HG Prep Takes a Bite Out of Big Macs, Win PA Cup AAA Title
Saturday, March 21, 2015 | 10:07 PM
In the East-West rubber match of the 2015 Pennsylvania Cup Hockey Championships, Flyers Cup Champion Holy Ghost Prep dropped Penguins Cup Champion Canon-McMillan, 6-4, in the AAA title game on Saturday evening at Penn State’s Pegula Ice Arena.
A big second period lifted the Firebirds to the victory over the Big Macs, who last appeared in the State Championship in 2010, when they fell to Cardinal O’Hara.
The game started slow and methodically, with both teams anticipating their opponents first mistake. After drawing an early man advantage, Canon-McMillan would cash in with the game’s first goal as Jack Clendaniel would take an Austin Tonkovich pass and score on an unassuming shot that deflected off of the glove of Holy Ghost Prep goalie Alex Toy, giving the Big Macs and early 1-0 lead just 3:34 into the game.
After failing to convert on a power play of their own, Holy Ghost Prep would even the game at the 9:12 mark when Nicholas Bohatiuk took a Robert Freiling pass and let go of a shot that snuck past Canon-McMillan goalie Conor Hartnet, tying the game at 1-1. The goal was the first allowed by Hartnett since the PIHL Penguins Cup Quarterfinals, a streak that lasted over 123 minutes.
A bevy of penalties and physical play ended the period with the game even at 1-1, but the second period would belong to the Firebirds.
After Canon-McMillan’s Colman Slain went to the penalty box for a 10-minute misconduct and boarding minor early in the frame, Holy Ghost Prep’s Kyle Peters took a wrist shot and netted a power play goal for the Firebirds at the 1:37 mark, putting the Firebirds up 2-1.
Midway through the second period, it appeared that Canon-McMillan had tied the game with an Austin Tonkovich goal power play goal. But, after a discussion, the goal was disallowed due to a kicking motion on the puck. That break was all that Holy Ghost Prep would need, scoring two more goals in the period.
Nicholas Bohatiuk would get the first during a 4-on-4 situation, skating through three defenders and putting a wrist shot past Hartnet at 11:51 of the frame, extending the Firebirds’ lead to 3-1.
With a chance to cut into the lead after Holy Ghost Prep’s Robert Ovecka went to the penalty box for holding, it would be the Firebirds who would come up with the game’s biggest goal. Kyle Peters would get his second goal of the period, a shorthanded wrist shot goal set up by Nolan Jones, pushing their lead to 4-1 with just 42 seconds left before intermission.
After spending the majority of the early parts of the third period in their own end, the defensive effort would pay off for Canon-McMillan when, at the 5:18 mark, Colman Slain would work a puck out of the corner and sneak a shot by Taylor, cutting the Firebirds lead to 4-2. After Bohatiuk went to the box for unsportsmanlike conduct, Tonkovich would take a pass from Clendaniel and throw a low shot at the goal, which trickled past to make it a one-goal game and breathe some life into the Big Macs’ fans.
After Holy Ghost Prep used their timeout, Bohatiuk would respond by finishing a 2-on-1 rush with Freiling at 13:06, pushing the Firebirds’ lead to 5-3. The goal gave Bohatiuk the hat trick in the game.
But, just over two minutes later and with their goalie pulled, the Big Macs cut the Firebirds’ lead to one on a power play goal by Zach Mansmann, bringing the game to 5-4.
However, the icing was put on the cake by the Firebirds at the 16:32 mark, when scoring an empty net goal by Bohatiuk scored his fourth goal of the contest into an empty net, giving Holy Ghost Prep the 6-4 win and their first Pennsylvania Cup Championship.
Bohatiuk finished with four goals and an assist, while Peters added two goals and a helper for Holy Ghost Prep. Tonkovich and Clendaniel each scored a goal and had two assists for the Big Macs.
The win was the second of the day for the Flyers Cup Champions, as West Chester Bayard Rustin dropped Mars in the Class A Championship. Cathedral Prep brought home the PIHL’s lone state title of 2015 by defeating Downingtown East 3-1.
Score by Period:
Holy Ghost Prep Firebirds : 1 – 3 – 2 = 6
Canon-McMillan Big Macs : 1 – 0 – 3 = 4
Holy Ghost Prep: 33
Canon-McMillan – Jack Clendaniel (powerplay)(Austin Tonkovich), 3:34
Holy Ghost Prep – Nicholas Bohatiuk(Robert Freiling), 9:12
Holy Ghost Prep – Kyle Peters(powerplay) (unassisted), 1:37
Holy Ghost Prep – Nicholas Bohatiuk(2)(unassisted), 11:51
Holy Ghost Prep – Kyle Peters(2)(shorthanded)(Nolan Jones, Nicholas Bohatiuk), 16:18
Canon-McMillan – Coleman Slain (Shane Morgan), 5:18
Canon-McMillan – Austin Tonkovich (powerplay)(Jack Clendaniel, Conor Hartnet), 11:40
Holy Ghost Prep – Nicholas Bohatiuk(3) (Robert Freiling), 13:06
Canon-McMillan – Zachary Mansmann (power play) (Jack Clendaniel, Austin Tonkovich), 14:23
Holy Ghost Prep – Nicholas Bohatiuk (4) (empty net) (Kyle Peters), 16:32
Holy Ghost Prep: Alexander Taylor(27 Shots, 23 Saves)
Canon-McMillan: Conor Hartnett(32 Shots, 27 Saves)
More Hockey• Balance of hockey power in South Hills shifts to Thomas Jefferson, Baldwin
• Gordon, McEnroe lead the way for Sewickley Academy hockey
• Shaler hockey shifts focus to development after missing playoffs
• PIHL standings through Feb. 28, 2021
• Opponents try, and fail, to knock North Allegheny top scorer off his game