Trojans win eighth straight title
Parkland was the overwhelming preseason favorite to win the 2017 Lehigh Valley Scholastic Hockey League. And why wouldn’t it be? The Trojans haven’t lost a game this season, let alone the past 95 straight league contests.
To put the cherry on top, the only team to be crowned champions of the LVSHL since 2010 has been Parkland. The Trojans made it eight straight league championships last week.
After a 6-5 victory over Northampton in game one, the top-seeded Trojans had little trouble in the championship-clinching game two.
Parkland scored the first two goals and never looked back, cruising to a 6-3 victory for its 11th LVSHL championship in program history.
“The key to beating Northampton was to just stay focused on our game,” said Jake Nimeh, responsible for two of those Trojan goals. “We didn’t want them to get us off of our game because of their physical play.
“We tried to use our speed and the luxury of having four full lines helped to keep us energized against their two lines.”
Parkland’s speed certainly paid dividends out of the gate. It took about nine minutes for the Trojans to get on the scoreboard, and it came from Nimeh, the team’s leading scorer. His 22nd goal made it a 1-0 lead.
Less than two minutes later, Parkland went ahead 2-0 on an unassisted Tim Doe score.
“My first goal was just hockey 101 — get pucks on net and good things will happen,” Nimeh said. “I came down the left side, which is my off side, and I didn’t have many options. So, I curled up toward the point looking for an outlet to pass to, but nobody was open. I took a low shot toward the middle of the net hoping to get a rebound, and it squeezed through the goalie’s five-hole.”
The fast start was a complete 180-degree turn from game one when Northampton scored in the opening minutes and held a 1-0 lead late into the first period. Parkland’s quick two-goal lead, while not insurmountable, seemed unlikely for the Kids to overcome with the offensive firepower the Trojans possess.
Northampton got within a goal early in the second period on an Anthony Belsky score, but Jacob Folland and the Trojans responded immediately. Then, Nimeh all but put the final nail in the coffin in the final moments of the period when he ripped his second goal of the game into Northampton’s net.
“The early lead in game two was very big and beneficial,” Nimeh said. “It’s always a good thing to be up, and it allowed us to start rolling all of our lines. In game one, starting off being down a goal was very difficult. Giving them an early lead allowed them to start playing their game plan and physical play.”
Back-to-back goals from Charlie Rongo gave Parkland a 6-2 advantage eight minutes into the third period. Northampton scored two late goals.
Now that the LVSHL season is now behind Parkland, it has its eyes set on some revenge in the upcoming weeks.
The Trojans opened the next chapter of this postseason with a Flyer’s Cup play-in game on Monday, the state tournament in which the Trojans exited far too early in 2016. They are hoping this run is a bit longer.
“As a team we are looking forward to avenging our fairly early exit last year in the second round,” Nimehh said. “We’ve been fortunate to get a couple of practices in before our first game on Monday, so we can practice four our next opponent.”