PIHL Notebook – 03/09/2015

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Monday, March 9, 2015 | 1:51 PM


Welcome to another edition of “PIHL Notebook,” your weekly companion to “The PIHL Power Play” on the MSA Sports Network. Over the next three days, we will find out which six teams will complete for the 2015 Penguins Cup championships. All six semifinal games will be heard on these airwaves, and we have you primed in the space below with our traditional team capsules. Team stats, playoff results, keys to victory – we have it call at your fingertips. So, let’s light the lamp on this special postseason edition of “PIHL Notebook.”

CLASS A PENGUINS CUP SEMIFINALS:

#1 Quaker Valley Quakers (20-1-1) vs #4 Hempfield Spartans (16-6-1) AT Robert Morris University Sports Complex on Neville Island on Wednesday, March 11th at 6:00pm on MSAsports.net

QUAKER VALLEY

Number of Penguins Cups (Last Time Won): 5 (2014, 3 straight)

Team Stats: 162 GF, 45 GA

Three Stars: Adam Pilewicz (46 G, 53 A); Connor Quinn (46 G, 50 A); Parker Sherry (12-1, 1.58 GAA, 0.930 Sv%, 4SO)

Playoff Results: Quarterfinals – Westmont Hilltop 9-3 (Adam Pilewicz 3 G, 2 A), Connor Quinn (2 G, 2 A)

Three Keys to Victory: The Quakers need to get to Hempfield goalie Garet Ciaramella and throw him off his game. QV will need a good showing from their own goalie, Parker Sherry, who Hempfield chased earlier in the season. Quinn and Pilewicz need to keep doing their thing as one of the top tandems in the PIHL.

HEMPFIELD

Number of Penguins Cups (Last Time Won): 0

Team Stats: 129 GF, 62 GA

Three Stars: Luke Rosendale (32 G, 20 A); Garet Ciaramella (11-5-1, 2.69 GAA, 0.905 Sv%, SO); Andrew Koziara (14 G, 20 A)

Playoff Results: Quarterfinals – Thomas Jefferson 7-4 (Christian Gorscak, 2G, 3A)

Three Keys to Victory: The Spartans must contain Pilewicz and Quinn as best as possible. Ciaramella must be crisp, as he is one of Class A’s top goalies and needs to play that way. Christian Gorscak, who had a five-point night against TJ, needs to continue his great play in this postseason.

Previous Meeting(s): 10/13/14 – Hempfield 8, Quaker Valley 2 (Luke Rosendale, 3 G, A); 1/15/15 – Quaker Valley 7, Hempfield 2 (Connor Quinn, 4 G, 2 A)

#2 Deer Lakes Lancers (16-5-1) vs #3 Mars Fighting Planets (18-4-1) AT Robert Morris University Sports Complex on Neville Island on Wednesday, March 11th at 8:00pm on MSAsports.net

DEER LAKES

Number of Penguins Cups (Last Time Won): 0

Team Stats: 170 GF, 85 GA

Three Stars: Mitch Rupprecht (69 G, 41 A); Zach Luniewski (36 G, 61 A); Vince Casale (30 G, 36 A)

Playoff Results: Quarterfinals – Montour 8-1 (Vince Casale 2G, 3A, Mitch Rupprecht 3G, A)

Three Keys to Victory: The Lancers must get help from 2nd and 3rd lines. Goalie Jonathan Lang will need to continue his hot hand. Deer Lakes can’t play too emotionally, as they’re new to this stage.

MARS

Number of Penguins Cups (Last Time Won): 3 (2011)

Team Stats: 138 GF, 58 GA

Three Stars: Paul Maust (29 G, 22 A); Tyler Spreng (16-3-1, 2.48 GAA, 0.871 Sv%, 3SO); Kyle Thomas (13 G, 24 A)

Playoff Results: Quarterfinals – Freeports 7-0 (Beau Heakins 2 G, A, Tyler Spreng 20 saves, SO)

Three Keys to Victory: Mars must use experience to their advantage and remain composed. The Planets can’t take Deer Lakes lightly, as they were upset by Thomas Jefferson last year. Special teams need to be where they win, as they have 19 PP goals and 6 SH goals this year.

Previous Meeting(s): 10/13/14 – Deer Lakes 6, Mars 4 (Mitch Rupprecht 3G, 2A); 12/22/14 – Mars 5, Deer Lakes 4 (Paul Maust 3G, 2A)

CLASS AA PENGUINS CUP SEMIFINALS:

#1 Erie Cathedral Prep Ramblers (18-2-0) vs #5 Bishop Canevin Crusaders (11-9-0) AT Robert Morris University Sports Complex on Neville Island on Monday, March 9th at 6:00pm on MSAsports.net

ERIE CATHEDRAL PREP

Number of Penguins Cups (Last Time Won): 2 (1997)

Team Stats: 124 G, 45 A

Three Stars: Ben Eliason (17 G, 23 A); Richard Vicary (17 G, 20 A); Trent Faulkner (10-1, 2.84 GAA, 0.878 Sv%)

Playoff Results: Quarterfinals – Latrobe 4-1 (Ben Eliason, 2 G)

Three Keys to Victory: The Ramblers must use their noteworthy physicality and pummel a thin lineup from Canevin and freshman goalie Neko Borghini. ECP needs to take Canevin’s terrific mid-ice passer, Blaine Adams, out of the equation in the Crusader’s attack. The Ramblers need to play hungry, as they were a goal away from the Cup last year and want to get back.

BISHOP CANEVIN

Number of Penguins Cups (Last Time Won): 7 (2014)

Team Stats: 94 G, 85 A

Three Stars: Blaine Adams (17 G, 25 A); Thomas Krivak (24 G, 14 A); Jason Bilski (7 G, 20 A)

Playoff Results: Quarterfinals – Hampton 7-6 (OT) (Alec Bosnic, 4 A; Blaine Adams 2G, A)

Three Keys to Victory:  Canevin freshman goalie Neko Borghini, who has never seen this stage before, must play beyond his years. Blaine Adams must find space in the tight defense of ECP to distribute the puck. Canevin is not deep and will need shorter shifts to offset ECP’s depth and physicality. 

Previous Meeting(s): 11/23/14 – Cathedral Prep 6, Bishop Canevin 4 (Ben Eliason, G, 2 A); Cathedral Prep 7, Bishop Canevin 2 (Ben Eliason, 3 G, 2 A)

#2 Shaler Titans (16-3-0) vs #6 Armstrong River Hawks (15-4-1) AT Robert Morris University Sports Complex on Neville Island on Monday, March 9th at 8:00pm on MSAsports.net

SHALER

Number of Penguins Cups (Last Time Won): 1 (2009)

Team Stats: 115 GF, 63 GA

Three Stars: Alex Ficorilli (33G, 21 A); Theo Vincent Evans (15-3, 2.99 GAA, .892sv%, SO); Austin Martz (16 G, 21 A)

Playoff Results: Quarterfinals – North Hills 7-4 (Austin Martz (3 G, 3A)

Three Keys to Victory: Get Austin Martz rolling early, as he was huge in the North Hills win. Vinny Evans must be the deciding factor and outplay Taylor Smouse. Contain Armstrong’s snipers as best as possible.

ARMSTRONG

Number of Penguins Cups (Last Time Won): 0

Team Stats: 114 GF, 64 GA

Three Stars: Christian Miller (39 G, 23 A); Josh Oliver (22 G, 22 A); Taylor Smouse (14-3-1, 3.40 GAA, 0.861 Sv%)

Playoff Results: Quarterfinals – Moon 3-2 (Taylor Smouse, 29 saves)

Three Keys to Victory: They need help from depth lines, as Shaler will be aiming to stop Miller and Oliver. Taylor Smouse was great against Moon and will need to be even better in this round. Take advantage of every break in a game that should be very tight.

Previous Meeting(s): 2/19/15 – Shaler 3, Armstrong 2 (Vinny Evans, 34 saves); 2/24/15 – Armstrong 8, Shaler 5 (Nick Long, 3 G, A)

CLASS AAA PENGUINS CUP SEMIFINALS:

#1 North Allegheny Tigers (17-2-4) vs #4 Canon-McMillan Big Macs (15-7-1) AT Robert Morris University Sports Complex on Neville Island on Tuesday, March 10th at 6:30pm on MSAsports.net

NORTH ALLEGHENY

Number of Penguins Cups (Last Time Won): 2 (2013)

Team Stats: 88 GF, 43 GA

Three Stars: Joseph Hubert (9-2-4, 1.88 GAA, 0.920, 2SO); Erik Chidester (15 G, 16 A); Dawson Richard (9 G, 18 A)

Playoff Results: Quarterfinals – Central Catholic 7-0 (Erik Chidester, 3 G)

Three Keys to Victory: NA must use their trademark smothering defense to hold Canon-Mac’s gunner in line. Canon-Mac has a ton of depth and the Tigers will need to match that, which they can. NA will need to match the emotion of Canon-Mac, who is coming off a massive overtime win.

CANON-MCMILLAN

Number of Penguins Cups (Last Time Won): 1 (2010)

Team Stats: 98 GF, 44 GA

Three Stars:  Austin Tonkovich (21 G, 14 A); Jack Clendaniel (7 G, 27 A); Luc Lavella (14 G, 18 A)

Playoff Results: Quarterfinals – Seneca Valley 4-3 (OT) (Zach Mansmann GWG, A; Austin Tonkovich, 2 G)

Three Keys to Victory: Conor Hartnett has had a nice year in net, but this will be his biggest test and will need a strong showing. The Big Macs need to carry over the momentum from their OT win over Seneca Valley. CM needs to open up the rink, as NA will try to play a tight-checking, low scoring game.

Previous Meeting(s): 10/21/14 – Canon-McMillan 3, North Allegheny 2 ( Conor Hartnett, 17 saves); 1/12/15 – North Allegheny 4, Canon-McMillan 1 (Dominick Zangaro, 2 G)

#2 Peters Township Indians (17-4-2) vs #6 Butler Golden Tornado (12-8-3) AT Robert Morris University Sports Complex on Neville Island on Tuesday, March 10th at 8:30pm on MSAsports.net

PETERS TOWNSHIP

Number of Penguins Cups (Last Time Won): 5 (2014)

Team Stats:  98 GF, 44 GA

Three Stars: Zach Gielarowski (13 G, 18 A); Carter Ekberg (3 G, 13 A); Tony Lejeune (8-3-2, 2.41 GAA, 0.905 Sv%)

Playoff Results: Quarterfinals – Upper St. Clair 8-1 (Sam Barnes & Carter Ekberg, 1 G, 3 A each)(Brady Cochrane (3 G, A)

Three Keys to Victory: Depth is their biggest weapon and they should use it to wear down Butler. PT has to match the Golden Tornado’s emotion with calm from playoff experience. Indians must use their tenacious forecheck to keep puck in attacking zone.

BUTLER

Number of Penguins Cups (Last Time Won): 0

Team Stats:  86 GF, 72 GA

Three Stars: Clay Bachman (10-6-2, 2.79 GAA, 0.909 Sv%, 2SO); Dustin Davis (21 G, 11 A); Connor Scott (14 G, 16 A)

Playoff Results: Quarterfinals – Bethel Park 3-1 (Clay Bachman, 24 saves)

Three Keys to Victory: Butler must use shorter shifts to combat depth of Peters Township. They need to play with emotion from start to finish. Indians have to get to the front of the net against a team that plays well in own zone. 

Previous Meeting(s):  11/11/14 – Peters Township 3, Butler 1 (Tony Lejeune, 30 saves); Peters Township 6, Butler 0 (Kyle Madore, 26 saves)

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 a special night, this Thursday at 8:00 PM, to recap the semifinals and preview the championships at Consol Energy Center on Saturday, March 14. Your home for the 2015 Penguins Cup Playoffs is the MSA Sports Network!

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