MECHANICSBURG — The Shamrocks are one of the best hockey teams in the area.
But they needed every minute to edge the youngsters of MSM United, the squad that won the CPIHL Tier 3 championship last year. The Shamrocks won 8-5 at Twin Ponds West Friday night.
Lance Coffey and Riley Johnson led the Shamrocks with a combined total of six goals and six assists. Coffey had four goals and three assists while Johnson had two tallies and three helpers.
Johnson, the leading scorer in the CPIHL, raced in on the first shift of the game and was stoned by United goal keeper Vaughn Hennessy, who stood on his head all evening in a valiant effort. He tallied 40 saves, some of the unbelievable variety.
“He was unbelievable today,” said United first-year coach Remigio Bollana. “This is a very young team — only six kids return from last year and most only have a year or two of experience behind them. Vaughn played junior varsity last year because we had two solid keepers. I am proud of the kids for the way they responded after a bad game on Wednesday.”
MSM consists primarily of players from Mechanicsburg, Susquehanna Twp. and Bishop McDevitt. Carlisle and Cedar Cliff used to have players on the squad, but club hockey is full of shakeups and Cedar Cliff merged with enough players from Red Land to form West Shore United.
Hayden Bridges, who tallied five goals for MSM United, gave them their first lead of the season five minutes in on helpers from Robert Shaffner IV and Colin Nemshick.
The Shamrocks got a goal from Spencer Hockensmith on a rebound to tie the contest.
Bridges gave United another one-goal lead, but Coffey scored on a Johnson assist to tie the game at 2-2 after the first period.
Coffey and Johnson outscored Bridges 4-2 in the second period, but an altercation near the end of the second stanza cost Johnson as he was ejected from the contest.
Coffey tallied two power play goals in the first two minutes after the altercation. Shamrocks led 6-4 after two periods.
“We started a bit slow but part of that was moving some people around on different lines,” Shamrock coach Augustin Carr said. “There is no love lost between these two teams, but we lost our cool in the second period and it cost us. We lost Riley but we were able to substitute some other players in who stepped up. Straub stepped up and had a goal and an assist. Our defense played well and limited the opportunities after we finally got the lead.”
The Shamrocks leaned on their defensive charges to contain Bridges and the United offense. United was outshot 9-3 in the final period and Shamrock keeper Jaxson Hubbard allowed only one goal in the final 16 minutes as she was rarely tested.
Jack Straub and Coffey had the third-period goals. Straub’s came from Lyles Klapkowski and Coffey and Coffey’s came from Straub.
The Shamrocks improve to 5-1-1 and play Wednesday. MSM United falls to 0-5-1 on the season.
“I saw a lot of improvement tonight and with our youth — we have to look for improvement every night,” Bollana said. “We are getting better every night.”