Manheim Township's Gavin Paterson skated into the Cumberland Valley zone with the puck, and some space, early in the first period Friday at Lancaster Ice Rink. From inside the left face-off circle, the senior snapped a shot that beat goaltender Nicholas White and punctuated an early surge that gave the Blue Streaks a 3-0 lead that set the tone in a 9-2 victory in their Central Pennsylvania Interscholastic Hockey League Bears Division finale.
With the win, the Blue Streaks (5-13-0-0) clinched the final spot in the Bears Division playoffs and the No. 5 seed earning a first-round single-elimination game against No. 4 Lower Dauphin scheduled for 6:15 p.m. Wednesday at Twin Ponds.
"The team we're playing is tough," said Manheim Township coach Tom Barnett, "so we have to play as a team, move the puck, get pucks deep with no selfish play. We've had some issues with that this year, but we have a lot of talent in the room. We just need to put it together."
GOAL, Manheim Township. Ethan Kim enters the Cumberland Valley zone with some speed and finishes, giving the Blue Streaks a 4-1 lead with 8:37 left in the second period. pic.twitter.com/y8lQ57nnUw— Tim Gross (@TimGrossLNP) February 1, 2020
Township put together an offensive outburst with three goals in the first 6:12 of Friday's regular season finale. Paterson's punctuation complemented first-period goals from Carson Kennedy and Joshua Hixson, who scored their goals in a span of 35 minutes to set the tone offensively. Before the game, the three Blue Streaks were honored among the eight Manheim Township seniors on the roster.
"Senior night definitely gave us a little spark," Barnett said. "I think that's another reason we came out on fire. They played for the seniors tonight, and they didn't want it to be over."
The Eagles (3-14-0-1) got a goal back on a point shot from Ty Eckenroad. In the second period, they had a chance to pull closer with a five-on-three power play, but Manheim Township goaltender Jared Gordon (31 saves) keyed a successful Blue Streak penalty kill.
"He's been like that all season," Barnett said of Gordon. "He's a rock back there. When he's good, he's good. We rely on him to keep us in games, and he usually does."
The momentum fueled Manheim Township for three goals in the second period and three more in the third to put the game away. Paterson added a second goal and an assist, and AJ Yoder finished the night with four assists. Meanwhile, the Eagles tried to shake off the slow start that led to the end of their season.
GOAL, Manheim Township. Mason Moore nets his second of the game with 6:36 left. Moments later, the puck bounces in off a Cumberland Valley d-man after a Gavin Patterson breakaway. Blue Streaks lead CV 9-1. pic.twitter.com/cHMxQc5GP1— Tim Gross (@TimGrossLNP) February 1, 2020
"I can't say anything bad about our team," said CV coach Tristan Enck. "After the Christmas break, they turned it around. They showed what kind of hockey team they really were. They held teams like (top-seeded) Palmyra to one-goal games. That's really impressive."
In the Viola Division
Hempfield 7, Annville-Cleona 4: The Black Knights (12-6-0-0), with players from Hempfield and Conestoga Valley, turned an early 3-1 deficit into a 5-3 lead with four straight goals from the middle of the second period into the early stages of the third period. Hempfield's Theodore Lountzis completed a hat trick with an insurance goal after the Little Dutchmen (11-7-0-0) had cut the Black Knights' lead to 5-4, and Conestoga Valley goaltender Joshua Griel made 27 saves to help the Knights clinch the No. 4 seed in the Viola Division playoffs. Annville-Cleona's Kayden Freeman scored two goals, and Alex Lingle made 38 saves.
Central York 7, Penn Manor 5: The Panthers (10-8-0-0) secured the Viola Division's final playoff spot behind two goals and three assists from Logan Myers, two goals and two assists from Mason Steward, and two goals and one assist from Benjamin Kasper, who broke a 5-5 tie 9:08 into the third period. The Comets (7-11-0-0), with players from Penn Manor, Lancaster Catholic, Lancaster Country Day and Solanco, led 2-0 before Central York answered with five straight goals. The Comets rallied with goals from Solanco's Kalvin Kowal and Penn Manor's Madison Higgins and Evan Barbusca before a final push from the Panthers. Central York's Conner McCaffrey made 26 saves while Penn Manor's Neel Mahapatra (10 saves) and Cara Jandzio (nine saves) split time in goal for the Comets.
Susquehannock 8, Manheim Central 1: Two goals and an assist from Cody Rodgers, four assists from Connor Manz and six saves from Brady Frey helped the Warriors (4-12-1-1) finish their season with a victory. Cody Bilby scored the lone goal for the Barons (0-17-0-1), and Gage McCabe made 45 saves.
Friday's Other Scores
Hershey 5, Palmyra 3
Lower Dauphin 6, Susquehanna 2
Twin Valley 4, Keystone 2
Wednesday's Playoff Schedule
Manheim Township vs. Lower Dauphin at Twin Ponds, 6:15 p.m.
Central York vs. Annville-Cleona at Klick Lewis Arena, 8:45 p.m.