Latrobe headed to PIHL semifinals after Bishop McCort is forced to forfeit quarterfinal win

Friday, March 10, 2023 | 1:16 PM

Ousted in the quarterfinals, Latrobe is suddenly back in the PIHL Penguins Cup playoffs.

The Wildcats’ season took a surprising turn when they were informed Thursday night they are Class 2A semifinalists.

The reason is because No. 3 seed Bishop McCort used an ineligible player in a 2-1 overtime victory over No. 6 Latrobe Tuesday in the quarterfinals in Johnstown.

The Wildcats (12-7-2) had packed up their equipment and called it a year, but now they will play for a spot in the Penguins Cup finals.

Bishop McCort ends the season at 14-7.

“I couldn’t believe it,” Latrobe coach Josh Werner said. “We had heard some rumors, but I said, let’s not trust it until we hear from the league.

“We have 14 seniors, so to go out there with another shot is huge for them.”

Latrobe will play No. 2 South Fayette (16-3) at 9 p.m. Tuesday at Robert Morris Island Sports Center in Moon.

A team other than Latrobe reported the player to the league. Neither the team nor the ineligible player were named.

The reporting team discovered the Crimson Crushers’ player in question did not play the necessary 50% of his team’s games — he played nine instead of 10.

“It’s a shame for the kid,” Werner said.

Bishop McCort principal Tom Smith told the Tribune-Democrat the issue was an honest mistake.

“To my knowledge, there was an oversight in the paperwork regarding a player that had only played nine games and needed to play in 10 to play in the playoff game,” Smith said. “There was some confusion dating back to October in a game that had been marked as he played in, and he didn’t.

“It’s unfortunate that it turned out this way. … Our team and our coaches wish Latrobe the best of luck in the playoffs. We sincerely apologize for the oversight. We will do our due diligence for the future.”

PIHL President Jack Kukan said he “felt terrible” to have to penalize Bishop McCort, which was unaware it had broken a rule.

“It was brought to our attention,” Kukan said. “McCort stepped up and did the right thing; they did not try to run away from it. To me, it was the ultimate in sportsmanship even though it cost them.”

Latrobe last reached the semifinals in 2020, but the Penguins Cup final never happened that year because the postseason was canceled because of the pandemic.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at or via Twitter .


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