Viola Cup champs!

By on March 6, 2019
Warwick’s players are all smiles as they hoist the Viola Cup after defeating West Shore 5-3 in the champion-ship game last Friday night at the Hersheypark Arena. Photo by Wendy Dagen

Warwick’s players are all smiles as they hoist the Viola Cup after defeating West Shore 5-3 in the champion-ship game last Friday night at the Hersheypark Arena. Photo by Wendy Dagen

Warriors top West Shore 5-3 for first-ever title

The Warwick Ice Hockey Club is the 2019 CPIHL Viola Cup Champions.

“It’s indescribable,” Kyle Zimmerman said. “It can’t be described in words. It is great.”

Warwick defeated West Shore 5-3 on Friday night at Hersheypark Arena for its first-ever CPIHL championship, as Zimmerman capped an exceptional playoff run by scoring a hat trick. His hat trick included the game-winner and the insurance goal. In four playoff games, he scored six goals, including two game-winners, and added an assist for seven points.

He finished the regular season with five goals and six assists for 11 points in 14 games.

Warrior goalie Logan Hann made nine saves on 12 shots, which included a key stop late in the game as West Shore sought to tie the game. With 2:50 left in the game, Jesse Troutman fed Thomas Meanor in the left face-off circle as Christian Holtzapple cut across the crease. Meanor got off a shot that Hann managed to deflect to the corner.

Hann felt it was the toughest save of the game.

“With two minutes left, they had that cross-crease (chance),” Hann recalled. “I slid across and I saw the puck the whole way. Luckily, I got a piece of it and kept it out of the net. After that, we went right down and scored. That was basically the game.”

West Shore controlled the puck for nearly a minute after Hann’s save, but eventually Jonathan Bergh carried it out of the zone and managed a shot on WS goalie Alexander Rigling.

Rigling made the save but the Warriors maintained control. Hunter Deibler held the puck in at the blue line and fed Zimmerman along the boards. He turned and sent a low wrist shot towards the net. Deibler should have received the assist but did not.

“I did not (think it was going in),” Zimmerman said. “I shot it low for a rebound and we had guys in front and I was like, ‘Somebody put it in.’ (The game) was too close. It was over then.”

Earlier, Zimmerman opened the scoring with 1:34 gone in the first period when he scored on Warwick’s first shot of the game.

“There was a scrum in front,” Zimmerman said. “The puck (was) on my stick, I turned around, shot it and it went in. We’re going to score the dirty goals. There’s going to be no nice goals.”

West Shore wasted little time coming back from the 1-0 deficit. Avery Arnold capitalized on a lucky bounce, but the goal did not faze Hann.

“After that goal, the nerves just kind of left,” he said. “You realize at the end of the day, it’s just a hockey game.”

The Warriors regained the lead five game minutes later when Jordan Lee turned a rebound from Bergh into a 2-1 lead.

Both teams kept the other’s scoring chances to a minimum through the rest of the first period. Warwick allowed only three shots on goal, while West Shore limited the Warriors to six.

The shot totals reversed in the second period, though, as West Shore clawed back into contention. but it was Warwick that scored first. Bergh scored coming down the slot to give Warwick a 3-1 lead. Tai Stern had the lone assist.

“We were breaking out of the zone,” Bergh recalled. “Stern was around the circle. He passed it to me and I had a lot of speed going in. I saw their best defenseman right in front of me and I knew that I was going to need put a quick move on and get a shot on (net) in order to get the goal. I had a blind shot. I kind of toe-dragged it, popped out, shot it low and it went in.”

Low, hard shots were a deliberate strategy for the Warriors.

“Most definitely,” Bergh said. “On this goalie, most of our goals went in low. We knew that’s where we were going to have to shoot.”

West Shore rallied like the regular season champions they are when Troutman scored from Meanor with 3:11 left in the second period, cutting its deficit to 3-2.

Then they tied the game less than a minute later when Nolan Zortman redirected a shot past Hann.

From there, the Warriors knew they needed to keep Troutman, one of the league’s highest scorers, in check to win. They kept a body on Troutman throughout the third period and limited his chances. Against a good offensive team, they kept their opponent to three official shots for the period, as they had done in the first.

“We kind of talked about that in between the second and third periods,” Hann said. “(Troutman) is one of their better players and we said, ‘Keep him on the outside (and) don’t let him on the inside. If you get the chance, lay him out.’”

“When we came out in the third, we came out strong,” Bergh said. “Everyone on the team knew what we had to do.”

What they needed, along with shutting down the West Shore offense, was a goal or two of their own. Zimmerman provided two to finish his hat trick. The first goal of the period came with 4:08 gone.

“We got a goal quickly from Kyle Zimmerman,” Bergh said. “I was around the right dot. I skated up and back towards our net, but Kyle came down to the net and I dished it out to him. He went over and jammed it in. It was a great play.”

Troutman and West Shore pressed the Warriors throughout the third, but Hann preserved the lead and Zimmerman provided the breathing space. When Meanor went off for elbowing with 1:45 left, West Shore lost any meaningful chance of pulling the goalie and winning the game. All that remained was to finish the game and begin the on-ice celebration.

Several players have ties to the 2016 team that lost to Elizabethtown, and they thought about them after the game. Zimmerman, who along with his brothers Brady and Alec Cesavice and sister Breanna, all current teammates, recalled watching Bryce Zimmerman in Hershey in 2016.

“It was sad to watch (Bryce) lose,” Kyle recalled. “It was sad to see Bryce go down like that as a senior. I’m glad to see our seniors got to win it. It’s the first time ever for our hockey club.”

Hunter Deibler, who came back from a shoulder injury to play in the final game, said, “Three or four years ago, we lost in the championship game. We knew that coming back, we had to win. With our seniors Max Bright and Logan Hann, it’s a great way to go out with them. It’s great being champions.”

***

Following the game, the CPIHL announced that Logan Hann won the second annual Justin Yingling Memorial award. With the honor came a $500 scholarship check.

“The award is in honor of our son, who died a little over two years ago of a heart attack,” Jane Yingling explained. “We were thinking of ways to honor him and our younger son came up with the idea of giving the money to the CPIHL, so we started the scholarship. We have enough money to continue it for 20 years.”

“Unbelievable,” said Hann about winning a championship and a scholarship on the same night. “This kind of stuff only happens in dreams.”

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