Big Burst Helps Beaver Down Carrick to Win PIHL Division 2 Title

Monday, March 14, 2016 | 10:35 PM

Things went according to plan for Carrick (15-7-1) through the first half of the 2016 PIHL Division 2 Championship at UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex in Cranberry on Monday night. But then Beaver (21-2-0) exploded for three goals in a span of 1:17 late in the second period and rolled from there to a 5-2 victory and its first gold medal since 2001 as a member of Class AA.

After a scoreless first, Jacob Sakulsky got the last stick on a loose puck in the Bobcats’ crease, and the Cougars led 1-0 just 3:04 into the second frame. It was almost a mirror image of how Carrick took down Meadville in the semifinal round, being outshot, but getting the first goal, and the defense clamping down from there. Ironically, the tables would begin to turn following a good defensive sequence from Beaver, specifically a stifling penalty kill midway through the hockey game.

After failing to beat Carrick goalie Nathan Norkevicus straight on to that point in the game, Donnie Morgan threw a puck out from behind the net, and Luke Cahill roofed a one-timer over the goalie’s shoulder to knot the game at 1-1 with 4:55 left before intermission. The score did not stay tied for long, though, as Tanner Palocsik caught another behind-the-net feed 36 second s later, this time beating Norkevicus through the five-hole. Just 40 seconds after that, it was Noah Schultz sneaking the eventual game-winner by on the short side from below the left circle, again on a pass from below the goal line by Ryan Hartman.

Up by two goals, Beaver did not come out pressing for a fourth goal early in the third, but Carrick defenseman Darren Wrzensinski gift-wrapped one for them at the 4:40 mark. A clearing attempt below his goal line bounced off the side of the cage, and Hartman pounced on the loose puck in the crease. Tyler Wolf pulled the Cougars back within two goals less than four minutes later, though, one-timing a pass from Nicholas Manuel past Beaver goalie James Soisson. The Bobcats held on from there, and Hartman scored again from the high slot with under two minutes to play.

Beaver failed to score on its lone power play, but also held Carrick to an 0-for-4 night. The Bobcats also nearly doubled up the Cougars in shots 37-22. Credit Soisson with 20 saves in the victory while Norkevicus stopped 32 pucks in the loss. Ryan Hartman finished with three points (2 G, 1 A) while his brother Alex contributed two assists. Wolf (1 G, 1 A) and Manuel (2 A) each finished with two points.

Score by Periods:
Carrick 0-1-1=2
Beaver 0-3-2=5

Scoring Summary:
Period 1
(No scoring)

Period 2
Carrick – Jacob Sakulsky (Nicholas Manuel, Tyler Wolf), 3:04
Beaver – Luke Cahill (Donnie Morgan, Alex Hartman), 12:05
Beaver – Tanner Palocsik (Alex Hartman, Donnie Morgan), 12:41
Beaver – Noah Schultz (Ryan Hartman, Alex Hartman), 13:22

Period 3
Beaver – Ryan Hartman (unassisted), 5:40
Carrick – Tyler Wolf (Nicholas Manuel), 9:03
Beaver – Ryan Hartman (John Cahill, Alex Hartman), 15:07

Shots by Period:
Carrick 5-7-10=22
Beaver 7-20-10=37

MSA Three Stars:
#3 = Noah Schultz, Beaver (GWG)
#2 = Tyler Wolf, Carrick (1 G, 1 A)
#1 = Ryan Hartman, Beaver (2 G, 1 A)

Interview with Ryan Hartman:

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