Trojans win 10th straight title
It’s been a decade of dominance.
No team in the Lehigh Valley Scholastic Hockey League other than Parkland has won a league championship since 2010. The Trojans earned their 10th straight crown last week and their 13th overall.
In Game 3 of the championship series, Parkland broke away late in the third period to hand Northampton a 6-1 loss last Friday at Lehigh Valley Ice Arena. It kept the Trojans’ streak of LVSHL titles alive after being doubted for most of the year.
“It’s definitely way sweeter,” Parkland goalie Vincent Byelick said. “At the beginning of the season, we weren’t even projected to make the playoffs. Everyone thought we lost a lot of seniors and we wouldn’t make the playoffs.
“After the second time we lost to Freedom everyone definitely wrote us off.”
Freedom, the top seed all season that had not lost in the regular season, fell in the first round of the playoffs. That paved the way for the nine-time defending champion Trojans to add No. 10.
Parkland wasted no time in the series-deciding game. Zachary Averill punched in the game’s first goal not even five minutes into action. And then Michael Schmidt added another 10 minutes later for a 2-0 first period lead.
Alex Doe then set up Jason Dratch early in the second period for a quick 3-0 lead, which would be more than enough offense for Byelick in goal.
Byelick stopped 29 shots from the Konkrete Kids, allowing just one goal when Tyler Belsky scored late in the second period to get Northampton within 3-1. Dratch thought Byelick’s best game of the season was Game 1 with 48 saves in a 3-2 victory. But Byleick believes he saved his best effort for the biggest stage all season.
“I think it was probably my best game,” Byelick said. “I was a lot more focused going into the game this time rather than last time. A big show out of our fans really helped out with the win.”
Byelick didn’t even play last year, but learned plenty under Matthew Yankanich last winter.
“I had a lot of great mentors,” Byelick said. “He taught me really good. We’ve had a lot of good players. He has pretty much made me what I am today.”
Eric Dennis scored three goals in the third period, all coming in the final five minutes, to seal the victory. The final two came in the last minute with Northampton goalie Noah Smargiassi pulled out of net.
The Trojans opened up Flyers Cup play on Wednesday against Neshaminy. Results were not available at time of press.