PIHL Open Class: Nailers Cup and Chiefs Cup Championship Recaps

Thursday, February 28, 2013 | 11:29 PM

Two Cups were captured on Thursday night, setting the stage for the Open Class championship to be decided on Monday. Here are recaps from both the Wheeling Park Nailers Cup victory and the Ford City Chiefs Cup win. You can listen to archives from both games played at the Robert Morris University Island Sports Complex on MSAsports.net

Wheeling Park Patriots 4 – Morgantown Mohawks 3

At the Island Sports center of the Robert Morris Sports Complex in the Open class of the PIHL"s Nailer's Cup final the Wheeling Park Patriots playing their third game in 5 days defeat the Morgantown Mohawks 4-3. The Patriots due to injury were only playing with 10 skaters but the came on strong early to score at 3:19 of period one as Ian McCardle scored on the power play to put Wheeling Park up 1-0. Both teams had power play chances but Morgantown went 0-2 in the first period while the Patriots went 1 for 2. The Mohawks would tie it up at 7:03 of the 2nd as they started to out play a tired Patriot team. Conor Leone jammed one in on a loose puck in front to tie it up. However at the end of period two Nicco Catalano scored on the power play to put the Patriots up 2-1 headed to the third. In the 3rd period, McCardle would score another power play goal to make it 3-1 Wheeling Park and it looked as if they were on their way to the Open Cup championship game. Not so fast as the Mohawks would score twice to tie it up. Cullen Gooken at 7:11 and Alex Battin at 14:21 made it 3-3. But a tired weary Patriot team managed a power play goal at 15:34 by McCardle his third goal of the game (the hat trick) and third power play goal of the game as he was battling two Mohawk players in front and got to a loose puck for the goal. Wheeling Park ended the night 3 for 5 on the man advantage and Morgantown 2 for 4. For the Mohawks they had 5 players score points with only Kienan Battin getting 2 assists. They end their season at 18-3-2. For the winning Patriots, who improve to 19-4 in addition to McCardle's hat trick of three goals, Catalano had a goal and 2 assists, and Michael Grove had 3 assists.  Austin Curnes had one assist on the night as well. Wheeling Park moves on to face the Ford City Sabers, the number one seed and winner of the Chiefs Cup, on Monday night at the Robert Morris University Island Sports Complex

Ford City Sabers 7 – Indiana Little Indians 4

The Ford City Sabers raced out to an early 3-0 lead in the first period, had three 3-goal leads at points during the game and ultimately held off defending Open Cup champion Indiana to win the Chiefs Cup Championship for the first time since 2009. The Sabers had all of the momentum in a very one-sided opening period as they outshot the Indians 18-9. Ford City got their seven goals from three players:  Jesse Valasek led the way with a hat trick while both Josh Oliver and Luke Gross had two goals apiece for the Sabers. Oliver scored the first two goals of the game 6:17 apart and Valasek scored at the 14:35 mark of the 1st period in what looked to be a runaway victory for Ford City. However, the tide would turn as Jess Batholow would score the first of his two goals late in the first period to get Indiana on the board. The Indians closed the gap to 3-2 when Noah Moody scored a power play goal on a blast from the top of the face-off circle just :50 into the 2nd period. But, Indiana's momentum was short lived as Luke Gross scored a marvelous goal short-handed just :29 later to extend the Ford City lead to 4-2. Gross came into Indiana's end against two Indiana defenders, got knocked to the ice and scored while seated against Indian goaltender Austin Moody. Gross got another huge goal at the 5:59 mark of the 3rd period after Indiana had cut the Ford City lead to 5-4 on goals by Camden Lydick and Bartholow. Valasek would finish out the scoring by netting an empty-net goal with :25 left in the game. Ford City now advances to play in the Open Cup Championship against the Wheeling Park Patriots. That game will be played Monday night at 8:30pm at the RMU Island Sports Complex.

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