Blackhawk Cougars Hockey Playoff Quarterfinals recap for 2/23/14

Monday, February 24, 2014 | 11:18 AM

The Blackhawk Cougars were a much better road team during the regular season than at home, Sunday night was no different in the opening game of the PIHL Open Cup playoffs as the 5th seeded Cougars knocked off the 4th seeded Trojans at the Mercyhurst Ice Center.  Robert Swinderman scored twice and goalie Cory Steinle stopped 28 of 30 shots to advance to the next round on Tuesday night.

Steinle was tested in the early going as McDowell controlled the first five minutes of the game, including a 1:30 shift spend entirely in the Blackhawk defensive end. The goalie also stopped top scorer Mitchell Reichert on a breakaway and shut down Jacob King on a break with 3:19 left in the first. Blackhawk went on the man advantage as Matthew Lorei went off for slashing. Devon Gabauer took a blast from the blue line, his shot was deflected by Grant Rombold past Even Szablewski for a 1-0 Blackhawk lead with 69 seconds left in the opening stanza.

McDowell got on the board early in the second as Vincent Dellecurti took advantage of a giveaway, scoring shorthanded. The Trojans took the lead 4 minutes later as Connor Murdock tipped in a Lorei rebound. But Blackhawk tied the game again late in the period as Kyle Schaefer pounded a shot on goal, Swinderman was on the doorstep and being held, he was still able to get a stick on the puck and found the back of the cage.

Blackhawk was able to kill two penalties in the third and Steinle made a great blocker save that he was able to tip to his glove hand and secure with just under 9 minutes to go. The Cougars got the go ahead goal with 5 minutes to play, again Gabauer put it on the net, Rombold and Swinderman each had chances to put it in, Swinderman got the last stick on puck and across the goal line for the 3-2 lead.

The Cougars iced the puck with 1:45 left, McDowell coach Bill Wager called timeout, going to 6 skaters. Steinle made two pad saves in the final 45 seconds that were incredible. Austin Javens found the empty net with 12 seconds left, the Cougars sealing the win.

Swinderman said the focus was to put the pressure on McDowell, by getting the puck deep and forcing turnovers in the neutral zone. McDowell defeated Blackhawk 5-3 on Wednesday night at the Beaver County Ice Arena. Steinle gave credit to his defense, getting back and clearing the zone.

Blackhawk outshot McDowell 32-30, the Cougars were 1-3 on the power play, McDowell was 0-3. The Cougars will play Morgantown in the next round, that game will be Tuesday night in West Virginia, time to be determined.

Scoring Summary:

Blackhawk Cougars 1 – 1 – 2  = 4

Erie McDowell Trojans 0 – 2 – 0  = 2

1st Period:

B:  Grant Rombold (1)  PPG (Devon Gabauer)  1:09

2nd Period: 

M:  Vincent Dellecurti (1)  SHG (Matt Perry)  13:34

M:  Connor Murdock (1)  (Matthew Lorei)  9:18

B:  Robert Swinderman (1)  (Kyle Schaefer)  2:14

3rd Period:

B:  Swinderman (2)  (Rombold/Gabauer)  5:00

B:  Austin Javens (1)  ENG  (Unassisted)  :12

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