MANCHESTER — Sometimes, a team such as two-time defending PIAA Class 3-A state champion Lower Dauphin can get a little too much respect from opponents.
Typically, that's a bad approach to take against high-caliber teams.
That may have been the case Monday evening when No. 6 seed West York squared off vs. the second-seeded Falcons in a District 3 Class 3-A semifinal at Northeastern High School.
Giving LD a little too much room to operate, the Falcons took full advantage in the first half against the Bulldogs. Blake Cassel scored a pair of goals in the first half, which was more than enough for the Falcons en route to a 4-0 victory.
Despite the setback, West York (now 17-4-2 overall) will have a chance to sew up a PIAA berth Saturday in the District 3 Class 3-A third-place game at a time and location yet to be determined against No. 9 seed Mechanicsburg (11-9-1). The Wildcats fell 3-1 to No. 4 seed Hershey (16-3-1) in the other 3-A semifinal on Monday.
“That’s just a fantastic team,” Bulldogs coach Ben Reiber said of LD (16-2-2). “We knew that we were going to be in a bind against this team. We just wanted to be able to do the best that we could against a quality team like that.”
The Falcons showcased their talent and patience in allowing plays to develop throughout the night. Very good scoring opportunities presented themselves shortly after the opening whistle. Not long after that, it was Cassel who cashed in on a tally from inside the box just more than 11 minutes into action.
Just 13 minutes later, the Falcons got another goal from Cassel to put the York-Adams League co-champs in a real bind.
Reiber’s team never really got anything going offensively. The Bulldogs finished with two corner opportunities, a free kick and just one shot on goal.
“It just seems like it’s too many games in a short period of time,” Reiber said in reference to his team’s three recent games in the league tournament, in addition two district games last week. “And that just really hurts us.”
Playing without midfielder Jake Altimore was an obstacle as well. Altimore suffered a concussion on a hit from behind in last Thursday’s 1-0 triumph over rival Susquehannock in the quarterfinals. Altimore likely won’t be cleared to return to play until next week.
“Losing Jake was obviously big,” Reiber said. “But our mantra has always been 'next-man-up,' but unfortunately, we have a few other lingering injuries to deal with as well. That’s hurting us. So we’re hoping that this little bit of time will give us some extra time to be able to overcome some of that.”
The Bulldogs won’t play again until Saturday, with a first-ever trip in program history to the state tournament on the line.
“We’ll have to get prepared for our next game,” Reiber said.
Trinity 2, Littlestown 1: At Littlestown, the home team saw its 2018 season come to a close with a District 3 Class 2-A quarterfinal loss.
Fourth-seeded Littlestown finished 14-6. Fifth-seeded Trinity improved to 11-7. Briaunna Kress had Littlestown's score.
Lower Dauphin 9, Central York 3: At York City Ice Arena, Central York lost its Central Penn Interscholastic Hockey League Bears Division opener.
Sean Barba had two Central goals, while Carter McCormack had the other. Ryan Trujilla and Thomas Knapp had assists. Conner McCaffrey made 32 Central saves.
West Shore 4, Dallastown 1: At York City Ice Arena, Dallastown fell in its CPIHL Viola Division opener.
Quinn Eckert scored the Dallastown goal, off an assist from Duncan Webber. Sami Saarinen made 32 Dallastown saves.
Reach Ryan Vandersloot at email@example.com.