PIHL Notebook – 12/27/2016

Tuesday, December 27, 2016 | 7:40 PM

With New Years quickly approaching, the PIHL Notebook is planning to keep a resolution to watch more hockey in 2017. Despite a limited schedule of action because of the holiday break, there were a few notable changes in the standings since last week, including some movement in the longest current winning streaks. Without further ado, let’s delve further into that aspect.

Melting the Ice (the top winning streaks in each classification)

AAA: Canon-McMillan (4-0-0) – Last week at this time, the Big Macs and Peters Township held the distinction of the longest streak in AAA, with each squad winning three consecutive tilts. While Canon-McMillan extended its streak on Thursday by blasting Seneca Valley 5-0, the Indians lost to Erie Cathedral Prep. The surge has moved the Big Macs into a tie for sixth place, and the team is now +9 in goal differential, which is fourth best in the classification.

AA: Mount Lebanon (7-0-0) – The Blue Devils did not play a game since last Tuesday, but they now claim the top streak by way of Quaker Valley’s defeat. The Quakers had their eight-game surge snapped in a loss to Hempfield, which allowed Mount Lebanon to keep the top spot in not only the West Division, but all of Class AA. Since their 2-0 setback to North Hills on Oct. 24, the Blue Devils have been unblemished, including redeeming that loss to the Indians by securing a 6-2 victory last Monday.

A: Franklin Regional (11-0-0) Once again, the Panthers hold the longest streak, which was extended via an 8-0 win against Norwin on Thursday. With another shutout, Franklin Regional continues its historic defensive campaign, allowing just six goals through the first 11 tilts. The Panthers should be heavily favored in their five January contests, before concluding the season with rematches against perhaps their two biggest challengers, Kiski Area and Indiana.

D2: Meadville (13-0-0) Last week, 13 was lucky for the Bulldogs, as the team recorded a 13-4 blowout win against Central Valley to notch its 13th straight victory. While both Burrell and Kennedy Catholic have enjoyed lengthy winning streaks and tremendous success in Class C, no team in Class B is within striking distance of Meadville currently. The Bulldogs have compiled 26 points, while second-place Carrick is 10 points behind. Next on the ledger for Meadville is a struggling Elizabeth Forward squad on Jan. 5.

Under Review (weekly team spotlight)

Quaker Valley – For the past decade, Quaker Valley has been nearly a dynasty in Class A, winning titles in 2006, 2008 and 2012-14. After dominating that class, the Quakers moved up to Class AA last season, and qualified for the postseason, going 15-7-0. This season, the team is back to its familiar position of title contender, as the Quakers have gone 8-3-0, and sit just two points out of first place in the classification.

After losing phenom Connor Quinn to graduation, the Quakers have turned to Beau Tomczak to fill the void, and the junior has delivered. In 11 contests, the forward has netted 14 goals and eight assists, which puts him in a tie for eighth-most points in Class AA. Providing the secondary scoring for Quaker Valley has been Noah Shultz, Ryan Quinn and Rico Fernandez, while Ben Kuzma has averaged more than a point per game in limited action.

Meanwhile, with only a pair of freshman goaltenders on the roster, the Quakers have used a timeshare in net. Philip Gagne has played in six games, recording a 2.50 GAA and an .889 save percentage. Colin Rice has posted comparable statistics, as he has a 3.00 GAA and .890 save percentage in five games.

Under the guidance of coach Kevin Quinn, Quaker Valley has a pivotal matchup against first-place Mount Lebanon when PIHL action resumes on Jan. 2. Led by a bevy of young talent, don’t be surprised to see the Quakers playing their best hockey as the postseason begins.

Quotable (excerpt from a recent Center Stage)

“It was long and hard, a lot of headaches along the way, but I’m happy to be back.”

Finley Conway of Mount Lebanon after a 5-1 win against Penn-Trafford on Dec 15. Conway missed multiple seasons after suffering symptoms following a concussion. The entire interview can be seen here:



Top-Shelf Trivia

What year was the Pennsylvania Cup Finals initially held at Pegula Arena at Penn State University? The answer will be revealed in next week’s notebook.

Last week’s trivia answer: Quigley and Ford City

Slapshots on Slate (upcoming MSA Sports broadcasts)

With the holiday season in full swing, MSA Sports will not feature any PIHL game broadcasts until 2017.

That’s all for this edition of the PIHL Notebook, but check back every Tuesday for the latest installment. Also, the Chatham University PIHL Power Play Show tomorrow will feature interviews with Greater Latrobe player JT Schimizzi, and Burrell coach Cam Zappi. Sean Meyers and Kevin Zielmanski host the show, which airs at 8 p.m. Additionally, on Wednesday, Jan. 18, the Chatham University Power Play Show will exclusively reveal the PIHL All-Star rosters for the game to be played on Jan. 29 at the Alpha Ice Complex in Harmarville.

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