The Vikings have hovered around .500 all season and did not figure to be in the playoff picture. Germantown Academy, which was 6-0-1 in its first seven games, has lost its last five.
The Vikings have been on a winning streak. Wood was impressive in a 7-3 victory over Cheltenham and an 8-3 win over Cherokee in its last two games. The Cherokee game was played on Jan. 25.
"We have improved quite a bit as the season went along," Archbishop Wood coach Brian Damiani said. "We have a real good No. 1 line, and our defense has been getting better. And our goaltending has been solid."
The Vikings offense is spearheaded by center Mike Yaglinski and wingers Pat Leck and Eric MacMinn. Matt Conway and Rob Hackman are featured on defense, while both Bill Burke and Kevin Martin split the goaltending chores.
"Eric has carried us offensively lately, but we've had balanced scoring for most of the season," said Damiani. "And both my goalies have played well lately. We were a long shot at the playoffs, anyway. We just want to get better."
Wood may want to get better, but the Patriots just want to get healthy.
"I can really offer no excuses - injuries are a part of the game," Germantown Academy head coach John Ioia said. "But we have had more than our share of bad luck. We had such a strong club, and the season looked to be so promising at the beginning. But now we have to patch things together and hope we can make it to the playoffs."
The patchwork Patriots were no match for powerful William Tennent (11-2-1, 23) Thursday. The Panthers routed Germantown Academy, 15-2, in a game played at the Face-Off Circle.
"The game got out of hand very early," said Ioia. "There was never a question that Tennent was very sharp, and I'm not too sure that if we had everyone there we would have been able to beat them that night."
The key Patriot players in the M.A.S.H. unit included Chris Cinquanto (strained knee), Ross Morgan (broken thumb), and Brian Vickers (sprained ankle). Damian Borichevsky, a fine defenseman, has played most of the last month with a cast on his broken thumb and is far from 100 percent.
"Tom Gurka, our goaltender, is going to have a lot on his shoulders the rest of the season," said Ioia. "He was far from his best in the loss to Tennent, but we didn't give him much help either. He can be, perhaps, the best goaltender in the league, And he is going to have to be outstanding if we are to get into the playoffs."
TENNENT BACK IN FIRST PLACE
William Tennent was out of first place in the SHSHL for exactly one week. The Panthers came up with a pair of impressive wins last week to restore them to the top spot.
Tennent (11-2-1) now has 23 points in the league standings, while Council Rock (10-1-1), which was idle last week in league play, has 21. The Rock must play Cherry Hill East, Archbishop Wood and Tennent in its remaining games, while Tennent just has the one game with Rock on Feb. 27, the final day of the regular season.
"Tennent is back," Tennent coach Joe Paul said. "The wins over Bishop Eustace (by a 13-4 score) and Germantown Academy did a lot for us gaining back our confidence. The guys really came together after our (5-1) loss to Central Bucks (Feb. 8), and we should be real tough going into the playoffs."
The Panthers rocked Germantown Academy, 15-2, on Thursday behind a 6-goal barrage from Mike Lang. Lance LaTare added 3 goals, while Paul Gregg chipped in with 2. The No. 1 line of Lang, LaTare and Gregg registered a staggering 14 assists in the game, and totaled 25 points.
"They were something to watch," Paul said. "They just exploded and that was a great sign for our team. I want us to peak going into the playoffs, and scoring all those goals against a good goalie in Gurka is a good sign for our team."
Other goal scorers for Tennent in the win over Germantown Academy were Rob Freed, with 2, and Tim Brown and Jack Reilly with 1 apiece.
"Another good sign for our team was the way that Tim Caum played," Paul said of his goaltender. "He is back from strained ligaments in his knee, and he looked very sharp."
ROCK SLIDES BY EGAN
Council Rock won a 2-1 contest over Bishop Egan in a nonleague game played at the Spectrum on Tuesday.
"I don't know if we were overwhelmed by the fact we were playing in the Spectrum or not," Council Rock head coach Paul Gilligan said. "We're getting ready for the playoffs, and we didn't play playoff-caliber hockey."
The goal scorers for the Indians were Chad Markowitz and Mike Kelly. Tom Kratchwell played a solid game in goal with 22 saves.