Big third lifts D-West on senior night

Downingtown West’s Zach Hanaway scored two goals in a 6-2 win over Great Valley Monday night, which was also senior night for the Whippets. (Candice Monhollan)

Downingtown West’s Zach Hanaway scored two goals in a 6-2 win over Great Valley Monday night, which was also senior night for the Whippets. (Candice Monhollan)

WEST GOSHEN — A five-goal third period capped off a win on senior night for the Downingtown West boys hockey team Monday night at Ice Line.

Seniors Jason Pinkerton, Benjamin Mucha and Drew Barron each registered at least a point in the 6-2 win over Great Valley.

“It was senior night, so we let the seniors play,” said Downingtown West head coach Ryan Smith. “We only have four, but they got to play a lot and that was really what was most important. The kids did what they had to do to get the job done and that’s all I ask.”

Things were knotted at 1-1 after two periods, but Downingtown West (5-7) was able to break through goaltender Daniel Dougherty in the third with sophomore Zach Hanaway leading things with two goals.

“We talked after the first and said we had to pick it up together as a team,” Mucha said. “I think we really saw it more toward the end of the game.”

Downingtown West didn’t allow the Patriots (1-9-1) a single shot for the first half of the third period and ended up out-shooting them 25 to 7 in that frame.

Great Valley’s Casey Funk pulled his team back to within one after a power-play goal with three minutes left in the game, but Alec Connolly answered back just 11 seconds later to put the Whippets back up by two.

Jo Vargo’s empty-net goal sealed the win with 55 seconds left in the game and Barron added one more 14 seconds later.

“They had to do what they had to do – they had their 25 shots and five goals and that’s what we ask,” Smith said. “They just had to finish strong, get the two points and that’s what they did.”

With the Whippets only have the four graduating seniors, a lot of the team is made up of younger players.

“It’s a very young squad, actually,” Smith said. “Most of them are underclassmen. They’ve been pretty good. (We have) a freshman goaltender, so that always adds a challenge to it, but they have been doing really well and there’s a lot of promise for next year.”

That freshman goaltender, Eric West, has played all but two games for his team and, despite having a 5-5 record, holds a respectable 3.91 goals-against average and 0.857 save percentage.

“It’s a young team overall, but it’s going to be nice to come back and watch the team progress from where they are now to where they are going to be,” Mucha said.

Though this season has been so-so for the Downingtown West seniors, they are happy being able to walk away with the big win on their night.

“There was a little bit of an effort problem, but we really pulled it out at the end,” Mucha said. “It was a good senior night (and) it was nice to get the final win with the people who are all graduating this year.”

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