SCH sophomore Conor Cook draws a bead on the goal cage during last Wednesday’s home game at Wissahickon Skating Club. (Photo by Tom Utescher)

by Tom Utescher

In their first game of the new year, Springside Chestnut Hill Academy’s Ice Devils took a 2-0 lead in the opening period last Wednesday on goals by sophomore Ethan Gyllenhaal and junior Hayden Stephan.

Visiting Academy of the New Church slowly climbed back into contention thanks to 12th-grade twins Erik and Daniel Lindrooth. Getting on the board in the second period, the Lions then tied the game with under six minutes remaining in round three.

Before long, the clock cut into the final minute and it appeared this bout at the Wissahickon Skating Club was headed into overtime, still at 2-2. One of three Penn Charter students who play for the SCH squad, senior Matt Kestenbaum, found the net with half-a-minute to go to give the home team a 3-2 victory.

The Ice Devils improved to 1-0-1 on the season, having opened their 2017-18 campaign at WSC back in early December with a come-from-behind 3-3 tie against Pennington School.

For the SCH program, the long coaching tenure of Phil Pulley has come to an end and the squad is now in its first season under new skipper Justin Grevious.

Originally from Muskegon, Mich., the 28-year old Grevious played goalie in several pro leagues right out of high school, including the All American Hockey League, the East Coast Hockey League and the International Hockey League. Moving into a coaching role and settling in Philadelphia seven years ago, he has been a highly successful junior hockey coach. Last winter he led the Philadelphia Revolution Under-19 team to the championship in the Elite Division of the Eastern Hockey League.

Blue Devils goalie Liam Peterson watches the puck go past him, knowing that the shot was going wide to the left of the cage. (Photo by Tom Utescher)

Last Wednesday the SCH squad was the aggressor at the outset, and four minutes into the action Gyllenhaal got the Ice Devils on the board with an assist from Jonathan Brady, a Penn Charter freshman. The count would rise to 2-0 with 6:46 remaining in the opening period, when Stephan brought the puck across the blue line on the right wing and drove it into the Lions’ den.

Shorthanded later in the period, SCH gave up some time of possession, but no goals. In the second round, two of the toughest shots SCH keeper Liam Peterson faced came back-to-back about five-and-a-half minutes in, and the sophomore turned them both aside.

However, with just over half-a-minute to go in the period, ANC’s Erik Lindrooth took the goose egg off of the visitors’ side of the scoreboard.

The Devils pressured for an insurance goal in the early minutes of the third frame, but it was the Lions would score the first in the final period.

The other Lindrooth brother, Daniel, tied it up at 2-2 with 5:58 left to play. Despite attacks by both teams, it looked as though the contest might proceed into overtime, but the Devils’ Penn Charter connection came through with the game winner. From the right, Brady passed the puck across the face of the goal and Kestenbaum was in position at the far post to ram it past ANC senior keeper Drake Willie with 29.9 ticks to go.

Overtime was avoided, and the Ice Devils had their first victory in the books.