The 2021 "County Line Cup", a time-honored Thanksgiving Eve rivalry that spans years between the Central Bucks South Titans and North Penn Knights ice hockey programs.
The Knights celebrate their 2021 County Line Cup victoryHATFIELD PA.
- It's Thanksgiving Eve and Hatfield Ice is abuzz with fervent activity.
Current students of the present time, friends, family, and alumni from both school districts have come to watch two of the biggest SHSHL
rivals throw down for the opportunity to take ownership of the coveted "County Line Cup", the cross-county trophy awarded to the winner of this pre-holiday varsity hockey game.
Over the course of the past 6 years, the Knight's overall record against the Titans during the regular season stood at 0W - 11L - 2T over 13 games.
- 2021 - 1W-0L
- 2020 - 0W-1L-1T
- 2019 - 0W-2L
- 2018 - 0W-1L-1T
- 2017 - 0W-3L
- 2016 - 0W-2L
- 2015 - 0W-2L
To say the Knights would be entering the game as the favorite would be a vast understatement. This was a situation where the knights would take the ice as the underdog on a mission to erase past history to take over ownership of the envied prize.
The Titans, running their trademark disciplined "run and gun" offense got off to a blistering start hurling a barrage of shots on Knights goaltender Nick Ebbinghaus. Ebbinghaus was primed for the challenge and prepared to take whatever the Titans offense had to offer. The Titans skaters lit the lamp almost 6 mins in at 5:15 of the first. Peter Herring came off of the short sideboards catching the Knights goalie by surprise going glove side high. Not to be outdone, however, off of the ensuing draw Knights forward John Stinson picked up an errant puck just outside the Knights defensive zone and raced down the boards cutting in and going top shelf under the crossbar twenty seconds later stunning goalie Jason Magaruh. The score remained tied after 1 with the Titans commanding a 20-4 shot advantage.
North Penn ties the score on end to end rush
Moving on into the second, the North Penn coaching staff rallied the troops tightening up their defensive zone responsibilities clamping down on loose pucks, rebounds, and greasy area puck challenge opportunities. At 4:47, on the power play, Nolan O'Toole found himself at the top of the Titan right circle. O'Toole unloaded a seed beating Magaruh to put the Knights up with a 2-1 advantage. Roughly four minutes later with the Knights on the power play again, Sam Mostochuk fired a shot from the top of the blueline beating the Titan goalie through a maze of players. Obviously screened, Magurah never saw the puck. The Knights took the 3-1 lead into the third.
Kicking off the third period with the game on the line, the Knight's defense locked down and played superior defensive zone coverage. Ben and Sam Mostochuk worked in tandem with Tyler Porubski to thwart another wave of offensive pressure from the Titan's forward lines.
North Penn button's up dzone coverage
CB South added a shorthanded goal early but that would be it for the night. North Penn's backcheck and defensive zone coverage held the Titan offense to the perimeter for the remainder and for the first time in almost a decade the Knights skated away with the win and the hardware to show for their hard work. “Our defense played extremely strong, and Ebbinghaus played outstanding in net with 41 saves,” NP coach Kevin Vaitis said. “The thing we’re preaching right now is where are we giving up the shots? “CB South – we’ve played them for years, and they’re going to generate a lot of shots. The thing we try and focus on is - can we keep most of the shots to the outside? Can we limit any of their second and third chances? That’s what we tried to focus on tonight," Vaitis said.
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