WEST GOSHEN — Anything can happen in 64 seconds and Downingtown East proved just that.
In a crucial game against rival Downingtown West, the Cougars notched three goals in that span early in the second period in a 4-1 Ches-Mont win Wednesday night at Ice Line.
“All we needed were 64 seconds of fantastic play,” said D-East head coach Dave Hendricks. “The goals that were scored were two- or three-assists goals. There was puck movement. It was three great, team-earned goals back-to-back. It was wonderful to watch and the excitement on the bench was great.”
The quick strikes came within the first 2:25 of the middle frame from three different players.
“We had a lot of energy in the beginning, so we just wanted to get the puck to the net and put traffic in front to try and get some quick ones,” said D-East senior Bobby Kiefer.
The forward, and team captain, started it all with his wraparound, followed five seconds later by Jonathon Carreiro on a 2-on-1 off the faceoff with Collin Harple.
Harple finished it with a rebound goal 61 seconds later.
However, West (7-8, 7-11) got in on the excitement with a tally of its own, courtesy of junior Drew Barron, 24 seconds after Harple.
But that would be the only goal the Whippets could muster against East (7-6, 8-8-2) and goaltender Jeff Cummings — and the only goal of the game until an empty-netter from Joe Kubachka with 1:01 left.
“Part of the help was having Cummings in net,” Hendricks said. “He played just strong and kept everything wide and in front of him.”
It was a good chance for some revenge for Downingtown East, having lost 1-0 to the same team the night before Thanksgiving in the Primo Cup in the final 10 seconds of the game.
“We wanted to beat them after they beat us in the big game,” Kiefer said. “It was fun to come out and beat them. Jeff made some big saves and everybody had some energy tonight.”
Not only could East savor the rematch going in its favor, but it also allowed the Cougars to jump ahead of West in the standings with just one game left in the regular season, putting them in sixth place.
“It’s a great rivalry,” Hendricks said. “The strange thing is you want to hate them, but I love their coach and the kids all get along with each other. They all play hard, but they’re not jerks to each other and they’re not trying to kill anybody. It’s just a good game.
“Both of us are fighting for Flyers Cup seedings at the AA level. Both teams are going to be troublemakers in the Flyers Cup because they both play so hard.”
Since the loss to the Whippets at Thanksgiving, East has gone 5-3-2 in the Ches-Mont, gaining valuable points and moving up in the standings.
“Ever since the New Year, we’ve played really strong,” Hendricks said. “All these younger guys are just growing and growing and getting better and better. When you have 75 percent of your team as underclassmen, it’s great to see.”
The continued strong play is what the Cougars need as the Ches-Mont playoffs are less than a week away and the Flyers Cup just beyond that.
“Every game at this point is proving your next spot,” Hendricks said. “You always want to jump up as many spots as you can for the playoffs and not play in the play-in round. I’m extremely happy with the kids. The work they’re doing this year and the way that they’re playing is just great.”