It's that time of the year again - the sounds of high school hockey can be heard throughout rinks in the Philadelphia area… the sizzle of skates hitting the ice, a slapshot ringing off the post, the crowd cheering for a big goal. It's time for the Greater Philadelphia area's best high school hockey teams to come together to compete for the 28th annual Flyers Cup.
The Flyers Cup is the definitive high school hockey championship in the Delaware Valley, often referred to as "Stanley Cup of High School Hockey." A total of 53 teams will be competing for the championships in three different divisions based on school size ("A", "AA", and "AAA"). Those 53 teams come from the following leagues: the Central Pennsylvania Interscholastic Hockey League, the Eastern High School Hockey League, the Inter-County Scholastic Hockey League, the Lehigh Valley Scholastic Hockey League, the Lower Bucks County Scholastic Hockey League, the South Jersey High School Ice Hockey League, and the Suburban High School Hockey League. Games will be played at rinks throughout the area including Polonia Bank Flyers Skate Zone (Northeast Philadelphia), Ice Line (West Chester, PA), the Face Off Circle (Warminster, PA), Grundy Recreation Center (Bristol, PA), The Skatium (Havertown, PA), IceWorks (Aston, PA), Twin Ponds East (Harrisburg, PA), Hatfield Ice (Colmar, PA), the Virtua Health Flyers Skate Zone (Voorhees, NJ), the Steel Ice Center (Bethlehem, PA) and Lancaster Ice Rink (Lancaster, PA). The champions of each division will move on to face the winners of Western Pennsylvania's Penguins Cup for the Pennsylvania State Championships, set for April 7th at Ice Works in Aston, PA.
Flyers Cup 2007 begins on March 12th with four games on the schedule and then really kicks into high gear on March 13th with eight games on the slate. The single-elimination tournament culminates with championships for the three divisions on March 24th and March 25th. The "A" finals will take place on March 24th at Ice Line in West Chester, PA, while the "AA" and "AAA" finals will be held on March 25th at the Wachovia Spectrum.
This year, the Flyers and Phantoms are making the "AA" and "AAA" finals an all day event at the Wachovia Spectrum. With the "AA" final beginning at 10:30 AM, fans are encouraged to stick around to see the "AAA" final at 1:00 PM. There will be many activities and features in and around the concourse at the Wachovia Spectrum all day, including celebrity appearances, face painters, caricaturists, the Delta Dental Ice Team, as well as the Phantoms' mascot Phlex. In addition, the Wachovia Spectrum restaurant, "Bullies", will be open to the public with several TVs for fans to keep up on all of college basketball's March Madness. For those who can't make it out to the rink on March 25th, CN8 will broadcast the "AAA" final live from the Wachovia Spectrum, with Comcast SportsNet's Steve Coates providing color commentary of the game.
"AAA" Preview In "AAA", Cardinal O'Hara (ranked #2) will be trying to defend their title as champions against some great competition from the 12 other teams vying for the Cup. Cardinal O'Hara has a 10-2-0 record in "AAA" (14-3-0 overall) and their attack will be lead by Sean Coll, who has 16 goals and 30 points to tie for the lead in "AAA" scoring so far this year. Teams will also need to be concerned about putting some pucks past Cardinal O'Hara's top 10 ranked goalie, Jim Murray. La Salle enters the tournament as the top seed with an undefeated record of 12-0-0 in "AAA" and a 22-5-1 record overall this season, backstopped by the #1 goalie in "AAA", Dan Pyne. Malvern Prep has a record of 10-2-0 (15-8-1 overall), and teams will need to focus on Kevin Huntigton if they want to stop Malvern's offense, while also worrying about beating goaltenders Shane Lewis and Andrew Zoeller, who are both ranked in the top 5 goalies in the "AAA" division. John Soroka has helped his team, Holy Ghost Prep, climb to an 8-3-1 record in "AAA" play (18-4-2 overall), by tying Sean Coll for the scoring lead, while Fran Begley has been solid between the pipes.
"AA" Preview The past two Flyers Cups have been taken in the "AA" division by Haverford High, and they are once again ranked #1 with a 16-2-0 record this season. This year, there are 19 other teams in the "AA" division looking to unseat Haverford in their quest to take home their third straight Flyers Cup. Haverford will use the balanced offensive attack of Chris Campli, T.J. Haeberle, and Steve Karpinski to score goals aplenty, with goaltender Chris Hazleton looking to stop them at their own end. Washington Township, with a record of 14-2-2 is hoping that Colin Davis will continue his spectacular season in which he has 59 points, including 31 goals. Stopping pucks for Washington Township is the team of Chris Rainey and Joe Scafisi. Pennsbury comes in with a 15-7-2 record, boosted by the tremendous play of both Ryan Gannon and Shawn McKay, who both have 56 points this season. Manning the nets for Pennsbury are Colin Fafara and Steve Perry, a wonderful tandem to say the least, as they have combined for a league low 2.20 GAA. Fourth-ranked Conestoga has high hopes riding on the shoulders of brothers Vince and Richard Masciantonio, who have 41 and 33 points respectively. Goaltender Jason Burris will be looking to help his team bring home the championship.
"A" Preview In a similar situation to Haverford, Penncrest (ranked #15) will try to defend their title as champions of the past two Flyers Cups in the "A" division. They too will have to battle 19 other teams who are hungry for the 2007 Flyers Cup. Top ranked Kennett will be counting on top scorer Jamie Berlin, as well as defenseman Tim McGarry and top ranked goaltender Greg Tinkoff to add to their impressive regular season performances that helped them reach a 15-1-2 record. Perkiomen Valley, at 14-3-1, will be looking to James McCauley to add to his 43 points, while goalie Charlie Johnson will look to continue his low goals against average. Shawnee comes in at #3 with a 16-1-1 record. Top scorer Matt McDonald's 62 points surely helped lead Shawnee to an impressive 107 goals for, while the exceptional goaltending of Paul Gray has contributed to an equally impressive 38 goals against. Also a top contender is Springfield (Delco) with a 14-3-1 record thanks in part to Matt Green's 27 points and Chris McCullough's league low 1.69 GAA.
Finals Schedule: "AAA" Final – March 25th, 1:00 PM at Wachovia Spectrum (Philadelphia, PA) "AA" Final – March 25th, 10:30 AM at Wachovia Spectrum (Philadelphia, PA) "A" Final – March 24th, 7:00 PM at Ice Line (West Chester, PA)
The following teams were chosen to compete in the Flyers Cup:
AAA 1. La Salle 2. Cardinal O'Hara 3. Malvern Prep 4. Holy Ghost Prep 5. Archbishop Ryan 6. Roman Catholic 7. St. Joseph's Prep 8. Father Judge 9. Salesianum 10. Germantown Academy 11. Bishop Shanahan 12. Monsignor Bonner 13. Archbishop Wood
AA 1. Haverford High 2. Washington Twp. 3. Pennsbury 4. Conestoga 5. Pennridge 6. Central Dauphin 7. Council Rock South 8. Cherokee 9. Central Bucks West 10. Downingtown West 11. Bishop McDevitt 12. Methacton 13. Freedom 14. Souderton 15. William Tennent 16. Hempfield 17. Council Rock North 18. Parkland 19. Cumberland Valley 20. Neshaminy
A 1. Kennett 2. Perkiomen Valley 3. Shawnee 4. Springfield (Delco) 5. Lower Dauphin 6. West Chester Henderson 7. West Chester East 8. Interboro 9. Upper Dublin 10. Hershey 11. Williamstown 12. Bayard Rustin 13. Wissahickon 14. Marple-Newtown 15. Penncrest 16. Moorestown 17. Plymouth-Whitemarsh 18. Central Dauphin East 19. Garnet Valley 20. Springfield (Montco)