High School Ice Hockey:
Wednesday, December 30th, 1998
By Rick Murro
Over a span of four days during the Christmas holiday, the Washington Township JV Ice Hockey team participated in the prestigious 5th annual Iceline Holiday Tournament. Iceline Hockey Rink is a 3 rink facility located in West Chester, PA. Every year, Iceline holds 4 major tournaments during the busy holiday season. It is an International Tournament, where teams from different countries around the world participate in a 4 day competition. There are Varsity "AAA" and "AA" tournaments, as well as JV "A" and JV "B" tournaments.
Since the tournament's inception, Washington Township Ice Hockey Club has submitted Varsity and JV entries to this highly competitive event. Over that time, Washington Township's impressive representation has made a lot of Pennsylvania hockey clubs sit up and take notice. Competing against powerhouse teams such as Malvern, Henderson, La Salle, Conwell Egan, Unionville and Downingtown to name only a few, this tournament ranks among the area's most grueling and elite hockey events in the Delaware Valley. Due to Township's great showing over the past 5 years, Iceline has made the Washington Township Ice Hockey Club a perennial invitee.
This holiday season the Washington Township JV team captured the "JV B" Championship at Iceline. This was the first year Iceline held a JV B tournament, and the competition was hard hitting. Township's first game was an intense, high scoring game against Malvern and saw Township victorious by a score of 6 to 4. The second game was a close checking affair that pitted Township against their eventual final opponent Unionville. This game had all the makings of a classic and neither team disappointed, with both teams trading hits and goals; this one ended up in a 2 - 2 tie. Because of a very complex point system, Washington Township needed to take the third game from a very tenacious Upper Darby team. Township did not waste any time making their mark in the third game. This was an early 7:30 a.m. start and both teams looked sluggish, but Township got their legs in the second period and never looked back at a stunned and beaten Upper Darby squad. Final score, a Township victory 3-1.
Township was now on its way to the semi-finals against a very well coached Springfield club. Coach John Schauffele made sure his team would be ready by the time they hit the ice the next morning at 8:00 a.m. And boy were they ready, Township dominated the game. With tenacious offense from players like Ryan Leroy, Mike Schauffele, Jason Pelle and John Spallino and outstanding defense by Dan Hill , Ian Potter and Ken Reilley, Township skated to victory and the finals with a 3-0 victory. Goalie Mark Buckalew got the shutout in the semi-final win.
The stage was now set for the championship game on Thursday, December 30th at 5:00 p.m.. A very tired but determined Township team took the ice for the rematch with Unionville. This had the markings of a classic from start to finish with both teams trading goals in the first and second periods. Offensive rushes were thwarted by great defensive plays at both ends of the ice. Both teams skated well amid furious checking the entire game. The third period turned out to be a gem with each team playing brilliant defense and goaltenders making critical saves at both ends of the ice to keep their team in the game. The clincher came for Washington Township late in the third period when Jason Pelle stripped the puck from the opposing defenseman and threaded a beautiful pass between two Unionville players to Mike Schauffele, who scored a lightning wrist shot past a surprised Unionville goaltender. Adam Seczech had an outstanding game in goal for Township. An ironclad defense along with great forechecking and offensive effort was the key to victory for coach John Schauffele's squad. The final score Washington Township 3, Unionville 2.
The Washington Township JV team was crowned Iceline's JV B Champion for 1998-1999. This was the first Iceline Tournament championship for a Washington Township team. Congratulations to Coach John Schauffelle, assistant coaches Joe Pelle, Bob Hill and Pat Valerio and the entire team. We have a feeling this won't be the last Tournament champion that Iceline will see from Washington Township. With the way the whole club performed this past season, hopefully there will be many more to come.
SJHSIHL Playoffs start in February, come out to Hollydell and cheer on the Varsity and JV teams to victory in what is the "COOLEST GAME ON EARTH". For more information on playoff dates, times and places, call the Washington Township Ice Hockey Club at 589-3907 or 582-0268.
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