The PIHL Notebook is back once again on the TribLive High School Sports Network, and it will be a staple every Monday for the remainder of the 2017-18 PIHL season. With approximately two months already elapsed in the campaign, this initial installment will get you up to speed on some of the thrilling action on the ice. Of note this season, the PIHL eliminated ties, instead utilizing a three-on-three overtime period followed by a shootout.
Melting the Ice (the longest winning streaks in each classification)
Class AAA: Seneca Valley (5) – The Raiders lost their first game of the season, a 3-1 setback to Butler. Since that time, though, Seneca Valley has been perfect, with victories against Canon-McMillan, Mount Lebanon, Cathedral Prep, Central Catholic, and most recently, defending champion Peters Township. The defense and goaltending have been the key, as the Raiders have surrendered just seven goals in their six contests, by far the lowest total in Class AAA. Despite playing the fewest games in the classification so far, Seneca Valley is currently tied for fourth in the standings. The Raiders host Bethel Park tonight.
Class AA: Armstrong (6) – Much like Seneca Valley, the River Hawks dropped their first game of 2017-18, but have been unblemished since. After an ugly 9-4 defeat to Upper St. Clair, Armstrong has bounced back strong, knocking off Montour, Quaker Valley, Pine-Richland, Franklin Regional, Hempfield and Baldwin. As a result, the River Hawks sit second in the North/West Conference, behind only Quaker Valley, which has played three more games. Those teams square off again on Thursday.
Class A: Bishop McCort and Meadville (8) – The Crimson Crushers and the Bulldogs have both been perfect this season. Bishop McCort has netted 54 goals and allowed just 14 to this point, while Meadville, which captured the D2 title last year, had scored 48 and permitted 16. Bishop McCort next travels to play South Park, on Thursday, while Meadville hosts Sewickley Academy tonight.
D2: Moon (8) – The Tigers, who were among the top teams in Class AA last year, dropped to Division 2 this season as a cooperative program. The move has been a good one for Moon, as the team has outscored its opponents 37-14 and has yet to taste defeat. Ringgold has also won all of its games thus far, but the Rams have played two fewer contests. Next up for the Tigers is a home tilt against Connellsville next Monday.
Quotable (excerpt from a recent TribLive HSSN Center Stage interview)
“It’s a pretty cool experience. We’ve all been playing hockey our whole lives. It’s our first year we got to play with each other”
Trevor Gilliland of Butler, talking about playing with his brothers, Trey and Troy. For the full interview, watch here:
Slapshots on Slate (upcoming video broadcasts on the TribLive High School Sports Network)
Monday, Dec. 4: Pine-Richland at Shaler at 6 p.m. and Cathedral Prep vs Central Catholic at 8 p.m., both at the Alpha Ice Complex in Harmarville, with Sean Meyers and Lee Mohn on the call, and Chris Lackner filming – The first contest of the doubleheader pits two teams with identical records in Class AA. After dropping down from Class AAA in the offseason, Pine-Richland has won four of its first eight contests, and one of the losses came in overtime. Thus, the Rams have nine points, which is good for fifth in the North/West Division. Similarly, Shaler is 4-3-1-0, but the Titans currently reside in fourth place in the South/East Division. The Rams boast a better goal differential, at +10, while the Titans have been the hotter squad lately, winning their last three decisions. The night cap, meanwhile, pits two teams who have been among the best in Class AAA in recent years. So far, the Ramblers are one of the top teams again, as they boast 11 points in nine contests. The Vikings, though, are off to an uncharacteristically slow start, going just 2-5-1-0. This marks the second meeting between the teams in just less than two weeks, as Cathedral Prep prevailed 3-1 on Nov. 21 in Erie. In that tilt, Hayden Cox, Jordan Adams and Donovan Cullen lit the lamp for the home team, while Mac Martin provided the only goal for Central Catholic.
That’s all for the inaugural edition of the PIHL Notebook for this season, but tune in to the TribLive High School Sports Network this Wednesday for the first installment of the PIHL Power Play Show at 8 p.m. Josh Rowntree, Kevin Zielmanski and Sean Meyers will be in studio talking to guests and highlighting the top performances of the season.