It has been a very successful school year so far for Parkland High School athletes.
The highlights have included District 11 championship football, cross-country, tennis, swimming, soccer teams; a league, district and state runnerup girls volleyball squad that featured All-Americans Kelly Robertson and Taylor Krause and a National Coach of the Year in Mike Krause; a two-time state champion wrestler in Ethan Lizak and a district champion boys basketball team that's still playing in the state tournament.
There's another Parkland team that is making its own championship history, although it may not receive the notoriety of some of the others.
That's the Trojans ice hockey team which won the Lehigh Valley Scholastic Hockey League title for the fourth straight year and is still alive in the prestigious Flyers Cup tournament.
Parkland defeated Abington 3-1 for its first-ever Flyers Cup victory last week and will face Downingtown East at 8:30 tonight at the Ice Line Rink in West Chester in a quarterfinal-round matchup.
"We believe we are the first Lehigh Valley team to win a regular Flyers Cup tournament game," said Parkland coach Gerry Chandik. "Northampton, I was told, won a play-in game a few years ago, but this was a regular tournament game, so this is a big thing for the Valley and Parkland. It's very exciting."
Parkland is a No. 11 seed and Downingtown East is a No. 3 seed, but Chandik believes his kids have a shot.
"I know we belong; we just have to go out and execute and perform like we can," Chandik said.
If Parkland can manage three more wins to take the Flyers Cup on March 19, the Trojans would then be considered East champs and would play a Western champion, the Penguins Cup winner, for the overall state title. That would be on March 23.
"It's one game at a time, but I gave those dates out to everybody and told them to expect to be busy on those dates," Chandik said.
The travel leagues often become more important to kids than their scholastic teams, but Chandik sought a commitment from his players and it has paid off in the form of an 18-0-1 season to this point that included a sweep of Emmaus in the LVSHL title series.
"The kids have responded tremendously to the team aspect," Chandik said. "I've been asked after games about what I think about the kids who scored the goals for us, and I'll tell you what, I don't even know who scored the goals. It's one team going for a 'W' and they've been working to get it. This has been just a great core group and kids who are having a good time together."
Most of the kids have come the Parkland hockey system, many of them for seven years or more..
And since this is considered a "pure team," all team members are Parkland students.
Chandik's son, Nicolas, and Brett McHale, lead the team in scoring with 53 points apiece. McHale has 33 goals and 20 assists and Chandik has 18 goals and 35 assists.
Ryan Dumbach and Morgan Bensinger are also among the leaders with 26 points; 14 goals and 12 assists by Dumbach and 12 goals and 14 assists by Bensinger.
But coach Chandik says that while he enjoys the teamwork on offense, he hates giving up goals even more.
"I want our goalie to be so bored that he can count flakes of ice during a game," he said. "Our guys know that. They think defense first and put the extra effort in."
That approach paid off as Parkland gave up one or less goals in 11 of the 18 league games they played, two or less in 14 games.
But the kids have a generous side.