PIHL Class AA Penguins Cup semifinals preview capsules
Tuesday, March 12, 2019 | 8:09 PM
Class AA semifinals
Latrobe (15-4-1) vs. Pine-Richland (19-0-1)
7 p.m. Wednesday at RMU Island Sports Center, Neville Island
Winner plays: Franklin Regional (12-6-1) or Upper St. Clair (15-3-2) at 8:30 p.m. March 18 at UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex, Cranberry Township
Goals for/against: Latrobe, 92/41; Pine-Richland, 120/36
About Latrobe: Latrobe had a lead against Pine-Richland in the third period of the teams’ lone regular-season meeting, but fell 4-3 in a shootout. The Wildcats were dominant, outshooting Hampton, 38-15, in a 4-1 victory in the quarterfinals. Alexander Walker had a goal and three assists in the win. Walker had 41 points in the regular season. Latrobe has allowed the second fewest goals in Class AA with soild defending and strong goaltending from Gage Handwork. Latrobe has won four Penguins Cups, the last in 2013.
About Pine-Richland: The Rams scored four first-period goals and stormed past Hempfield, 8-4, in the quarterfinals. Jordan Rosenbaum and Alexander Rihn had two goals apiece in the win. The Rams allowed the fewest goals of any team in Class AA all season and goalie Daniel Stauffer had a .909 save percentage in the regular season. Pine-Richland last won a Penguins Cup title in 2008 when current Chicago Blackhawks forward and two-time Stanley Cup champion Brandon Saad was a freshman on the team. Brandon’s brother George Saad, a former Penn State forward, is an assistant coach for the Rams.
Franklin Regional (12-6-2) vs. Upper St. Clair (15-3-2)
9 p.m. Wednesday at RMU Island Sports Center, Neville Island
Winner plays: Latrobe (15-4-1) or Pine-Richland (19-0-1) at 8:30 p.m. March 18 at UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex, Cranberry Township
Goals for/against: Franklin Regional, 74/79; Upper St. Clair, 111/81
About Franklin Regional: Behind a 37-save effort from goalie Daniel Soltesz and a late third-period goal by Olda Virag, Franklin Regional nipped Mars, 2-1, in the quarterfinals. Virag assisted on a power-play goal by Trent Lunden in the first period and has 34 points on the season. Franklin Regional dropped both meetings to Upper St. Clair in the regular season, losing 4-3 on opening night, Oct. 4 and 7-6, Jan. 7. The Panthers were the lone Class AA team to win on the road in the quarterfinal round. Franklin Regional won consecutive Class A Penguins Cup titles in 2016 and ’17.
About Upper St. Clair: The Panthers dispatched Baldwin, 6-2, in the quarterfinals. Anthony Carone had a pair of goals and assists each in the win. Panthers goalie Kyle Rohrich made 31 saves. Upper St. Clair was the South/East Division champion. Devin Rohrich led the Panthers with 33 goals and 51 points in the regular season. Carone had 50. The Panthers have 30 power-play goals this season. Upper St. Clair has five Penguins Cup titles with the last one coming in 2011.
— Jerin Steele
Jerin Steele is a freelance writer
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