamara scoring assisted by Oppenhiemer and Hoffman.  GA picked up a couple of penalties and CHA was back on the 5 on 3.  They took advantage, Rappoport scoring but it was too little too late.  GA had the 7-3 win.

It was a very physical game,” said CHA coach Phil Pulley.  “They put a couple of big hits on our scorers and that seemed to back them down a little bit.  Other than that the boys kept battling.  We didn’t come out in the third period and lay down.  All in all both teams should be proud.”

Overall Pulley said, “Season was great, everybody played well throughout the whole year.  We ended up fifth.  Second year in the league, second year we made the playoffs.  So we’re pleased about that.  Some great games, I think we grew as a team, we’re still a young team.  I think we’re going to grow as a program.”

CHA captain Ben Pulley said, “Our team came out here expecting to have a great game against GA like last game when we lost by a goal.  GA came out quick and hard, we tried to shut down Will Vaeth, I thought we did a good job of that, rest of GA really stepped up today, played a great team effort.  I kind of think the atmosphere got to us all; the fans, all the guys try to be Wayne Gretzky, we settled down between the second and third.”

Crosby said, “Just didn’t really back check enough, played lazy.  GA played stronger than us.  Nerves caught the best of us.  Everyone was really excited, maybe a little too excited, not enough focus on the game.  People not watching their men enough.  (Overall) great season, great group of kids, lot of fun.”
GA coach Matt Rominger talked about the game.

“We got up on them early, we were able to establish our game which is high pressure putting their defenseman under stress, they turned the puck over to us and we were able to capitalize on the turnovers, second period we were able to extend our lead, I thought we had great life throughout the game, it was physical, there were a lot of emotions flying around between the crowd and players.  Everyone was into it, it was fun.”

About CHA’s effort and their strong third period he said, “that’s exemplary of what they do over here at CHA.  Their guys don’t quit, we knew they weren’t going to go away, they didn’t.”