PIHL High School Hockey Notebook – 03/12/2012

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Monday, March 12, 2012 | 6:08 PM


Welcome to another edition of “PIHL Notebook,” your weekly companion to “The PIHL Power Play” on the MSA Sports Network. This week, we have a special edition on tap as we preview all opening round matchups in the 2012 Penguins Cup Playoffs. Plus, see what Quaker Valley head coach Kevin Quinn had to say about Class A’s number one seed on last week’s show in “They Said It.”

PIHL CLASS AAA:

FIRST ROUND BYES

1. Penn-Trafford (19-2-1)
2. Canon-McMillan (19-3-0)
3. North Allegheny (16-5-1)
4. Mount Lebanon (15-6-1)

FIRST ROUND GAMES

#5 Peters Township (14-5-3) vs. #12 Shaler (6-14-2) … Peters Township burst onto the scene in its move up from Class AA, earning at least a point in the first seven contests and ending on a two-game winning streak … Shaler had a decidedly less impressive regular season, never winning more than two in a row while losing six straight at one point … The Indians defeated the Titans by a 3-0 count on December 16 in a game befitting the number two defense in the class as Brian Baker made 30 saves to earn the shutout … Peters also boasts plenty of scoring depth with Cole Snyder setting the tone in assists (18) and points (33) while Trevor Recktenwald scored 19 goals … For Shaler, the offense runs decidedly through Jacob Hetz, who led the team with 34 goals, 12 of those on the power play, and 52 points.

#6 Bethel Park (14-7-1) vs. #11 McDowell (7-15-0) … If you listen to our show, you have heard us talk plenty about how Bethel Park did “it” yet again, struggling through the first half of the season before turning themselves into a favorite for many heading into the playoffs by winning the last 11 contests … McDowell started the year at 1-7 before going on a four-game tear which probably secured its spot in the bracket despite being the only winning streak for the Trojans all year … The Black Hawks swept the two-game season series, winning 7-1 on December 1 and 9-2 on February 23 … Several players shined in those outings, but looming especially large were Dan Yost (8 G, 11 A) with four goals and three assists while the team’s leading scorer Derek Lesnak (15 G, 21 A) racked up a power play tally and eight helpers … Bethel led the class defensively with 42 goals allowed and Alex Blum (12-3-1, 2.38 GAA, 0.879 SV %, 1 SO) playing most of the minutes … For McDowell, Alexander Margraf led the way in goals (23), power play goals (7) and points (36).

#7 Upper St. Clair (11-9-2) vs. #10 State College (11-10-1) … The defending state champions faced many struggles, losing not only key players to graduation but travel teams as well, to say nothing of unexpectedly changing head coaches … Upper St. Clair went into Christmas with a 4-6-1 record, but managed to go 7-3-1 starting in January, including a three-game winning streak to close things out … State College also went on a bit of a roller coaster ride, starting 5-1-0, losing five straight, going unbeaten in five more, and losing five of the last six … The Little Lions took the lone meeting in overtime by a 2-1 count on December 2 … Dan Moscone (36 G, 14 PP, 24 A) scored the winner with the man advantage while Mac Ross made 27 saves … Mike Stein made 42 saves in the losing effort … Leading the Panthers with 21 goals, six of them on the power play, and 34 points was Mike Sweeney.

#8 Norwin (11-9-2) vs. #9 Pittsburgh Central Catholic (11-9-2) … Norwin enjoyed its ups and downs this season, topping out with a six-game unbeaten streak from December 8 until January 2 while the low point was a four-game skid from January 30 through February 9 … Pittsburgh Central’s campaign was a bit more even keel, with the only streak lasting more than two games coming down the stretch in the form of four straight victories from February 13 to February 27 … This could be the most even matchup in any classification to start things off as each team earned a 4-3 victory over the other … The Knights did it on December 19 while the Vikings snuck by in overtime on February 24 … Dante Youhon scored twice, once with the man advantage, while Scott Cromling made 26 saves in Norwin’s win … Pittsburgh Central’s leading scorer Eric Smith (15 G, 21 A) scored twice in the second meeting while Kevin Dziubek stopped 21 shots … Dan Merz is the Knight to watch as he led the team with 23 goals (4 PP, 5 SH), 21 assists and 44 points.
 

PIHL CLASS AA:

FIRST ROUND BYES

1. West Allegheny (18-3-0)
2. Chartiers Valley (17-4-0)
3. Bishop Canevin (15-5-1)
4. Erie Cathedral Prep (15-5-1)
5. Latrobe (13-7-1)
6. Pine-Richland (11-9-1)

FIRST ROUND GAMES

#7 Plum (11-10-0) vs. #10 North Hills (6-15-0) … Plum got off to a 5-3-0 start entering the holiday break, hit a 1-5-0 skid, but bounced back with a 5-3-0 finish … North Hills returned to varsity competition after taking last season to rebuild at the JV level … The first half resulted in no earned victories for the Indians, although a 1-0 forfeit over Plum on Halloween kept the goose egg out of the win column … NH would earn the next five two-point efforts, though, securing a playoff spot in the process … There were no other scheduled meetings between the two clubs, making this battle a true enigma … Brett Berner led North Hills with 17 goals, 21 assists, 38 points and six power play tallies … Andrew Walters set the tone for the Mustangs with 34 goals, 46 points, six man advantage markers and two shorthanded.

#8 Moon (10-10-0) vs. #9 Gateway (9-11-1) … Moon was very streaky this season, winning two here before losing two there, ending the season on a two-game skid … Gateway enjoyed a similar campaign, managing to come out on top in Section 3, although no team therein boasted a winning record … The Tigers took the lone meeting by a 5-2 margin on December 8 … Moon’s leading scorer Alec Coleman (32 G, 9 PP, 18 A) picked up two goals, one of those on the power play, and set up two more … Eric Owen made 22 saves in the winning effort … The Gators do boast plenty of weapons themselves, with Jake DeHass setting the pace in assists (19) and points (27) while John Kasper led the team with 16 goals.
 

PIHL CLASS A:

FIRST ROUND BYES

1. Quaker Valley (17-1-1)
2. Mars (17-2-0)
3. Hampton (12-4-2)
4. Kittanning (13-5-1)
5. Serra Catholic (12-5-2)
6. Westmont Hilltop (10-6-3)

FIRST ROUND GAMES

#7 Freeport (10-7-2) vs. #10 Bishop McCort (5-14-0) … Freeport found itself slotted for a bye at this time last month, but a four-game skid has forced the Yellowjackets to take the ice a bit earlier than originally planned … Despite ending its regular campaign with three straight losses, Bishop McCort did earn all five of its victories in the second half, so the Crimson Crushers definitely displayed a good learning curve in returning to PIHL competition this season after a one-year hiatus … Freeport won both regular season meetings with an 8-0 decision in the opener on October 25 and a 6-2 win coming on January 26 … Cole Hepler (17 G, 18 A), who led the Jackets with 35 points, collected two goals and five assists over both contests … Should the Crushers find themselves on the power play, watch out for Nathan James (12 G, 7 A), who scored five times with the man advantage this season.

#8 South Fayette (8-10-1) vs. #9 Thomas Jefferson (6-13-0) … South Fayette was steady this season, losing consecutive outings only once in a three-game stretch from December 22 to January 5, and that was immediately preceded by a two-game unbeaten string … Thomas Jefferson earned only once victory in the first half, but picked up five once the new year started to secure its postseason berth … The Jaguars took the season series 2-1 by picking up a 7-5 win on January 2 and a 6-4 decision on February 23 … The Lions got their victory by a 4-3 count on January 30 … Nick Schultz (26 G, 23 A) led South Fayette with 49 points while picking up five goals and four assists against TJ … Kyle Miller (31 G, 15 A) paced Thomas Jefferson with 46 points, with five goals and one helper coming against SF.

THEY SAID IT:

“We have done a lot of reflection on the teams of the past. In fact I’m going to be showing them some video here of the state championships and the Penguins Cup, and there are lessons to be learned from all our past experiences whether the players were part of them or not. One thing for certain is that at some point you run into a hot goalie. I tell them over and over again that frustration can’t be part of their repertoire come playoff time. It’s the teams that work the hardest, that stay focused whether two up or two down that come out on top.” – Quaker Valley head coach Kevin Quinn on keeping his team focused heading into the playoffs as the top seed in Class A

That wraps up this edition of “PIHL Notebook,” but check back every Monday through March for the most current news from around the league. First, though, Adam Hoerner and Josh Rowntree host another episode of “The PIHL Power Play” on Wednesday night at 8:00. This week we recap all the first round postseason action and set the stage for the quarterfinals. The exclusive home for the 2012 Penguins Cup Playoffs is the MSA Sports Network!

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