Archive for the ‘CPIHL Ice Hockey’ Category


Every September, the sports world is overtaken by the beginning of football season, both college and the NFL.

But when the calendar flips over from August, that also signals the beginning of the Delaware Valley Hockey League, the travel league that the local hockey teams play in. And while it might not seem like a huge deal, and for most people, you probably didn’t even know it existed, it’s something that should start catching your attention.

Over the past five years, the York Devils — primarily the Midget 18-AA team — have not only become the premier travel hockey program in central Pennsylvania, but one of the best organizations in the nation.

This area isn’t widely considered a hockey hot bed. Usually when people think of good hockey in Pennsylvania, that thought is reserved for the Philadelphia and Pittsburgh regions. And rightfully so, since those are the two major cities in the state and possess the only two NHL clubs.

But over the past four years, the Devils have thrown their hat into that discussion, consistently finding its showcase team, the Midget 18-AA squad, in the top-40 of the national rankings. Since the 2010-11 season, when the 18-AA team finished the season ranked 39th in the country, the squad has gradually increased its standing in the national polls.

York improved to No. 27 in 2011-12, No. 16 in 2012-13 and then finally capped everything off by being ranked as the fifth-best travel team in the country last season. The Devils competed in the national tournament, facing off against teams from Delaware, New York, New Jersey and Chicago.

Growth and development: For years, York always played second fiddle to the Hershey Jr. Bears travel program, an organization that boasted multiple teams at all five age groups, as well as several girls’ teams and the Quebec Team. Players came from all over the state — and even out of state — to play for the Jr. Bears. Now, the Devils have the teams that kids want to play for, getting some of the best instruction from coaches in the area.

“What we’ve done here, in the last 10 years that I’ve been here, it’s been a very attractive option for kids,” said Mike Cleveland, the head coach of the 18-AA team for the past 10 seasons and hockey director of the York Devils program. “It takes a special kid to want to play and commit themselves to this level. So, I think the attractiveness of our club, the years of having success, draws people to our program because of that attractiveness and being able to play at a higher level.”

The rise of the York organization has made it what Hershey used to be, fielding multiple teams at every age group, while still being competitive. That’s left the other travel teams in the area grasping for straws to come up with enough players to fill out their teams, let alone stay competitive.

But it isn’t just success at the top level that is making York the go-to destination for hockey-crazed kids. The program throughout is well run and has shown that through its results on the ice.

The Devils have a number of strong younger teams that constantly play above .500 hockey and are competitive within the DVHL. But, with those younger programs, as much as you want to see the teams winning, you also want to see player growth and development, the main focus of the York program.

“We have committed to skill development and player development versus winning and losing,” said Rick Lefever, president of the York Ice Hockey Club. “Our coaching education program, we go beyond what USA Hockey requires … And that commitment from the coaches and members is what has made our program better.”

There might not be a better sign of that progression than seeing how the younger players have developed over the years in the organization, with everything culminating at the pinnacle of travel hockey, the midget level, where the players are competing with some of the best teams in the country.

So when you’re sitting around during the weekends in the coming months, and football is engulfing your life, don’t forget about the sport on ice. Because believe it or not, York has turned into quite the hockey hot bed and owns one of the best travel programs in the country.

— Reach Patrick Strohecker at



Kim Holbert didn’t know she would end up enjoying ice hockey.

But then many years ago, her brother’s coach approached her looking for a goalie.

“I actually never wanted to play hockey. Then one day the coach sat with me and convinced me to try goalie,” Holbert said. “Then one practice I didn’t have goalie pads so I just skated out.”

A fifth-grader at the time, Holbert wound up falling in love with the sport. Seven years later, the West York High School senior is having one of her best seasons on the ice. The 18-year-old defender was recently named one of three all-star selections from the Central Pennsylvania Interscholastic Hockey League Tier 3 West York ice hockey team.

Of course, a girl in a sport dominated by boys hasn’t always been smooth skating for the 5-foot, 6-inch Holbert.

“There were some coaches in middle school that were against girls playing hockey. They hardly played me. It was just a rough time,” Holbert said. “And then there are always a couple guys on the team saying you shouldn’t be playing boys’ hockey. Opposing teams will target you. My freshman year a guy boarded me and I got a concussion.”

This season has been challenging as well. Holbert’s father, Paul, said the West York team nearly folded coming into the 2013-14 CPIHL season because of a lack in numbers but stayed afloat when players from surrounding schools were brought in and new coaches were hired.

“The players she grew up playing with, they would look out for her,” Paul Holbert said. “Now that she’s a senior and everyone on the team is younger than her they don’t have that camaraderie.”

Holbert’s adjustment to a West York roster of fresh faces was made even harder when she missed the opening weeks of the season to a newly-discovered lung condition.

“My lungs filled up with fluid,” Holbert said. “Now I take some medicine and get back out on the ice. And sometimes I have to use an inhaler.”

Plus, Holbert couldn’t immediately prove herself to the boys by putting up eye-popping numbers, much like her role model, Toni Sanders, had done. Sanders played for the Susquehanna Rapids girls’ and West York boys’ teams in high school and is now excelling for the women’s team at Rensselear (N.Y.) Polytechnic Institute. Holbert instead had to hold her own as a defender, a position she only started playing two years ago on the girls’ under-19 Hershey Junior Bears travel team.

“Typically a defender is back there because of checking. They like you to take the body out as a defenseman,” Paul Holbert said. “(Kim) is more of a finesse, poke-the-puck-away type. I think she can get away with that more. Her brother was like that, too.”

Holbert has notched one assist in the 2013-14 hockey season. Teammates Evan Maher (27 goals, seven assists) and Tanner Dillon (one goal, three assists) are the other two West York all-star selections. Maher is a senior who attends Spring Grove and Dillon is a senior at Dover. West York is 3-11-2 on the season.

The CPIHL all-star games are set for 7:15 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at Twin Ponds East in Harrisburg. There were four CPIHL all-star teams selected in a draft. They will compete in two games on Wednesday.

Selections: Below is a list of other all-star selections from local CPIHL teams Susquehannock, Central York and Dallastown:

•Susquehannock: Senior forward Rick Mann (three goals, two assists), sophomore forward Nic Prego (eight goals, 10 assists), senior forward Adam Ciccotello (two goals, one assist) and senior goalie Alex Prego (172 saves, .796 save percentage). Mann and the Prego are Susquehannock students, while Ciccotello attends Kennard-Dale. Susquehannock is 7-9-1 in Tier 3 competition.

•Central York: Senior forward Adam Linker (three goals, nine assists), junior forward Collin Potter (13 goals, six assists), junior defender Nicholas Tranchitella (seven goals, five assists), senior defender Dylan Zavetsky (eight goals, seven assists) and senior goalie Stuart Perry (433 saves, .868 save percentage). Central York is 7-9 in Tier 1 competition.

•Dallastown: Senior defender Grant Duvall (10 goals, six assists), junior forward Ben Kelkis (20 goals, five assists) and senior defender Nicholas Werner (seven goals, six assists). Dallastown is 0-17 in Tier 1 action.

— Reach John Walk at

By RYAN VANDERSLOOT 854-1575 x455 / @YAIAAscores

The Central York ice hockey team has been blessed with loads of talent and experience over the past few years.

That has helped to raise the Panthers into the upper echelon of Tier 1 in the Central Penn Interscholastic Hockey League.

But after graduating five seniors from last year’s club, which finished fifth at 10-8, Coach Rick Lefever is bracing for some growing pains this season.

That was obvious Monday night at the York City Ice Arena, when the Panthers played host to Cedar Crest in the regular-season opener for both squads. Despite getting an early power-play tally from Brandon Linker in the first period, the young and inexperienced Panthers allowed the Falcons to seize control in the second.

The visitors, who got a pair of goals each from Jake Horacek and Kyle Harris, blitzed the hosts with a three-goal surge over a three-minute span midway through the period that sparked a 6-1 victory.

“We were out of gas,” Lefever said. “It was our first game and we have a lot of inexperience. This is going to be a learning experience year.”

Horacek (two goals, two assists) and Harris (two goals, three assists) struck for tallies just 23 seconds apart in the second to turn a one-goal deficit around in a hurry.

“We dropped our heads when we lost the lead,” Lefever said. “We have a young team and a lot of inexperience. That’s our biggest issue right now.”

Paul Marakowski (one goal, three assists) capped off the blitz by lighting the lamp 2:50 after Horacek’s goal. Horacek completed the Falcons’ four-goal period with a marker at the 15:15 mark to make it 4-1 after two stanzas.

“We’re going to battle for all three periods,” Lefever said. “We played a good first period and a fairly solid third, but the second period we didn’t play well. We’ve got to play hard for all three periods.”

Harris and Ian Hibshman scored in the third for a Cedar Crest squad that is one of several clubs making a move in the CPIHL’s three tiers. The Falcons are in their first year in Tier 1 after playing in Tier 2 previously.

Other major changes around the CPIHL include two teams — Mechanicsburg and Elizabethtown — who are no longer fielding teams this season. Three others — Lower Dauphin, Central Dauphin and Hempfield — all moved from Tier 1 down to Tier 2. Replacing those three schools are Cedar Crest, Palmyra and Manheim Township.

There were also some changes in the local ranks as well. West York, which had played in Tier 2 for many years, dropped down to Tier 3 this year. Also, the combination team from York Suburban and York Catholic has bowed out of the league.

Dallastown remains in Tier 1 with Central York, while Susquehannock joins West York in Tier 3.

– Reach Ryan Vander sloot at sports@yorkdis

York Dispatch Staff Report

Dallastown will play for the Bears’ Cup championship at 9 Friday night at the Hersheypark Arena.

The Wildcats earned their way into the Central Pennsylvania Interscholastic Hockey League Tier I title game with a 3-2 victory over Elizabethtown on Monday night at the York City Ice Arena.

The game was scoreless heading into the third period when Dallastown erupted for three straight goals from Grant Duvall, Jacob Mitchell and Benjamin Kelkis.

E-Town scored two goals in the final 10 minutes but couldn’t get the equalizer.

Dallastown will face Hershey for the championship on Friday.

Wyatt Malone made 27 saves to get the win in goal for the Wildcats.

Bailey Haines added an assist for the winners.

By RYAN VANDERSLOOT 854-1575 x455 / @YAIAAscores

Dallastown’s Grant Duvall, right, tries to block a shot by Central York’s Lucas Marchesani during Wednesday’s Central Penn Interscholastic Hockey League Tier 1 duel at York City Ice Arena. The Wildcats earned a 5-3 win over the Panthers. Nick Werner iced the victory with a power-play goal. (Bil Bowden photo)

There were a few tense moments in the third-period on Wednesday night for Dallastown.

The Wildcats were taking on rival Central York in an early-season Central Penn Interscholastic Hockey League Tier 1 clash at York City Ice Arena.

The Panthers did their best to make things uncomfortable against their York County rivals over the final seconds, but Dallastown’s Nick Werner soothed things over with a big goal.

Central cut into the Wildcats’ 4-2 lead with a power-play goal with 2:39 left, but Werner’s power-play tally with 47 seconds left iced a 5-3 victory for the Wildcats.

“I was worried,” Dallastown coach Jed Winemiller said.

Winemiller’s worry was certainly justified, especially after his team was tagged with back-to-back penalties that gave the Panthers a two-man advantage. The Wildcats managed to kill off the first penalty, but just as their man from the penalty box hit the ice, Central’s Dylan Zavetsky beat goalie Wyatt Malone to cut the deficit in half.

West York s Tyler Gettel, right, moves past a Cedar Crest defender to score a goal in Wednesday night s Tier 2 game. The Bulldogs suffered a 12-6 loss. (Bil Bowden photo)

“That was a lot of time on the penalty kill,” Winemiller said. “They had already scored two power-play goals against us, so I was definitely worried.”

Dallastown was still down a man after that goal, but got a little relief when a Central player was called for interference with 2:15 remaining. That call evened things up for a little under a minute, but gave the Wildcats a big break.

“That penalty really saved us,” Dallastown captain Grant Duvall said. “I don’t know how much longer we could have kept up with the penalty kill.”

Werner’s goal came on a breakaway after the Wildcats cleared the puck out of their zone. The Dallastown forward corralled the puck along the board and beat a Central defender on his way to the net before chipping the puck past Panther goalie Bryan Briggs.

“That was huge,” said Duvall, who played despite suffering from a cold.

The victory was a huge morale boost for a Dallastown side that has seen their York rivals ascend to prominence atop the CPIHL Tier 1 standings the past few years.

“It was pretty big for us,” said Duvall, who finished with two assists. “They’ve been pretty good the past few years and they’re still pretty good this year. They have a lot of lines of forwards that can really skate and handle the puck.”

Malone was solid in the net for Dallastown, recording 28 saves.

“He was really one of the main reasons that we won,” Duvall said.

Dallastown rallied from a 1-0 deficit by getting three goals in a three-plus minute stretch late in the first-period. Ben Kelkis, Joe Didusch and Jacob Mitchell found the net over the spurt to give the Wildcats and their fans something to cheer about.

“That was the game right there,” said Winemiller, a former Wildcat player and first-year head coach. “If we didn’t get that there was no way we would have won.”

Kelkis added a second goal in the second period, while both Didusch and Mitchell also recorded assists.

Central got power-play goals from Collin Potter and Adam Linker. The Panthers managed to score once in all three periods. Briggs finished the night with 16 saves.

Dallastown improved to 1-0-1 on the season, while Central fell to 1-1.

– Reach Ryan Vandersloot at

By RYAN VANDERSLOOT For The York Dispatch

There were a number of reasons why the Central York ice hockey team finished on top of the Central Penn Interscholastic Hockey League Tier 1 regular-season standings this season.

Playing smart hockey was probably the biggest of them.

Monday night in the losers’ bracket finals of the Bears’ Cup playoffs, the Panthers failed to play smart when it counted after taking a 3-1 lead late in the second period at the York City Ice Rink.

The Panthers allowed their emotions to get the best of them and, as a result, saw their hopes of defending their 2011 Bears’ Cup victory disappear against visiting Cumberland Valley.

A scrum in front of the net resulted in a five-minute major penalty called against the Panthers for a punch thrown by a Central player. To make matters worse, another penalty just a minute later resulted in the Panthers playing two men down for a full two minutes.

The Eagles saw a golden opportunity and took full advantage. In the opening minutes of the third period, CV cashed in by scoring three power-play goals to retake the lead. The visitors then iced things off with 46.5 seconds left when Collin Bradley completed a hat trick with an empty-net tally, giving the Eagles a 5-3 victory.

“They took advantage of our dumb plays,” Central’s Kenny Gross said. “They deserved to win more than us. It’s that simple.”

CV took the lead in the first period on Bradley’s first tally of the night — one of four power-play goals for the Eagles.

The Panthers appeared to turn things around with a big second period. Dylan Zavetsky knotted the game with a score with 7:42 left in the second before Central scored a pair of power-play goals by Jared Williamson and Stehl Taylor to make it a 3-1 contest with 1:37 left in the stanza.

But just when it looked like the Panthers were in command, the wheels started to fall off.

Seconds later, Central found itself down a man for five minutes after a Panther player was caught throwing a punch. That infraction resulted in a five-minute major penalty and a game misconduct.

Just 60 seconds later, they went down another man when a Central player was penalized for a high stick with just nine seconds left in the period.

That set up an epic third period for the visiting Eagles. John Gandolfo scored just nine seconds into the period to cut the deficit to one. And then 45 seconds after that, CV tied the contest on Bradley’s second power-play goal of the night.

With the five-minute major winding down, the Eagles took the lead when Shane Sellar beat Central goalie Tallen Stroman with just more than 12 minutes left.

“It was our fault,” said Gross, whose team managed just three shots in the final period. “We can’t blame anyone else but ourselves.”

The Panthers had a chance when they earned a power play midway through the third, but failed to capitalize.

Then, with the game winding down, Central pulled Stroman in an all-out effort to find the equalizer, but the Eagles cleared the puck out of the zone and Bradley corralled it and buried it into the empty net.

Drought over for CV coach: The victory set off a wild celebration on the CV side and was particularly satisfying for Head Coach Mike Lombardi. The longtime Eagles coach has never made it to the Bears’ Cup finals at Hersheypark Arena during his tenure and was overjoyed to finally break his drought.

“I’ve been coaching here for 14 years in the league,” he said. “And I’ve been wanting to get to that final Bears’ Cup game so bad. Just to be there makes me so happy.”

The Eagles, who finished fifth in the regular-season standings, will face third-seeded Hershey at 9 p.m. Friday night. Hershey sent CV to the losers’ bracket last week, 4-3.

Flyers’ Cup up next: While the Panthers’ quest to win back-to-back Bears’ Cup titles has now ended, Gross and company will have little time to lament their loss. Central is back on the ice Tuesday night at 8:15 to face Downingtown East at IceLine Arena for the Flyers’ Cup playoffs. The Panthers enter the single-elimination tournament as the No. 10 seed.

“It might be tough (to recover from this), but I think it might be a good thing that we’re playing again tomorrow,” Gross said.

– Reach Ryan Vandersloot at

York Dispatch Staff Report

The Central York Panthers are still alive in their attempt to defend their Bears Cup championship.

The Panthers downed Wilson 4-3 on Wednesday night at the York City Ice Arena in a Central Pennsylvania Interscholastic Hockey League Tier 1 losers’ bracket playoff battle.

Top-seeded Central will now wait for the result of Friday’s winners’ bracket game between third-seeded Hershey and fifth-seeded Cumberland Valley. The Panthers will face the loser of that game on either Sunday or Monday.

On Wednesday, the Panthers dominated the action, outshooting fourth-seeded Wilson, 40-23, but could never put away Wilson.

Kenny Gross had two goals and an assist to lead the winners, while Nathaniel Troupe added a goal and an assist and Jared Williamson had two assists. Dylan Zavetsky had Central’s other score. Tallen Stroman made 20 saves to get the win in goal.


York Dispatch Staff Report

West York suffered its first Central Penn Interscholastic Hockey League Tier 2 loss of the season on Monday night.

The Bulldogs fell to Annville-Cleona, 3-2, at Klick-Lewis Arena.

Alex Doyle scored both goals for West York, off assists from Klayton Garman. Jordan Lombardo made 15 saves in a losing cause.

West York had already clinched the CPIHL Tier 2 title. The Bulldogs finished regular-season Tier 2 action at 17-1-0. Annville-Cleona improved to 11-6-1.


YORK SUBURBAN/YORK IRISH 4, KENNARD-DALE/ SUSQUEHANNOCK 2: In a CPIHL Tier 3 game at York City Ice Arena, Connor McCormick had two goals and an assist to lead Suburban/Irish. Evan Maher and Alex Smith also scored for the winners. Smith also had an assist. Grahame Slonaker and Kiah Wood scored for K-D/Susquehannock. Nathan Gladfelter got the win in goal, making 33 saves. Alex Prego had 42 saves in a losing effort. Suburban/Irish improved to 10-7-1, while K-D/Susquehannock fell to 7-10-1.

MIFFLIN 5, CENTRAL YORK 1: In a non-league contest, Central York, the CPIHL Tier 1 champions at 16-0-2, couldn’t get the best of Mifflin. No other details were available.

York Dispatch Staff Report

Central York completed its Central Penn Interscholastic Hockey League Tier 1 regular season unbeaten on Wednesday night.

The champion Panthers downed York County rival Dallastown, 4-2, at the York City Ice Arena to finish the regular season at 16-0-2.

Collin Potter, Nathaniel Troupe, Adam Linker and Kenny Gross had Central’s goals. Troupe also had an assist.

Joseph Didusch and Jacob Mitchell scored for Dallastown.

Tallen Stroman got the win in goal, making 12 saves. Wyatt Malone had 20 saves for Dallastown.

Dallastown fell to 4-9-4.


WEST YORK 12, RED LAND 8: The Bulldogs improved to 17-0-0 in CPIHL Tier 2 action.

West York has already clinched the Tier 2 regular-season title.

Klayton Garman led the Bulldogs with five goals and five assists, while Matt Doyle added three goals and four assists and Alex Doyle had two goals and two assists. Tyler Gettel added three assists for the winners. Kim Holbert and Bradley Randt also had West York goals.

Jordan Lombardo make 22 saves to get the win.

York Dispatch Staff Report

West York improved to 16-0-0 in Central Penn Interscholastic Hockey League Tier 2 action on Monday night with a 7-4 victory over Palmyra at the York City Ice Rink.

The Bulldogs have already clinched the Tier 2 regular-season title.

Klayton Garman (three goals, one assist), Alex Doyle (two goals, one assist) and Matt Doyle (three assists) led West York. Zach Smith and Darren Lint had the Bulldogs’ other scores.

Jordan Lombardo made 19 saves to get the win in goal.

Palmyra fell to 0-16-1.


YORK SUBURBAN/YORK IRISH 8, CONESTOGA VALLEY/LANCASTER CATHOLIC 0: At York, Connor McCormick (four goals, three assists) and Alex Smith (two goals, four assists) powered Suburban/Irish to the CPIHL Tier 3 win.

Alex Murter (one goal, one assist), Stephen Leonardi (one assist) and Evan Maher (one goal) also had points for the winners. Nathan Glatfelter got the shutout in goal, making 23 saves.

Suburban/Irish improved to 9-7-1, while CV/Lancaster Catholic fell to 0-17-0.