PIHL Notebook – 01/18/2016

Monday, January 18, 2016 | 2:12 PM

Welcome to another edition of “PIHL Notebook,” your weekly companion to “The PIHL Power Play” on the MSA Sports Network. First up, “Melting the Ice” provides your weekly thermometer of streaking teams around the league. Meanwhile, this week’s “Scoreboard Watch” includes one team ending a surprisingly long losing streak in Class AAA while a battle of top teams in Division 2 had its own unexpected result. Last but not least, we round things out with a preview of upcoming MSA broadcasts. This may well be our busiest non-playoff week of the year with eight games on the slate to break down. So, let’s light the lamp on this edition of “PIHL Notebook.”

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

Class AAA: Pittsburgh Central Catholic (3-0-2); North Allegheny (4-0-0); Erie Cathedral Prep (2-0-1)

Class AA: Mars (5-0-0); Armstrong (4-0-0); Baldwin (3-0-1); Bishop Canevin (3-0-0); Moon (2-0-1)

Class A: Montour (9-0-1); South Fayette (3-0-1)

Division 2: Beaver (10-0-0); Meadville (5-0-0)


Class AAA

1/11/16 – Bethel Park 6, Pine-Richland 2 … The Rams (2-12-0) carried a 2-1 lead into the third period, but the Black Hawks (5-7-1) erupted with five goals in the final 17 minutes to snap a seven-game skid and maintain the eighth playoff spot. The winner came from Antonio Esposito at the 3:21 mark. He posted a game-high four points (2 G, 2 A) while Tyler Kruszewski (2 G, 1 PP, 1 A) chipped in three more. Ben Meyer helped the Pine-Richland cause with two assists, but Bethel Park was too much offensively with a 35-16 lead in shots.

Class AA

1/12/16 – Chartiers Valley 5, Norwin 4 … The Knights (1-14-0) took a 2-1 lead into the second period, but the Colts (2-14-0) outscored them 4-2 the rest of the way to pick up the win. The deciding goal went to Ray Lindow at 5:08 of the third. Lindow finished with three points (2 G, 1 A) while Spencer Carlson scored twice as well. David Hendler posted a hat trick for Norwin while Anthony Barca made 42 saves despite the loss. Chartiers Valley held a commanding 47-27 edge in shots.

Class A

1/12/16 – Montour 8, Westmont Hilltop 4 … The Spartans (13-1-1) were up 3-1 through two periods, and the two teams combined for eight goals in the third, including five goals in the final four minutes, but the Hilltoppers (4-11-0) came out on the wrong end of the barrage. Ritchy Froehlich buried the eventual winner at the 8:54 mark, part of his game-high four points (2 G, 2 A). Ian McLean and Anthony Hartwick helped him out with two goals and one assist each, including one power play tally. Michael Lamison scored twice for Westmont while Austin Degrange picked up two helpers. Montour took the shots column by a 27-17 count.

Division 2

1/14/16 – Carrick 9, Elizabeth Forward 0 … The shocker here was not that the Cougars (11-3-0) won, but that they did so in such decision fashion, even doubling up the Warriors (10-4-0) in shots 39-19. Jacob Speicher scored the only goal Carrick would need on the power play just 4:21 into the hockey game as part of a five-goal first period, and his team never looked back. Speicher would add another goal with the man advantage and also notched one assist, but Tyler Wolf was the star with six points (4 G, 2 A). Nicholas Manuel contributed four points (1 G, 3 A) while Nathan Norkevicus picked up the shutout.


1/18/16 – Class AA – Baldwin Highlanders vs. Bishop Canevin Crusaders @ Mount Lebanon Ice Arena … Baldwin (8-6-1) has posted a winning record despite a minus-one goal differential, and is unbeaten in four straight games. Bishop Canevin (10-5-0) has won three straight while placing fifth in the class with 78 goals. Keying the Crusaders offensively has been a trio of 20-point scorers in Alec Bosnic (16 G, 6 PP, 2 GW, 11 A), Thomas Krivak (14 G, 2 PP, 2 SH, 3 GW, 9 A), and Lukas Krukovski (9 G, 2 PP, 3 GW, 13 A). Meanwhile, All-Star Paul Knerr (27 G, 5 PP, 2 SH, 4 GW, 11 A) has paced the Highlanders. Baldwin squeaked by Canevin with a 4-3 victory in the season opener on October 8. The puck drops at 8:30 PM with Steve Nagler and Adam Hoerner on the call.

1/19/16 – Class AAA – Butler Golden Tornado vs. Peters Township Indians @ Ice-O-Plex at South Pointe … Butler (8-3-1) is 4-1-0 in its last five and coming off a loss while Peters (9-1-4) is on a 3-1-1 string coming off two straight victories. The Golden Tornado lead the class with 55 goals and are second with 33 allowed. Connor Scott (11 G, 4 PP, 3 SH, 2 GW, 15 A) has paced the offense while Zach Schnur (8-2-1, 2.42 GAA, 0.900 SV%, 2 SO) has played most of the minutes in net. The Indians rank second offensively with 53 goals and are tops with 28 allowed. Matt Amelio (5 G, 1 PP, 14 A) leads a balanced offense with seven double-digit scorers while Caden Shell (1.93 GAA, 0.928 SV%, 1 SO) has been the iron man between the pipes. The two teams previously skated to a 2-2- tie on October 26. The puck drops at 7:00 PM with Matt Vandriak and Kyle Dawson on the call.

1/20/16 – Class A – West Allegheny Indians vs. Thomas Jefferson Jaguars @ Bethel Park YMCA … The Indians (13-2-0) are 3-2-0 in their last five and coming off a loss while the Jaguars (8-7-0) are 3-2-0 in their last five and just picked up a victory. West Allegheny is second in the class with 106 goals and tied for first with 36 allowed. Offensively, the duo of Sean Weber (25 G, 5 PP, 2 SH, 6 GW, 24 A) and Jess Ligas (26 G, 8 PP, 3 SH, 2 GW, 17 A) have steered the ship while Anthony Dominick (12-2-0, 2.57 GAA, 0.894 SV%, 2 SO) has been the main backstop. Meanwhile, Matthew Krieger (25 G, 3 PP, 1 SH, 4 GW, 17 A) has starred for Thomas Jefferson. The Indians squeaked by with a 4-3 victory in the previous meeting, the season opener on October 8. The puck drops at 8:30 PM with Bob Orkwis and Kevin Zielmanski on the call.

1/21/16 – Class A – Kiski Area Cavaliers vs. Serra Catholic Eagles @ Rostraver Ice Garden … The Cavaliers (6-9-0) are 3-2-0 in their last five and coming off a win while the Eagles (6-9-0) are 1-4-0 of late and have dropped two in a row. Serra Catholic is fifth in the class with 94 goals, led by the league’s top scorer, Roman Kraemer (44 G, 6 PP, 3 SH, 4 GW, 22 A). For Kiski Area, the offense has gone through James Ayres (18 G, 2 PP, 3 SH, 3 GW, 12 A). The Eagles took the previous meeting in a wild 10-7 affair back on October 15. The puck drops at 6:10 PM with Josh Rowntree and Lou Rood on the call.

1/21/16 – Class AA – Armstrong River Hawks vs. Latrobe Wildcats @ Kirk Nevin Arena … The River Hawks (13-3-0) have ripped off a four-pack of wins while leading the class with 95 goals. The Wildcats (11-4-0) are 3-2-0 in their last five and coming off a win, ranking fourth offensively (82 GF) and defensively (48 GA). Luke Gross (17 G, 2 PP, 2 SH, 3 GW, 14 A) leads Armstrong in points, but four others have reached 20 points so far as well. The Latrobe offense runs through Brendan Johns (20 G, 3 PP, 3 GW, 17 A) while Ryan Pal (10-4-0, 3.15 GAA, 0.886 SV%, 2 SO) has played all but one game in goal thus far. The River Hawks previously outlasted the Wildcats 6-4 on October 15. The puck drops at 7:10 PM with Sean Meyers and Rob Longo on the call.

1/21/16 – Class A – Bishop McCort Crimson Crushers vs. Freeport Yellowjackets @ Belmont Ice Complex … Bishop McCort (10-3-1) just saw a four-game winning streak snapped. Freeport (10-4-1) was the team which broke that streak by a 4-3 count on January 5, part of a 2-2-1 string. The Crimson Crushers are third in the class with 38 goals allowed, led by John Bradley (2.76 GAA, 0.894 SV%, 1 SO). Their attack is headed up by Connor Bunn (17 G, 3 PP, 4 GW, 8 A). The Yellowjackets attack is led by Robert Reichenbaugh (22 G, 5 PP, 3 SH, 1 GW 29 A). The puck drops at 7:30 PM with Mike Azadian and Brandon Showers on the call.

1/22/16 – Class AAA – Upper St. Clair Panthers vs. Seneca Valley Raiders @ Baierl Ice Complex … The Panthers (3-9-2) are 1-4-0 in their last five and coming off consecutive losses while the Raiders (8-6-0) are on a 3-2-0 run with two straight wins. Seneca Valley is fourth in the class with 41 goals allowed, thanks in part to the play of All-Star Alyssa Peterson (4-5-0, 3.26 GAA, 0.880 SV%, 1 SO). The attack features a pair of 20-point scorers in Alexander Crilley (13 G, 3 PP, 1 SH, 4 GW, 7 A) and Christopher Lipnicky (9 G, 2 PP, 11 A). Meanwhile, Matthew Finn (7 G, 3 PP, 10 A) leads Upper St. Clair. The Raiders edged out the first contest 3-2 on October 29. The puck drops at 6:30 PM with Matt Vandriak and Kevin Zielmanski on the call.

1/22/16 – Class AAA – Canon-McMillan Big Macs vs. North Allegheny Tigers @ Baierl Ice Complex … Canon-McMillan (6-4-3) is 2-2-1 in its last five having lost two in a row while North Allegheny (8-4-1) has won its last four outings. The Tigers rank third in the class with 40 goals allowed, with Joseph Hubert (6-3-0, 2.66 GAA, 0.908 SV%) carrying most of the goaltending load. Up front, Erik Chidester (6 G, 1 GW, 14 A) and Joseph Zappia (11 G, 1 PP, 1 SH, 3 GW, 5 A) have keyed things. The Big Macs feature Luke Lavella (11 G, 3 PP, 1 GW, 8 A) among six double-digit scorers while Conor Hartnet (2.73 GAA, 0.912 SV%, 1 SO) has earned every decision for the fourth-ranked defense (41 GA). North Allegheny captured the previous match-up 4-2 on October 27. The puck drops at 8:30 PM with Matt Vandriak and Kevin Zielmanski 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” this Wednesday night at 8:00. Joining us this week will be Meadville coaching legend Jamie Plunkett, and we also take a second shot at chatting with Serra Catholic forward Roman Kraemer. Your home for the 2016 Penguins Cup Playoffs is the MSA Sports Network!

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