PIHL Notebook – 12/11/2017

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Monday, December 11, 2017 | 8:30 PM


After breaking the ice on the first installment last week, the PIHL Notebook is back each and every Monday to provide news and notes on the action from the past week. With the holidays drawing near, several teams have already established themselves as title contenders in their respective classifications. Here’s a glance at the landscape of the PIHL:

Melting the Ice (the longest winning streak in each classification)

Class AAA: North Allegheny and Bethel Park (3) – Sustaining a long winning streak is difficult in the highest classification, as evidenced by the Tigers and Black Hawks holding the distinction this week with three straight victories. North Allegheny, which currently is tied for second in Class AAA, defeated Cathedral Prep, Butler and Plum in its past three contests. After an idle week, the Tigers return to the ice tonight to play Mount Lebanon. Bethel Park, meanwhile, has bounced back recently after a disastrous start to the campaign. The Black Hawks dropped their first five contests, but rebounded to edge Butler, Plum, and red-hot Seneca Valley. All three victories for the Black Hawks were one-goal margins. As a result, the Black Hawks have moved into eighth place in the class. They have a tough test later this week, however, as they host Peters Township on Thursday.

Class AA: Armstrong (7) – The River Hawks are now tied for the most points in Class AA, courtesy of their surge over the past eight weeks. Armstrong sputtered to a 9-4 defeat in the opening game of the season against Upper St. Clair, but hasn’t tasted defeat since. Most recently, the River Hawks edged frontrunner Quaker Valley, 5-4. Next up for Armstrong is a matchup against Shaler Area on Thursday.

Class A: Bishop McCort and Meadville (9) – Another week, another victory for the Crimson Crushers and the Bulldogs. The long trips to the Pittsburgh area haven’t affected Bishop McCort and Meadville, as both teams are unblemished and are dominant in goal margin. The Crimson Crushers are +45, while the Bulldogs are +35. Bishop McCort travels to face Deer Lakes tonight, while Meadville hosts Fox Chapel.

D2: Moon (8) – After a week idle, the Tigers maintained their spot as the hottest team in Division 2, but they are now tied for first in the standings with the Burrell Buccaneers. Moon defeated the Bucs in the season opener, though, and followed up with wins against Connellsville, Kennedy Catholic, Trinity, Carrick, Central Valley, and twice Morgantown. The Tigers are back in action tonight, as they host Connellsville.

Under Review (team spotlight)

South Fayette Lions – Through nine games, South Fayette has been one of the top teams in Class A. The Lions boast a mark of 7-1-1-0, and their 15 points is tied for fourth in the classification. South Fayette has also outscored its opponents by 30 goals thus far, ranking in the top five in both goals for and goals against.

The duo of Matthew Marquis and Nolan Sarnowski have led the way offensively, as they have each contributed nine goals and seven assists. Daniel Pollock and Dante Cecere are tied for third in scoring, with 11 points each.

The Lions have a pair of netminders splitting time so far, as Kyle Sharp has appeared in five contests, while Bruce Hardman has played in four. Sharp has compiled a 4-1 mark, with a 2.77 GAA. Hardman, meanwhile, is 3-1 with a 2.22 GAA.

Under the guidance of coach Frank Certo, South Fayette defeated Greensburg Salem, Norwin, Beaver, Wheeling Catholic, Deer Lakes and Westmont Hilltop to open the slate. After consecutive losses to South Park and Chartiers Valley, the Lions bounced back with a 6-2 win against Thomas Jefferson last week. The Lions trek to West Virginia tonight to play Wheeling Park.

Slapshots on Slate (upcoming video broadcasts on the TribLive High School Sports Network)

Monday, Dec. 11: Chartiers Valley at Greensburg Salem at 7:15 p.m. and Mars at Hempfield Area at 9:15 p.m., both at Kirk Nevin Arena in Greensburg with Josh Rowntree and Rennie Detore on commentary, and Chelsea Rowntree filming – The first matchup of the doubleheader features two teams that are in desperate need of a victory. The Colts have won just two of their nine contests, while the Golden Lions are 1-9-0-0, and are ahead of just one team in the standings. One of Chartiers Valley’s victories came against another Greensburg team, Greensburg Central Catholic, while the Colts second triumph came in an upset of South Fayette two weeks ago. However, the Colts dropped their last game, a 5-3 setback to Deer Lakes last Monday. Greensburg Salem, meanwhile, notched its only W against winless Beaver on Nov. 16. Since then, the Golden Lions dropped a lopsided affair to Indiana, and a one-goal tilt to Blackhawk. The teams have scored almost an identical number of goals, but the Colts have surrendered 25 fewer. The second game pits two teams that appear playoff bound in Class AA, but that are both reeling. Mars has an even mark at 5-5-0-0, while Hempfield Area is 5-2-0-1 in eight contests. The Fighting Planets currently sit in a tie for fourth in the North/West Division, while the Spartans are tied for third in the South/East. Although Mars has played strong defense for the most part, the team has accumulated just 24 goals, one of the lowest marks in Class AA. The Spartans pack more punch, scoring 35 goals, in two fewer tilts. Hempfield enters play tonight on the heels of three straight losses, while the Planets have dropped four consecutive games.

That’s it for this week’s edition of the PIHL Notebook, but don’t forget to tune in to the PIHL Power Play Show this Wednesday at 8 p.m. on the TribLive High School Sports Network, as hosts Josh Rowntree and Kevin Zielmanski talk to coaches and players, and also highlight the top performances around the PIHL.

 

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