Kiski falls to West Chester East in Class A Pennsylvania Cup championship game

Saturday, March 25, 2023 | 4:35 PM

The story the last few years for the West Chester East hockey program has been depth, speed and a tendency to jump on opponents and wear them out.

That story has resulted in what is now three straight Pennsylvania Cup state championship victories after the Vikings used a goal just over two minutes into Saturday’s Class A Pennsylvania Cup State Championship game to get ahead and then dominate. West Chester East defeated Kiski Area, 8-1, at Robert Morris University Island Sports Center.

“Yeah we didn’t get the result very early in the game after we spent a lot of time in their end, but eventually that effort paid off,” West Chester East coach Eric Wolf said. “I felt like our speed was a little bit too much for them, and they had to get used to that.”

Anthony LoGiurato scored that first goal 2 minutes, 15 seconds into the game, and East turned it into four straight to start the game, despite the LoGiurato tally being the only goal of the first period.

Joey Cardarelli, who scored eight goals during the Flyers Cup playoff run for the Vikings and was named Flyers Cup MVP, scored East’s second goal 1:50 into the second period off a beautiful feed by Trey Jefferis. Cam Greenawalt and Danny Tirendi added goals just 1:36 apart as the game near the middle of the second period.

After the Tirendi goal, Ethan George broke free and scored his eighth goal of the postseason to get the Cavaliers on the board, but that was all the offense for the freshly minted Penguins Cup champions in their first state final.

“That first goal deflated us a little bit. It wasn’t our best game. We’ve definitely played a lot better than that,” Kiski Area coach Mark Hastings said. “But we got here. Who ever thought we would be the ones here? The kids played well all year.”

The onslaught for West Chester East continued just under a minute after the George goal as Tirendi netted his second of the afternoon.

The Vikings added three third-period goals. Chase Khounsacknarath scored before LoGiurato added his second. Logan Soster added the final goal of the game for the Vikings at 14:44 of the third.

In all, eight players got on the scoresheet for the three-time defending champs at the Class A level, which is a sign of depth Wolf said has been the reason for their success.

Beyond the goal scorers, Jefferis added two assists, Mikey Tardone had three helpers and Tirendi had an assist to go along with his two goals.

“That goes without saying. It’s how much of speed, size and talent do you have. Do you have one line, two lines or three lines of speed… do you have one or two lines of size,” Wolf said. “Year after year it’s been our depth that has brought us our success over the years.”

East battles with Rustin, which has won 11 straight state titles, every season. Wolf said his program has had to replace between eight and 12 players after recent seasons, but depth and talent has allowed for continued success.

“It’s us and them, and they’ve won a lot,” Wolf said. “We go against a lot of teams that’s our four lines going against another team’s maybe two, and eventually teams may wear down. That’s a big factor. And you need your seniors to make big plays in these big games. The seniors have carried us a lot over the years.”

The title is West Chester East’s fifth overall at the state level.

Evin Brice, who was sensational in the Penguins Cup playoff run for Kiski Area, made 26 saves in the loss.

Kiski Area’s season ends after a run not many on the west side of the state expected.

“You don’t see that team all year, but our team played well,” Hastings said. “I can’t be more proud of all these kids. I have eight seniors. It’s going to hurt our program. They’ve been great.”


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