PIHL High School Hockey Notebook – 02/25/2013

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Monday, February 25, 2013 | 2:17 PM


Welcome to another edition of “PIHL Notebook,” your weekly companion to “The PIHL Power Play” on the MSA Sports Network. As usual, have your weekly thermometer of streaking teams in “Melting the Ice.” Plus, the “Scoreboard Watch” highlights some key Open Class match-ups to close out the regular season while Quaker Valley’s perfect record gets pushed to the brink in Class A. Finally, our upcoming broadcast preview spotlights a battle of Class AA playoff qualifiers. So, let’s light the lamp on this edition of “PIHL Notebook.”

MELTING THE ICE (Records listed indicate current unbeaten streak):

Class AAA: Peters Township (11-0-0), Bethel Park (4-0-0), State College (3-0-0)

Class AA: Bishop Canevin (8-0-0), Pine-Richland (3-0-0)

Class A: Quaker Valley (21-0-0), Westmont Hilltop (3-0-0)

Open Class: Harbor Creek (7-0-2), Indiana (8-0-0), Greensburg Salem (8-0-0), Morgantown (7-0-1), Ford City (7-0-0), John Marshall (3-0-0), Wheeling Central Catholic (2-0-1)

SCOREBOARD WATCH:

2/18/13 – Class AAA – Non-Section – Butler 6, Norwin 2 … Timothy Palmer got the Knights (10-10-0) on the board at 15:17 of the first period, but the Golden Tornado (9-9-0) ultimately beat them at their own offensive game by scoring the next five goals, including two unanswered in the second. The winner went to Nicholas Whann, who finished with three points (2 G, 1 A), at 8:05 of the period two. Marc Swankler finished with a goal and an assist for Norwin while Logan Rothbauer made 24 saves to earn the win for Butler.

2/19/13 – Open Class – Section 1 – Wheeling Central Catholic 3, Canon-McMillan 3 (OT) … After a scoreless first period, Michael Tighe struck for the Maroon Knights (8-10-2) just 4:21 into the second. The Big Macs (6-11-3) answered on the power play courtesy of Nathaniel Bernardi less than two minutes later, but Wheeling Central had the lead back 41 seconds hence thanks to Jefferson Gwynn. Eric Lafrance tied it back up with 54 seconds remaining before intermission only to have Tighe, who finished with three points, net his second of the night 5:59 into period three. Ultimately, though, it came back to the Canon-McMillan power play as Evan Hares struck at the 11:03 mark for the final tally of the night. Connor Hartnett was good when he had to be with 18 saves for the Big Macs, but it was John McFarland who stole the show with 57 stops.

2/21/13 – Open Class – Non-Section – Greensburg Salem 8, Hollidaysburg 5 … Could this one have been a preview of the soon-to-come Chiefs Cup Final? If so, the fans would be in for quite a treat if it went anything like this affair. The Golden Tigers (14-5-1) struck first at 6:35 of the first, but the two finished 2-2 after 17 minutes. The Golden Lions (15-4-1) opened the second period scoring after just 29 ticks, but again it was a punch-counterpunch situation that brought a 4-4 tie at the break. Greensburg Salem would score the next three goals, though, with the winner coming at 6:42 of the third from Jonathan Finger. Hollidaysburg got multiple points from Brandon Ritchey (1 PPG, 1 SHG, 1 A), Andrew Yanowski (2 G) and William Power (1 G, 1 A). The winning team was paced by five points each from Shawn Sperlik (4 G, 1 A) and Logan Davis (2 G, 3 A) along with 29 saves for Dakota Sheetz.

2/22/13 – Class A – Non-Section – Quaker Valley 3, Kittanning 2 (OT) … The Wildcats (12-7-1) may have given the Quakers (21-0-0) their biggest scare of the season, but the perfect record ultimately stayed intact. After a scoreless opening period, Quaker Valley took the second by a 2-1 margin. Kittanning got the equalizer from Christian Miller at 9:14 of the third, but Ryan Dickson ended the night with his second goal 2:16 into overtime. Clayton Bouchard set up two goals in the winning effort while the goaltending duo of Parker Sherry (15) and Jonathan Pijar (8) combined for 23 saves, with Pijar not allowing a goal. For Kittanning, despite taking the loss, it was a huge night for Cameron Langham with 63 stops.

UPCOMING MSA BROADCASTS:

2/25/13 – Class AA – Non-Section – Pine-Richland (13-4-1) @ North Hills (8-9-0) … The Rams enter this battle of currently playoff-bound teams riding a three-game winning streak and are 4-1-0 in their last five. On the flip side, the Indians hold on the ninth seed in the 10-team bracket is a bit precarious thanks to a 1-4-0 skid. Only Latrobe has scored more goals than Pine-Richland in Class AA while only the Wildcats and Bishop Canevin have allowed fewer. Zach Richey has been the key goal scorer (28 G, 12 PP, 2 SH), Dillon Kessy leads with 26 assists and 51 points, and Brendan Bagnato (12-3-1, 1.95 GAA, 0.893 SV %, 3 SO) has been stellar between the pipes. Statistically, Brett Berner continues to lead North Hills in most offensive categories (26 G, 8 PP, 5 SH, 40 PTS). The issue here may be preventing goals, though, with Alexander Washy (5-6-0, 4.98 GAA, 0.832 SV %) likely getting the nod. The puck drops at 9:15 PM with Steve Nagler and Alex Richert on the call.

That wraps up this edition of “PIHL Notebook,” but check back every Monday through March for more news from around the league. In the meantime, Adam Hoerner and Josh Rowntree host another episode of “The PIHL Power Play” on Wednesday night at 8:00. Joining us this week will be Westmont Hilltop defenseman Brandon Leech, Shaler head coach Curt Hetz and Chartiers Valley head coach Sean Biancaniello. Your home for the 2013 Penguins Cup Playoffs is the MSA Sports Network!

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