PIHL Penguins Cup Hockey Playoff Recaps for Tuesday, March 5th

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Tuesday, March 5, 2013 | 11:24 PM


A ho-hum first night of Round One of the high school hockey postseason gave way to a pair of Class AAA dandies. Here are recaps from both games played Tuesday night as the opening round of the 2013 PIHL Penguin Cup Playoffs goes in the books.

A special thanks to Josh Rowntree and Matt Vandriak for their help on these recaps.

PIHL PENGUINS CUP CLASS AAA FIRST ROUND:

Upper St. Clair Panthers 3 – Shaler Titans 2
Upper St. Clair scored the final three goals of the game and rallied to defeat Shaler 3-2 on Tuesday night at the Ice Castle in Castle Shannon. The No. 7 Panthers (13-7-2) would fall behind 2-0 early, but prevail on Connor Ackerman's second goal of the game, coming with just 41 seconds to play in regulation. No. 10 Shaler (9-11-2) would jump out to an early lead thanks to an Austin Martz goal just 1:59 into the contest. Shortly after, Upper St. Clair's Patrick Lydon would be penalized for covering a puck in the crease, resulting in a penalty shot for Shaler's Luke Grossman. Grossman would put a fantastic move on Panthers' goalie Michael Ambrose, but it was Ambrose who made the save with his left skate. The lead would remain 1-0 until the 12:57 mark of the 2nd period, when Michael Klena would wrist a shot over Ambrose's left shoulder, extending the Titans' lead to 2-0. However, that is when the tide would turn. Matt Boyd would score a  power play goal on a rebound with 0:29 remaining in the 2nd period, cutting the Shaler lead to 1-0. Ackerman would tie the game at 2-2 just 4:30 into the 3rd period. Late in regulation, Ackerman would take a feed on a breakaway and sneak a backhanded shot through the pads of Shaler goalie Vince Evans. The puck would hit the back of the net and come back out, resting underneath of Evans' pads in the crease. No official saw the puck go in, so the play was awarded as a save for Evans, to the dismay of Ackerman. But Ackerman would overcome the bad call, taking a pass on a 2-on-1 from Austin Cassidy and sneaking it under the pads of Evans with just 0:41 left, giving the Panthers their first lead of the game and the win, 3-2. In addition to missing a penalty shot, Shaler was 0-for-3 on the power play. Ambrose stopped 36 of the 38 shots he faced. It was the second win in as many games for USC over Shaler, as they beat the Titans 2-0 last Thursday. The Panthers will move into the Class AAA Quarterfinals, where they will meet No. 2 Bethel Park tomorrow at 7PM. 

MSA Sports Three Stars
1. Connor Ackerman, USC (2 goals, assist)
2. Austin Cassidy, USC (2 assists)
3. Mike Klena, Shaler (goal)

PIHL PENGUINS CUP CLASS AAA FIRST ROUND:

Pittsburgh Central Catholic Vikings 5 – Norwin Knights 4 in Overtime
Jesse Yeckel's 2nd goal of the game at 6:05 of overtime pushed the #9 seed Vikings past the #8 seed Knights.  Down 4-3 late in the 3rd period and shorthanded by a man, Central Catholic got the equalizing goal from Neil Carleton with just :25 seconds left in regulation to set up Yeckel's overtime heroics. The Vikings got the only two goals of the first period, both from Taylor Kirchner, who found the net at 6:22 and 9:10 of the opening period.  The Knights tied it up with two goals in the second period, as Dan Merz struck twice on the power play, first at 1:01 than at 11:28. The teams combined for four goals in the third period as Mark Swankler gave Norwin their first lead of the night at 6:53.  Jesse Yeckel would tie it up for the Vikings at 10:18, before Tim Palmer gave the Knights a 4-3 lead just :33 seconds later.  After a penalty against  Kellen Carleton put Central Catholic down a man with just 1:40 left in regulation, the Vikings pulled their goalie to make it 5 on 5, and got the equalizer on Neil Carleton's shorthanded goal with time ticking down. Norwin was the only higher seed in Class-AAA to lose in the opening round.  The Knights finish 2012-13 at 11-11-0 after being knocked out by the team they beat in last seasons first round.  The Vikings improve to 11-9-2 on the season and will play top seeded Peters Township thursday night at the Ice-O-Plex at Southpointe.  Faceoff is 7:10pm here on the MSA Sports Network.

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