PIHL Penguin Cup Playoff Recaps for Monday, March 7th

Monday, March 7, 2011 | 12:00 AM

The opening round of the high school hockey playoff began with a big on a bang Monday night in the PIHL. Most of the games played went down to the wire, and in the case of one Class AAA contest, beyond the end of regulation. Here are recaps from the three games heard here on the MSA Sports Network Monday night, one from each of the three classifications.

Thanks to Lee Mohn, Brandon Rebel and Mark Schaas for their help on these recaps


Pittsburgh Central Catholic Vikings 6 – Hempfield Spartans 5 in Overtime
Pittsburgh Central Catholic scored 8 minutes into overtime to cap an exciting comeback Monday night and claim a 6-5 victory against Hempfield. Hempfield led 5-3 with 3 minutes left before Central Catholic went to the power play. Kevin Kline scored with 1:19 left and made it 5-4. Then another penalty resulted in another power play for Central Catholic. Just 10 seconds in and 1:09 left Eric Smith tied the game then he finished it with a shorthanded goal in overtime. Eric Smith led the Vikings with 3 goals and Neil Carleton had 3 assists. For Hempfield Kyle Rosendale had a pair of goals and ended his season with 47 goals. Central Catholic will now move on to the Quarterfinals Wednesday night. You can hear the game right hear on the MSA Sports Network.



Pine-Richland Rams 5 – Erie Cathedral Prep Ramblers 3
One young man kept his team's season and playoff hopes alive nearly single-handedly in tonight's first round playoff game between the Pine Richland Rams and the Erie Cathedral Prep Ramblers. #91 for Pine Richland, Julian Rizza, was that man as he stormed Erie's net relentlessly throughout the contest. Ending up with four goals, and nearly a fifth as an empty net try slid just wide, he was the difference maker in the game for Pine Richland. Erie Cathedral Prep would start off the scoring though with a goal just 2:49 into the first period, an Adam Spinelli wrister from the slot that beat PR goalie Brendan Bagnato over the glove hand side. Six minutes later Julian Rizza would put his team on his shoulders and not look back; his first and second goals of the evening coming at 8:22 and 10:32 to give Pine Richland a 2-1 lead. That wound up not lasting long as Anthony Tebaldi scored an unassisted goal off of an egregious error by Pine Richland's Bagnato, who was trying to clear the zone all by himself and did not get all of his energy onto the clearing attempt. Tebaldi pounced on the loose puck, measured it up, and threw it into the back of a wide open cage with Bagnato scrambling to recover making it 2-2 at the end of one period. The second period was no different than the first as both teams seemed to throw their defense to the wind and be content with a run-and-shoot style of play through the better part of the 15 minute frame. Penalties also began to mar the contest with a total of 15 between the two clubs, although in a strange twist of fate none of the 8 goals scored in the game were power play goals. Illustrating the back and forth style of play that encompassed the game, Julian Rizza found himself all alone in front of the Cathedral Prep net off of a turnover just 47 seconds into the second and he buried a backhander behind Erie's Jacob Varo giving him the quick natural hat trick. Erie Cathedral Prep answered two minutes later with a Chris Coombs unassisted goal to tie the game once again. Pine Richland's Nicholas Jenkins (assisted from Dillon Kessy) gave them the lead 4-3, for good this time, as he made a nice play to scoop it into the Erie net as he was being upended to the left of the goalmouth. With two periods in the books and 7 goals scored, the large Pine-Richland heavy crowd thought that perhaps the teams were headed for double digits, but it was not to be. The only tally of the third period was a goal by Julian Rizza which came on a penalty shot that he was awarded after being dragged down from behind by a Rambler defenseman. Rizza wasted no time on the penalty shot, streaking toward the net and at the last second turning the puck over from his backhand to his forehand and putting the puck behind a bewildered Jacob Varo to make it 5-3 in favor of Pine Richland. From there, Pine Richland's defense set the tone as the continuously beat back attempts by Erie Cathedral Prep to establish offensive zone presence and pull to within one. Keeping the lead was hard enough and making it worse was the bevy of penalties that Pine Richland took in the third, something they dearly need to cut down on if they hope to advance further in the Class AA playoffs. In the end, time ran out on Erie Cathedral Prep's chances and season as they now look forward to building their young core for next years playoff run. Pine Richland seized on the home ice advantage, but will now head straight into the trenches of Class AA, facing either top seed Peters Township or second seed Bishop Canevin. PR will have to wait on the outcome of the Elizabeth Forward and Moon match-up that takes place Tuesday night to see who they will face on Wednesday at either 7:10 p.m. (Mt. Lebo Ice Arena vs. Canevin) or 8:50 p.m. (Southpointe Ice-o-plex vs. Peters).

Pine-Richland – 29
Erie Cathedral Prep – 16

3 Stars:
1. PR – Julian Rizza (4G,0A)
2. ECP – Chris Coombs (1G,1A)
3. PR – Nicholas Jenkins (1G,0A) 'Game Winning Goal'

Play of the Game:
– Julian Rizza goal on the most exciting play in hockey, a penalty shot, to seal it at 5-3.



Central Valley Warriors 5 – Freeport Yellowjackets 3
The Warriors rallied from 1-0 and 2-1 deficits to claim their first even Penguin Cup playoff victory at the Beaver County Ice Arena Monday night. Kevin Guzak had a hat trick, including a power play goal and Tyler Kocis added two goals and three assists for the winners. Freeport got the first goal of the game 51 seconds in as Cole Hepler scored on a man advantage with Craig Fairley in the box on a tripping call. The Yellow Jackets dominated the first period, using their speed to bottle Central Valley in the defensive zone. Freeport had 10 shots to CV's 5 in the opening period. Things changed in the second, Central Valley got the power play goal 58 seconds into the period as Guzak scored his first of the night. Freeport took back the lead just over two minutes later when Tyler Greene lit the lamp and a 2-1 lead, that however would be the last Freeport lead of the night. Kocis scored 63 seconds later, it was his 43rd goal this season. Guzak added his second goal of the game 1:11 later and Central Valley led 3-2. Freeport officially killed a tripping minor to John Bird, but before Bird could get into the play, Guzak hit the back of the net again to take a 4-2 lead with 3:58 remaining in the second. Central Valley thought they had a fifth goal, as Troy Belcastro came in on a break away and beat goalie Cody Lee, but the referee ruled the puck did not cross the goal line. Tyler Greene broke in all alone with 10 seconds to play in the second, he was slashed by Tyler Downing and Freeport was awarded a penalty shot with 1.8 seconds left. Dalton Moore converted, making it a 4-3 Central Valley lead after two. Central Valley out shot Freeport 10-7 in the period. Freeport had a golden chance to tie the game when Downing was called for roughing with 5:55 left, goalie Nathan Wormald got a tripping penalty, giving Freeport a 5 on 3 advantage for 1:06. But Wormald made up for the penalty, making five great saves, including a high glove stop on a shot from the point. Jonathan Hill took a tripping penalty of his own to end the extended power play for Freeport. Freeport took another penalty in the final two minutes, they pulled the goaltender making it a five on five. Kocis added an empty netter with 22 seconds left to end the game. Central Valley is 8-13-1 on the season, Wormald stopped 22 shots for the win. The Warriors advance to the quarterfinals where they will either meet Kittanning or Mars. Freeport ends the season at 7-14-1. Lee stopped 18 shots for the Yellow Jackets.

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