Plano East Varsity came into the 2023 State Tournament ready to repeat as State Champions, ranked 2nd overall and first in their bracket.
In the first game of the campaign Friday night, PESH gave up an early goal to Klein forcing them them battle back in the 2nd and 3rd periods to come out on top 4-1. Goals from Bawcom (2), Levita, and Lipe.
The next day saw PESH playing the first game of the day against Frisco West. PESH roared out of the gate with two 1st period goals, and was in control the entire game, finishing 6-2. Goals from Bawcom (3), Willis, Levita, and Lowry.
In the second game of the day, the Panthers faced a physical Birdville team in a rematch of last year's championship game. This one turned out much the same as PESH was in control the entire game, winning 7-1 to send the team to the Championship game on Sunday. Goals from Bawcom (3), Hardy, Korner, Lipe, and Lowry.
Sunday's Championship game was a matchup of clearly the two best teams in the division, with Plano East vs Memorial West. The teams traded blows through the first, with PESH eventually scoring midway through the 1st period. It remained tight through the 2nd period when Brady Lowry scored his second of the game to put PESH up 2-0. Memorial never backed down and fought back hard to score twice in the 3rd period to send the game into OT.
In the overtime period, PESH looked to have a slight advantage, controlling the puck in Memorial's ice. Mathis Lipe took a shot from the point that found it's way past the defense and fooled the Memorial goalie, ending the game and sending the team into pure celebration.
This year's tournament capped off an incredible run to once again see Plano East Hockey crowned as State Champions. Stellar team play led by Team Captain Cade Willis and points leader Skylar Bawcom. They were backed up by the stellar goalkeeping tandem of Luke Fay and Micah Laird.
Congratulations to the players and coaches for winning their second straight state title!
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Varsity opened their Texas State Tournament campaign Friday against Mansfield, coming back from being down 2-0 to win 3-2 on goals from Bawcom (2) and Levita.
On Saturday morning, PESH battled Prosper, once coming back from a deficit before making a comeback to win 4-2. Goals from Criss (2), Keith, and Lowry.
Saturday afternoon had the team facing Coppell. The comeback kids once again had to come back from a 2-1 deficit before running away with it in the 2nd period, finishing with a 7-3 victory to send the team into the Championship game against Birdville. Goals from Criss (3), Bawcom (2), Keith, and Willis.
Sunday morning saw a battle of unbeatens facing off for the State 2A Championship. The high powered PESH vs the big, hard hitting Birdville. No comebacks were necessary in this one as 3 first period goals gave the Panthers a 3-1 lead, and they never looked back, finally taking the Championship game 6-3. Goals from Bawcom (2), Loncar, Keith (2), and Morrow contributed to the victory.
The Championship run was led by the top line of Captain Jud Criss, Skylar Bawcom, and Aaron Keith, who combined for an incredible 36 points for the tournament. Goalkeeper Micah Laird finished with an outstanding 1.82 goals against average and a .938 save percentage.
Plano East came into the tournament ranked number 1 in their division and lived up that ranking by going undefeated all in regulation wins on the way to the championship. Congratulations to all the players and coaches who have put in such hard work. What an incredible achievement!
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