In the playoffs, you ride your stars.
And the Shamrocks rode standout forward Riley Johnson on Friday night. In the CPIHL Rothrock Division elimination semifinal, the league’s top scorer in the postseason filled it up once again, beating Central York for five goals in an 8-5 win.
The No. 3 Shamrocks will now top seed Cedar Crest in the championship March 3 at 3 p.m. at Hersheypark Arena; they are the only team to beat CC this season.
Johnson didn’t wait to get started. The junior scored just 0:59 in to spot his team a 1-0 lead. He added a power play goal nearly 14 minutes later to make it 2-1 Shamrocks.
No. 2 Central York tied it again early in the second period, but Johnson ripped off two more goals, one short-handed, to make it 4-2.
The Shamrocks never trailed in this one, but CY would tie it one last time on a short-handed goal by Jordan Kline 28 seconds into the final stanza. But that was it. Lance Coffey, who also had two assists, made it 5-4 nearly two minutes later. Michael Soule added two insurance goals within the next 2:30.
A CY goal kept it close, but Johnson buried his fifth and final goal (he had an assist as well), to set the final score.
The Shamrocks took advantage of six minor penalties, scoring three times on the man-advantage. Jaxson Hibbard stopped 20 of the 25 shots he faced.