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Conestoga defense, goaltending stymies Springfield-Delco, 9-3, in boys’ PIAA Class AAA opener

Tuesday, 1st June 2021

Categories Boy's/Men's, High School, Posted 6/1/21
Staff Report

With a glance at the boxscore of Tuesday’s PIAA Class AAA opening-round game at Harriton High, you can make a convincing argument that goalie Patrick Jameison stole one for Conestoga.

True, the sophomore sensation was immense, with 14 saves in a 9-3 win over District 1 champion and Central League rival Springfield-Delco for the sixth seed Pioneers But ask Jameison why the result went that way and he effuses praise for the guys in front of him.

Patrick Jameison

“I don’t think I had to make any in-close saves today,” Jameison said. “Our defense had their best game of the year.”

After all the rubber he turned aside Tuesday, he might as well deflect some credit, too.

It was a comprehensive performance from the Pioneers, who had lost two of their last three games in districts and entered states feeling they had something to prove. With varying man-to-man and zone looks, with quick and decisive slides, the Pioneers shackled Springfield’s offense which had been clutch in leading the team to the District 1 crown, checking off just about every item on the list of must-haves.

They kept Jack Clark, who scored six goals in the district final, off the score sheet, with just a handful of shots to his name. They nullified any transition offense, with the Pioneers’ Ian Kim (6-for-14) and Springfield’s Ryan Hannigan (7-for-12) basically stalemating at the X and the ‘Stoga defense preventing easy offense. They also went 5-for-5 on the penalty kill.

And when Springfield did get shots, they were mostly of the variety that the Conestoga defense could live with, knowing who was in the crease behind them.

“Our defense today was by far the best,” Jameison said. “Everyone was super ready to play. We beat them on senior night, and we knew they were hot, District 1 champions, they were going to come out. We just played our best game. That was the first full four quarters we played all year. Everyone was super aggressive on-ball and off-ball, and everyone came ready to play.”

In the rare openings that Springfield did get a quality look, Jameison was there. He made two denials on Springfield’s opening possession, including a point-blank stop on Robbie O’Brien, that set the tone. He kept Springfield off the board until Aidan Kreydt beat him with a long-range shot through traffic with 36 seconds left in the first half as the Pioneers seized a 4-1 lead He was quick off his line when needed, like in the third when he got a piece of a Clark man-up attempt then turned quickly out of the cage to cover it.

The more shots he saved, the more it snowballed, Springfield trying to get too precise, passing up on medium-quality looks for only the best and, not finding them, settling for long shots that Jameison was too locked in not to stop.

“The confidence, knowing that any shot beyond about 12 yards is going to be saved, it’s a pretty good feeling as a defender,” sophomore LSM Tommy Ciccarone said. “Knowing that you have a goalie that’s going to save most shots, it’s pretty fun.”

Ciccarone, who shadowed Clark for most of the first half, stuck a goal in the second quarter to make it 3-0. With seniors John Serafim, Andy Marquet and Will Preston, plus shifts by junior Ryan Schappell, the defense worked cohesively to support Jameison.

Patrick Reilly followed Ciccarone’s tally less than a minute later with a behind-the-back goal in transition, the second of his four-spot to make it 4-0. Peter Detwiler finished his second goal early in the third, then Reilly followed 19 seconds later to make it 6-1.

Springfield got a spark from midfielder Jake Kuzmick, who scored with 36 seconds left in the third quarter and got the first goal of the fourth to make it 7-3. But a surge never materialized. That it took more than three minutes into the final quarter for Springfield to finally find the twine indicates just how difficult offense was to come by.

For Ciccarone and company, it’s not clear-cut who the favorite was in this matchup, no matter what the brackets hint. But that’s a problem that he’s happy to have.

“After what they did to Garnet and Radnor, it definitely does feel like a little bit of an upset, especially after they won the district championship,” he said. “So I feel like it is a little bit of an upset, but we’re pretty evenly matched.”

Conestoga 9, Springfield-Delco 3

Conestoga 1 3 3 2 – 9
Springfield-Delco 0 1 1 1 – 3

Patrick Reilly 4g, a
Peter Detwiler 2g, a
Joey Allen g, 2a
Graham Blatchford g
Tommy Ciccarone g
Wade Beckstrom a
Ian Kim 6-for-14 faceoffs
Patrick Jamieson 14 saves

Jake Kuzmick 2g
Aidan Kreydt 1g
Brett Gougler 1a
Tyler Gougler 1a
Ryan O’Connor 1a
Ethan Johnson 8 saves
Ryan Hanigan 7-for-12 faceoffs

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