Parkland ice hockey team has been hot all season and has reached Flyers Cup semis

The Trojans are in the Flyers Cup semis for the second straight year; will face Central Bucks South on Thursday night.

While the Parkland girls and boys basketball teams posted PIAA tournament wins this weekend, another bunch of Trojans created their own excitement.

Parkland's powerhouse ice hockey team defeated North Penn, 5-2, on Friday to advance to the Flyers Cup semifinals for the second straight year.

This is a club team that is not funded by the Parkland School District, but yet these guys have generated a large, enthusiastic fan base and garnered support both inside their building and the community.

The level of anticipation only figures to grow this week.

The Lehigh Valley Scholastic Hockey League champs for the fifth consecutive year and the eighth time in 11 years, the Trojans will meet Central Bucks South at 9 p.m. Thursday at the Warwick Ice Rink.

Win that one, and it's on to the March 18 Flyers Cup final against either Souderton or Council Rock South.

And win that one and it's on to Penn State for the state championship against the Penguins Cup winner on March 22.

But first things first, and for Parkland (22-1-1) and that's winning on Thursday night. The Trojans will need to execute as they did in beating North Penn and avenging its only loss of the season.

They used excellent defense and superb goaltending by Jordan Lorah (31 saves), not to mention two goals apiece by Connor Breinich and Ben Zager to register the biggest win of the season.

"There's no greater satisfaction for a coaching staff than to lay a plan out from the beginning of the year to the end and have your team peaking at the right time," said coach Gerry Chandik, whose team has won 44 straight league games.

"We were in that room before the game and said 'This is what you've got to do' and two hours later we went back in that room and said 'Guys, that was a masterpiece and exactly what we wanted.' It gives you goose bumps. It's a tremendous feeling."

Parkland made it to the Flyers Cup final in 2013 before losing to Cherokee, N.J., and because the Flyers Cup champ was from New Jersey, the Trojans got to represent the eastern half of Pennsylvania in the state finals.

However, that also resulted in a loss and put a somewhat sour ending on a 20-2-1 season.

The returning players from last year's squad are looking for a better ending this time.

"We have to finish the job," captain Ryan Dumbach said. "Last year we made it pretty far, but we didn't win any hardware, so this year we want to come home with some more trophies."

The difference last year was the Trojans may have caught teams by surprise. It was a program that had never won a Flyers Cup game before and was routed 10-3 by Conestoga in the first round of the 2012 tournament.

There's no sneaking up on anybody this time around.

Parkland has established itself as a premier program and now gets an opponent's attention instantly.

"We made a name for ourselves last year and everybody knows who were are," Dumbach said. "We're not an underdog team. All of the teams are coming for us now."

The Trojans, though, have been up to the challenge. The disappointment of last year's ending has provided fuel to keep the motivation at a high level.

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