WEST GOSHEN — After an arguably over-emotional game on Friday, West Chester Rustin was able to reign itself back in against another conference opponent and shutout Downingtown West, 3-0, in a Ches-Mont match-up Monday night at Ice Line.
On top of that, it was also the night to celebrate Rustin’s three seniors: defenseman Michael Grande and forwards Michael DiPillo and Austin Aurillo.
“It’s really cool,” Aurillo said of the night. “It’s also an opportunity to have my parents out here and really appreciate them for everything they’ve done for us. It’s cool just to be recognized by the team for everything they’ve done.”
Rustin may be losing just three players, but they are expecting a huge incoming class for next season to more than make up for the lost skaters.
“It’s funny because we have four middle school teams,” said Rustin head coach Nick Russo. “We have a freshman class coming in with 17 kids next year. We’re going to be okay for a few years.”
But before the Golden Knights can look forward to next season, they have to finish out 2014-15, which they are doing in style as they battle with West Chester East for top spot in the conference.
“We’ve beat (East) twice,” Russo said. “It bodes well for where we’re going to be seeded. We just have to stay focused. I know it’s a cliché, but my next worry is Downingtown East, then we’ll worry about everything else.”
And his team took care of business Monday night when, despite the penalties being lopsided on their side, were able to still come away with a solid victory.
Even more so, killing off a 5-on-3 late in the second period.
“My biggest issue is I don’t know how to answer the officiating,” Russo said. “I just really don’t have an answer. It is what it is. I really liked the way we played. We dominated the game. They have a very disciplined team and they stayed with us. It was a Ches-Mont dog fight.”
Aurillo echoed his coach’s sentiments regarding the game.
“We played a good, strong game despite some penalties,” he said. “All together, I think we played a really good, defensive game. We just came in and got the job done.”
It was a sweet win for the season, who have just two games left in the regular season, though Rustin will make the playoffs.
For Aurillo, it has been a privilege to put on a Golden Knights sweater all these years.
“It’s awesome,” he said. “It’s a great organization and obviously a really good, winning one. Last year, to go to the State Championship, that was awesome, too. I’m looking forward to trying to defend our title.”
Though the team is losing just three players, they were key in the locker room and something Russo knows he’s going to have a challenge trying to replace.
“They’re just great kids of character,” he said. “Maybe there are only three seniors, but there’s a hole that’s going to have to be filled there in the locker room.”