Penguins Cup Playoffs Recaps From Monday 2/29

Monday, February 29, 2016 | 11:47 PM

It happens every four years. Leap Year. An extra day in the month of February. The PIHL took advantage of that rare 29th day in the second month of the year with a February start to the high school hockey postseason. A pair of First Round games in Class AA along with Quarterfinals contests in Class AAA, Class AA, Class A and Division II. Here are recaps from all seven opening night contests as the curtain rises in the 2016 Penguins Cup Playoffs.

A special thanks to Steve Nagler, Kevin Zielmanski, Don Rebel, Matt Vandriak, Bob Orkwis, Greg Kuntz and Josh Rowntree for their help with these recaps.


Pittsburgh Central Catholic Vikings 6 – Canon-McMillan Big Macs 3 
The defending Penguins’ Cup Champion Canon-MacMillan Big Macs found themselves having a tougher row to hoe to get back to the title as they came in as the #7 team in the Varsity AAA draw against a much-improved #2 Central Catholic Vikings team.  The Vikings wasted no time getting on the board as Ethan Farber scored just :30 in on the first shot of the game.  Nearly 5 minutes later, Jake Tepe turned a great defensive play while shorthanded into a breakaway opportunity and beat CM netminder Conor Hartnett to give the Vikes a 2-0 lead.  3 minutes after that, Ryan Haag scored, and PCC had a commanding 3-0 lead after 1.  The Macs established the forecheck to start the 2nd period and peppered PCC’s Nate Cava with shot after shot.  They gained a power play at the 2:53 mark, and just 7 seconds into the man-advantage. Adam Czartorski got CM on to the scoresheet.  Just when the Macs were starting to build some momentum, however, the Vikes answered with a power play goal of their own as Mac Martin found the back of the net thanks to a great feed from Farber.  The score remained 4-1 after 2 periods of play.  While PCC went to protect its 3-goal lead to start the 3rd, that strategy nearly backfired as Canon-Mac got goals from Vincent Lavorgna and Lucas Lavella to pull to within 1.  A costly turnover 4 minutes later. however, in the defensive zone put the puck on the stick of PCC’s Carlo Bertoni, who beat Hartnett to restore a 2-goal cushion.  CM pulled Hartnett to gain the extra attacker, but the empty net worked to the Vikings’ advantage as a neutral-zone turnover led to a breakaway for Ryan Haag, who buried the puck in the CM net to seal the 6-3 win and a berth in the Semifinals, thus eliminating the defending Penguins’ Cup Champions.  Central Catholic will have a 9-day layoff as it awaits the winner of the #3-#6 matchup between Erie Cathedral Prep and Seneca Valley.  Canon-Mac’s season comes to an end at 8-10-3.  PCC’s record now stands at 13-5-3.


Baldwin Highlanders 4 – Hampton Talbots 3 
Kenny Dee scored a hat-trick to lead Baldwin to a 4-3 road victory over Hampton in this PIHL Class AA First Round matchup at the Baierl Ice Complex in Warrendale. Dee snapped a wrist shot from the left wing boards past Hampton net minder Connor Andrews to put Baldwin on top 1-0 3:28 into the game. Tyler Rush poked home a rebound: 52 later to make it a 2-0 start for the Highlanders. Justin Weinbrenner scored his 24th goal of the season for Hampton at 6:20 of the second period to cut the lead to 2-1 before Dee scored the game’s next two goals. His second goal was the most spectacular of the contest. He blocked as Josh Jan shot in his own zone and skated the other way on a breakaway. As he stickhandled in on Andrews, he made a move to the backhand and then drew the puck back to the forehand between his legs before sliding it into the net to give Baldwin a 3-1 lead 1:32 after Weinbrenner’s goal. The hat trick goal was way less impressive but equally as important for the Highlanders. With Baldwin on the power play Dee dumped the puck towards the Hampton zone from just inside the red line. The dump in was deflected just outside of the Talbots blue line and slid through the five hole of Andrews at 12:08 of the second period to make the score 4-1. It turns out, that goal was the game winner, as Hampton freshman Justin Adamski would score two third period goals, the first a shorthanded goal 1:35 into the period after a misplay by Baldwin goalie Cole Shannon and the second on a rebound with just 1.5 remaining in the game. Adamski finished his freshman season with 19 goals for Hampton, as the Talbots end the campaign with a record of (12-10-1). Shannon picked up his 7th win of the season in net for Baldwin who evened its season record at (11-11-1). The Highlanders, making their first PIHL Playoff appearance since winning the Open Cup Championship in 2014, head to the AA quarterfinals as the #8 seed. Baldwin will face #1 Moon Thursday night at 9:00 PM at the Airport Ice Arena in the Penguins Cup Playoffs.

Quaker Valley Quakers 6 – Fox Chapel Foxes 4 
There is no quit in the Quinn brothers. Senior Connor Quinn scored two goals and assisted three more, including the game-winning goal by his brother Ryan, as Quaker Valley (16-7) topped Fox Chapel, 6-4, in the PIHL Clas AA Penguins Cup Play-In Round at The Baierl Ice Complex on Monday night. With the win, Quaker Valley, the fourth seed from Class AA’s Western Conference, advances to the First Round, where they will meet Eastern Conference top seed Armstrong on Thursday at 7:00pm at the Belmont Complex. Fox Chapel hopped out to an early lead on an unassisted goal by Jonathan Rice less that three minutes into the game. But, as they did throughout the night, Quaker Valley would answer. Ryan Quinn, a sophomore, would get his first tally of the night on a rebound goal set up by Connor Quinn and Beau Tomczak. The Foxes would again jump in the lead on an unassisted shorthanded goal by Ben Friedland, his 27th marker of the season. Less than three minutes later, Tomczak would hit the net on a power play goal assisted by Connor Quinn and Noah Shultz. To cap off the back-and-forth opening period, Rice would again give Fox Chapel the lead on his second goal of the game, this one set up by Jasper Urrichio. After a period, the Foxes had a 3-2 lead and were outshooting Quaker Valley 10-6. After an early penalty on Tomczak, Fox Chapel would capitalize with Friedland’s second goal of the game, again set up by Urrichio. But Quaker Valley would score the next four goals of the game, with Connor Quinn getting the first just over two minutes after Friesland’s tally. Six minutes later, Jake Giotto would tie the game on a power play goal assisted by Connor Quinn and Peter Hall. After two periods, the game was tied 4-4 with shots even at 18-18. The score would stay that way until the 13:56 mark of the final period, when Connor Quinn would circle and hit Ryan Quinn with a perfect pass, leading to Ryan Quinn’s second goal of the game. Connor Quinn would ice the game just 27 seconds later on a breakaway goal, giving the Quakers the 6-4 win. Quaker Valley would outshoot Fox Chapel 17-8 in the final 17 minutes. Rice and Friedland each scored a pair of goals for Fox Chapel, which finishes their season at 12-11. Connor Quinn now has a Class AA leading 82 points this season after his five-point effort. Tomczak scores a goal and assisted two more for the Quakers, playing in AA for the first time. Connor Gatesman stopped 22 of 26 shots for Quaker Valley, while Chad Veltri blocked 29 of 35 shots for Fox Chapel.


Bishop Canevin Crusaders 5 – Latrobe Wildcats 1
When these teams met in December, Greater Latrobe was dominant, rolling to an 8-3 win over Bishop Canevin.  But this time was different.  Very, very different.  The Crusaders jumped out early and never looked back en route to an impressive opening round road victory at the Kirk Nevin Arena in Greensburg.  Just :10 seconds into the game Lukas Krukovski scored on the first shot of the game.  After Thomas Krivak’s shot missed the net, the rebound came off the end boards right to Krukovski, who beat Latrobe’s Ryan Pal to give Bishop Canevin a 1-0 lead. In the 2nd period, the Crusaders extended their lead to 2-0 at the 3:36 mark.  Working with a power play, Lukas Krukovski made a great cross ice pass to his brother Tomas Krukovski, who finished the play with a re-direction to beat Pal.  The Wildcats would get an answer with their own power play chance less than two minutes later, as J.T. Schimizzi scored at the 5:23 mark to make the score 2-1.  Latrobe had the chance to get the equalizer with 6:36 left in the period, as Bishop Canevin was penalized for too many men on the ice.  But not only did the Wildcats not score on the power play, :30 seconds after the penalty expired, it was the Crusaders who found the net.  Jacob Ondrejko got a clean face off win directly to Daniel Tkac, who one timed a wrist shot through Pal’s legs to give Bishop Canevin a 3-1 lead they’d hold until the end of the period.  In the 3rd period, Tkac would strike again.  This time, Krivak carried the puck around the Latrobe defense and fed a backhand pass to Tkac, who buried the chance behind Pal, putting the Crusaders ahead 4-1 with 8:16 left  in regulation.  Jacob Kuzma would wrap up the scoring, tallying into an empty net with 1:02 left in the game.  Tkac’s 2 goals earned him #1 star of the game.  Lukas Krokovski earned the 2nd star with a goal and an assist, while Krivak’s 2 assists got him the #3 star.  With the win, Bishop Canevin, the #3 team out of the Western Conference, improves to 16-6-1.  The Crusaders move on to the semi-finals and will play the winner of Thursday night’s game between Moon, who is the top team out of the Western Conference and #5 Baldwin.  That game will be on Monday, March 7th at 6pm at the RMU Island Sports Complex.  For the second year in a row, Latrobe’s season comes to an end in the quarterfinal round, as the Wildcats finish 2015-16 at 16-7.


Franklin Regional Panthers 3 – Montour Spartans 0 
James Mauro scored a pair of goals and goaltender Daniel Soltesz stopped every Montour shot that he faced as the 6th seeded Franklin Regional Panthers pulled the upset in the quarterfinal matchup at the Island Sports Complex on Monday night.  After a scoreless 1st period, Aaron Bartifay would get the Panthers on the scoreboard at the 7:24 mark of the 2nd period as he expertly deflected a Joseph Grieco shot from the left point past the glove hand of Hayden Chieffo.  Mauro would score the first of his goals exactly five minutes later as he took a perfect pass from Olda Virag seconds after the Panthers killed off a Montour man advantage.  Mauro took the pass and skated down the slot and beat Chieffo above the glove hand to give Franklin Regional a 2-0 lead.  Mauro’s 2nd goal of the night would be scored into the empty Montour net with just 0:29 left in the game, salting away the victory.  Soltesz was terrific all night long for Franklin Regional as he turned aside 33 shots.  Chieffo deserved a better fate as he stopped 25 of the 27 shots sent his way.  With the loss, Montour’s season ends with a record of 19-3-1.  Franklin Regional (17-6) will face either Bishop McCort/Thomas Jefferson/Kiski Area in the semifinal round which will be played next week.

PIHL DIVISION 2 Quarterfinals:

Meadville Bulldogs 14 – Central Valley Warriors 4
Nicholas Frantz scored four goal and added two assists while teammate Axel Jager scored his third goal with with 36 seconds left as the Bulldogs pounded the Warriors 14-4 in an Division II Quarterfinals contest at the Meadville Area Recreation Center. Frantz scored three of his four goals in a five goal first period as Meadville raced out to a 5-2 lead after one. The Bulldogs added four goals in the second and five more with a running clock in the third period. Trevor Johnson also scored two goals while Cody Passilla had a goal and four assists for a Meadville team that scored 14 times on 36 shots. Four players scored goal for Central Valley as Cameron Drake led the way with a goal and two assists as the Warriors finish their season with a 10-10 record. Meadville improves to 16-4-1 and will face Carrick in the Semifinals next Monday at the Bairl Ice Complex in Warrendale. The Bulldogs and Cougars were 1-1-1 in three meeting in the regular season.

Carrick Cougars 5 – Elizabeth Forward Warriors 2 
Despite playing without their leading scorer, the offense lead the way as #3 Carrick scored 4 goals in the second period en route to a 5 – 2 victory over #6 Elizabeth Forward in the first round of the PIHL D2 playoffs at Ice Castle. The line of Aiden Barker, Nicolaus Manuel, and Tyler Wolf combined for 5 points to help Carrick overcome the absence of the Jacob Speicher who was out with an injury. Elizabeth Forward started the game strong, pinning Carrick in their zone for most of the first four minutes of the game. However, Carrick was opportunistic when a nice play coming out of the left corner saw Barker wth the puck on this stick coming off the left boards and his quick shot beat EF goalie Austin Ulm to give Carrick the 1-0 lead. The first period ended with the same score but that didn’t last long as the Cougars exploded in the second period. The scoring started just 1:50 into the period as Manuel converted an pass from Wolf to make it 2-0. Carrick then converted 2:53 into the period on their first opportunity on the power play when the face off was won back to Tylan Tranter on the right wing boards and he beat Ulm inside the near post make it 3-0. Matthew Uzar scored 8:52 into the period to make it 4-0 before the Warriors finally found the net when Nicolas Ryckman scored from Devon Quiggle and Jared Weber. Carrick quickly snubbed out any momentum when Gavin McKain scored at the 15:35 mark to make it 5-1 at intermission. EF was able to keep Carrick scoreless in the third period but they were only able to beat Carrick goalie Nathan Norkevicus once in that period on a redirect right in front by Quiggle. Norkevicus made 21 saves and McKain was chosen as the number one star of the game with 1 goal and 2 assists. Carrick advances to play #2 Meadville on Monday, March 7, at the Baierl Ice Arena.

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