Penguins Cup Playoffs Recaps From Tuesday 3/8
Wednesday, March 9, 2016 | 12:00 AM
Like the guy in the corn said in the movie Field of Dreams, “If you bracket it, upsets will come.” Well, that’s not exactly what he said, but since the PIHL Penguins Cup Playoffs switched from re-seed to brackets, the chance of upsets increased. And in the case of the Class A Semifinals on Tuesday, they increased two-fold. Here are summaries from a couple of Class A Semifinals surprises at the Robert Morris University island Sports Complex on Neville Island as a second top-seed was knocked out short of the finals.
A special thanks to Sean Meyers and Greg Kuntz for their help on these recaps.
PIHL PENGUINS CUP CLASS A Semifinals:
South Fayette Lions 6 – West Allegheny Indians 2
South Fayette coach Frank Certo said that for the first time all season, he was able to deploy his full compliment of players in the Lions’ first-round victory against Freeport. In the Class A semifinals against top-seeded West Allegheny on Tuesday, the Lions loaded lineup proved to be the superior, as South Fayette prevailed 6-2 at the RMU Island Sports Center. The Lions scored four special teams goals, two on the power play and two shorthanded, with standout Jordan Timmons pacing the attack with four points. After neither squad could generate offense in the early stages of the opening period, the Lions struck first when Timmons aluded a triple team to find Spencer Barber on a centering feed . West Allegheny responded just 24 seconds later, though, as Ryan Rohm netted the equalizer. The Indians gained the lead later in the frame, as scoring leader Jess Ligas fired a wrist shot from just inside the blue line that fooled Lions’ netminder Kyle Sharp. The Lions scored perhaps the most crucial goal of the contest with just 1.8 seconds left in the first, however, as Alex Orlandini redirected a shot from the point with the man advantage. The second period belonged to SF, as the Lions scored four times in the frame. With just more than six minutes elapsed, Timmons capitalized on a turnover, and finished past Indians’ goalie Anthony Dominick on a breakaway shorthanded. Less than two minutes later, the Lions lit the lamp when Timmons pounded home a rebound on the power play. South Fayette extended its lead when defenseman Jack Lipovich ripped the twine on a shot from the point. Barber notched his second marker on an assist from Timmons, as the prolific duo connected shorthanded late in the period. The Lions’ defense tightened, while Sharp made numerous strong saves between the pipe as South Fayette preserved its advantage throughout the final stanza. With the win, South Fayette advances to the Championship, to be played on Tuesday at 5:30 at the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex.
Franklin Regional Panthers 5 – Bishop McCort Crimson Crushers 3
This matchup had all the makings of a shootout as the Bishop McCort Crimson Crushers were averaging 4 goals per game while the Franklin Regional Panthers were averaging over 6. It did not take long for the scoreboard to be lit up as just about a minute and a half in, FR’s leading scorer, James Mauro, took a feed from Nick Carretta and buried a shot past BM netminder John Bradley to take a 1-0 lead. A little over 4 minutes later, Carretta scored with an assist from Oldrich Virag to jump out to a 2-0 lead. The Crushers cut the lead in half on a goal by Anthony Formica. A couple of penalties against the Panthers late in the 1st period gave BM a 2-man advantage, and the Crushers cashed in as Tristan Mock got one past FR freshman goalie Dan Soltesz to tie the game at the end of 1. The Panthers regained the lead midway through the 2nd on a goal by Ethan Bennett, who was fed beautifully on a 2-on-1 odd-man rush by Dakota McIntyre. The Crimson Crushers answered late in the 2nd just 10 seconds into another man-advantage as Brett Seitz converted an FR turnover into a power-play goal to knot the game at 3 with 2 periods in the books. Just like the 1st period, it did not take long for the Panthers to get off to a fast start in the 3rd as Mauro scored his 2nd of the game, assisted by Carretta and Virag, just 1:45 in. The Panthers continued to play a tighter checking game on the Crushers the rest of the way, forcing BM to pull Bradley in favor of the extra attacker late. The empty net, however, worked to FR’s advantage as Mauro completed the hat trick with just :16 to play. The Franklin Regional Panthers move on to the Varsity A Finals on Tuesday, March 15, and they will battle the South Fayette Lions, who were 6-2 winners over West Allegheny. The Penguins Cup Final will transpire at the brand new Lemieux Sports Complex in Cranberry Township at 5:30.
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