PIHL Notebook – 12/26/2017

Tuesday, December 26, 2017 | 6:14 AM

Happy holidays to everyone, as this marks the final edition of the PIHL Notebook for 2017. With no games on the schedule this week, this special holiday installment will take a look back at the action from last week. Without further ado, let’s jump in to the most notable happenings on the ice.

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

Class AAA: Peters Township, Cathedral Prep, and Mount Lebanon (3) – Stringing together consecutive wins is a tough task in the highest classification, but the Indians, Ramblers and Blue Devils each boast a three-game surge. First place Peters Township was idle last week, with its most recent victory coming on Dec. 14 against Bethel Park. Cathedral Prep, which currently sits in second place, defeated Seneca Valley, 3-1, last Tuesday. Prior to that, the Ramblers produced lopsided wins against Butler and Central Catholic. Lastly, Mount Lebanon, which is tied for fifth place, has compiled three straight wins, all by one-goal margins. The most recent of those victories came against Butler last Monday, and previously against North Allegheny and Cathedral Prep.

Class AA: Armstrong (9) – The River Hawks continued their impressive streak, courtesy of a 5-3 road win against Montour last Monday. As a result, Armstrong has a two-point edge over the closest team in the standings in all of Class AA, Quaker Valley. Additionally, the River Hawks have compiled their 18 points in just 10 games, while the Quakers have played three more tilts. Armstrong has quite some time until it’s back in PIHL action, however, as the River Hawks don’t return to the ice until Jan. 11, when they host Mars.

Class A: Bishop McCort and Meadville (11) – These powerhouse squads were barely tested last week, as Bishop McCort smacked Wheeling Park, 7-2, while Meadville dismantled Greensburg Central Catholic, 10-0. To this point, both the Crimson Crushers and the Bulldogs have been perfect, and they are atop the standings with 22 points. Not surprisingly, defense has been a strength for both squads, as the Crimson Crushers and Bulldogs lead Class A, allowing just 18 and 22 goals, respectively. Bishop McCort returns to action against a high-scoring Kiski Area squad on Jan. 2, while Meadville plays at Wheeling Catholic on Jan. 3.

Division 2: Elizabeth Forward and Trinity (2) – Moon had been in possession of the longest winning streak in the classification for months, but the Tigers tasted defeat for the first time last week, falling to Ringgold. As a result, the Warriors and Hillers hold the distinction, despite each winning just two consecutive games. Elizabeth Forward, currently fifth in the standings, defeated Kennedy Catholic and Carrick in its only December contests. Trinity, meanwhile, is still under .500 despite the back-to-back wins against Morgantown and Ringgold. The Warriors and Hillers next play on Jan. 4, against each other in a rematch of an October clash that went in favor of EF.

Under Review (team spotlight)

Hampton Talbots – Through 10 games, the Talbots have accumulated a mark of 5-2-1-2. With 13 points, the Talbots are tied for third in the Class AA North/West Division, trailing only Armstrong and Quaker Valley, which are the top two teams in the entire classification. Hampton, which lost its first-round playoff game last season despite a No. 2 seed, is in a great position to qualify for the postseason again this campaign.

The Talbots have taken a defensive-minded approach this year, as evidenced by their 27 goals against, the lowest mark in the class. On the other hand, Hampton has produced just 37 goals, which is in the bottom half of Class AA.

To that point, the Talbots have just one player who has reached double figures in scoring – Michael Orban. Orban paces the team in goals, with eight, and is tied for the team lead in assists, with five. Aside from him, other notable scorers have included Luke Schwerer, Justin Adamski, Jacob Schwarzbach, Jason Reinert and Luke Reiser.

Between the pipes, the Talbots have two goalies who have produced at a high level. Connor Andrews has likely been the best goaltender in Class AA, as he’s won four of his five games, has a sparking goals-against average of 1.81, and boasts a robust save percentage of .928. Jacob McGee, who has also appeared in five games, has just one win, but his 2.71 GAA and .917 save percentage are both impressive.

Under the guidance of coach Dave Anderson, the Talbots return to action on Jan. 4, when they travel to face Mars.

That’ll do it for this week’s holiday edition of the PIHL Notebook. Remember to check back every Monday for the latest installment. Also, the PIHL Power Play Show will not air this week, but it will return on Jan. 3, from the state-of-the-art new studio.

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