PIHL Penguins Cup Playoff Recaps for Tuesday, March 3rd

Tuesday, March 3, 2015 | 11:28 PM

After there were no surprises on the opening day of the high school hockey postseason, the first two eye-brow raisers of the cup chase took place Tuesday. After reaching the PIHL finals and then going on to win a national championship a year ago, #3 Bethel Park was ousted on its home ice by #6 Butler in a Class AAA Quarterfinals contest. The #5 Bishop Canevin pulled off a third period comeback with a gola in overtime to knock out #4 Hampton in Class AA. Here are summaries from the six PIHL Penguins Cup hockey games played on Day Two.

A special thanks to Gero Von Dahn, Mike Azadian, Don Rebel, Adam Gusky and Sean Meyers for their help on these recaps.


Canon-McMillan Big Macs 4 – Seneca Valley Raiders 3 in Overtime 
In a matchup between  the number four and five seeds in the PIHL AAA quarterfinal playoffs you know its usually going to be a good game. However this turned out to be a great game with great goaltending and fantastic all around play by both teams. Only won could win and the Canon McMillan Big Macs went to overtime to beat the Seneca Valley Raiders 4-3. The Big Macs scored first on a Shane Morgan goal at 12:20 of the first period to make it 1-0. Both teams took turns being the aggressor during the first period but Canon Mac led 1-0 after one period. Conner Williams tied the score at 1-1 at 3:58 and the back and forth of this game was on. No team would hold more than a one goal lead, and the game would be tied three times. The Big Macs would go up 2-1 on a great individual effort by Austin Tonkovich. On a 2 on 1 break he came down the right side and made an unreal move to beat Alyssa Peterson to make it 2-1. Peterson for the Raiders and Conor Hartnett were terrific in net. in a game with 63 shots and 7 goals you wouldn’t expect both goalies to be among the three stars, but the were that good. Each made stellar save after stellar save and made this game a masterpiece. Seneca would tie it  at 2-2 on a goal by Parker Faix. From the right circle he wristed a bullet in the top right corner and the period would end 2-2. The Raiders would go ahead 3-2 on a Alexander Crilley power play goal at 5:07 as Seneca took their first lead of the game. It didn’t last long as the Big Macs waited only 2:48 to tie it at 3-3. Tonkovich scored his second of the game and it was obvious no one would win this game easily. Both teams pressed, and both had great scoring opportunities. In the final minute of the third period it looked like Seneca had it won. As they scrambled and cycled the puck in the Canon Mac zone a Raider shot looked headed in, but Hartnett dove and rolled and made an incredible save to keep his team alive. It was the save of the season and to overtime this game would go. It wouldn’t take the Big Macs long, at :24 seconds in Zachary Mansmann ended it after he found a loose puck in front. Canon Mac will now face the number one seeded North Allegheny Tigers on Tuesday March 10th at the Island sport center at Robert Morris University in the semi finals. The MSA Three Stars: Third Star Alyssa Peterson- Seneca Valley, 31 saves on 35 shots…Second star Austin Tonkovich- Canon Mac, 2 goals…Fiirst star Conor Hartnett- Canon Mac 25 saves on 28 shots

Peters Township Indians 8 – Upper St. Clair Panthers 1 
At The Southpointe Ice Complex the second seeded Peters Township Indians cruise to an easy 8-1 victory over the Upper St. Panthers in PIHL AAA quarterfinal action. Peters Township will move to the semi finals and face the 6th seed Butler Golden Tornadoes on Tuesday March 10th at the RMU Sports Center. Upper St. Clair with only 13 skaters had no depth, and the Indians rolled 3 lines, and 3 sets of defensemen. It was only a matter of time before the Panthers would grow tired from the Indians onslaught. It all started in the second period as Adam Alavi scored on a breakaway at 6:61 to make it 1-0. Zach Gielarowski would make it 2-0 at 14:12 and period one ended 2-0 in favor of the Indians. At 4:31 of period two Peters went up 3-0 on Brady Cochranes first goal of the game. Cochrane would score again to make it 4-0 at 12:28 of the stanza.  An obviously tired Upper St Clair team had no answer for the potent Indians and things would only get worse. In the final 1:27 of the period Peters would score three goals.  They all came within :24 seconds of each other as the rout was on.  Sam Barnes, Alavi, and Carter Ekberg all scored from in close and the Indians led 7-0 after two periods. With a running clock as the mercy rule was in effect Cochrane would get the hat trick, scoring his third goal of the game to make it 8-0. Finally Upper St Clair would break the shut out attempt of Peters goalie Tony LeJeune as  Jake Reinheimer beat him at 11:01 to make the final 8-1.

Butler Golden Tornado 3 – Bethel Park Black Hawks 1 
The underdog, 6th seeded Butler Golden Tornado played like the favorites against the 3rd seeded Bethel Park Black Hawks at the Bethel Park YMCA.  After a scoreless first period Connor Scott gave Butler the lead on a blistering one-timer from the faceoff circle on a feed from Trevor Gilleland.  Seven minutes later Scott returned the favor and assisted on a Gilleland goal to give the Golden Tornado a 2-0 lead with 7:57 left in the 2nd.  This came shortly after Bethel Park was unable to convert on a 5 on 3 power play.  Butler wasn’t done there as Jonathan Fair slipped into the zone, snuck the puck off a defenseman’s skate and slapped it past Hawks goaltender William Lowe III with just 0:27 seconds left in the period.  The Hawks tried to regroup in the 3rd and finally got on the board with a Gary Cerrone power play goal at the 9:07 mark.  That was all they could muster against the stingy Butler defense that limited Bethel Park chances all night.  The Hawks earned a late power play and pulled the goaltender to gain a 6 on 4 advantage but were still unable to get it past Butler goalie Clay Bachman, who was excellent in goal.  The Golden Tornado moves on to the PIHL semifinals and Bethel Park’s season comes to an end with a 14-7-2 final record.


Erie Cathedral Prep Ramblers 4 – Latrobe Wildcats 1 
Ben Elliason scored  a pair of goal as top-seed Erie Cathedral Prep came back from an early deficit to knock off Latrobe 4-1 Tuesday night at Erie Insurance Arena. Jacob Halula actually gave the visiting Wildcats the lead 4:21 into the opening period with a helper from Tanner Shaffer. The lead didn’t last long though as Elliason scored 35 second later on assists from Trevor Faulkner and Mitch Slubowski to tie the game at 1-1. The Ramblers took control in the second period with a pair of goals in a five minute span as John Okega scored the tiebreaker followed by an unassisted goal by Elliason. It stay 3-1 Cathedral Prep until Faulkner scored an empty net goal with just over one minute left in the contest. Jacob Kucharski picked up the win for the Ramblers, stopping 24 of 25 shots on goal. ECP had the edge on shots 34-25.  Latrobe’s season comes to an end with a record of 11-9-1 while top-seed Erie Cathedral Prep improves to 18-2-0 and will face #5-seed Bishop Canevin in a Class AA Semifinals contest Monday at the RMU Sports Complex at 6:00pm

Bishop Canevin Crusaders 7 – Hampton Talbots 6 in Overtime
A frenetic scoring pace wasn’t limited to 51 minutes of regulation, as the Bishop Canevin Crusaders knocked off the Hampton Talbots 7-6 in Overtime at Blade Runners in Harmarville last night. Bishop Canevin lit the lamp first on a Thomas Krivak goal less than three minutes into the game. Hampton tied the game less than four minutes later, as Andrew Lynch found the back of the net. The Crusaders struck back quickly, as Kaden Kelley reclaimed the lead less than a minute later. Bishop Canevin stretched the lead to two on a Blaine Adams goal just under 6 minutes into the second period. The Talbots stormed back, scoring four unanswered goals by Justin Weinbrenner, Ethan Homitz, Michael Stritzinger and Daniel White. Taking a 5-3 lead into the third period. The Crusaders tied the game with goals by Jason Bilsky and Blaine Adams halfway through the third period, but Hampton’s Luke Cirlingione broke the tie just over a minute later. The Crusaders continued their relentless offensive barrage, and with less than five minutes remaining in regulation, Thomas Kriviak sent the game into overtime with his second goal of the night. Just ninety seconds into overtime, Sam Commendatore made a pad save on a solid shot by Jacob Ondrejko, but Kaden Kelly was there to bury a blind backhand shot into the net, sending the Crusaders to the PIHL AA Penguins Cup Semifinals. With the win, Bishop Canevin is now 11-9, while Hampton finishes their season with a recoed of 14-5-1. The Crusaders will take on Erie Cathedral Prep on Monday at the 84 Lumber Arena at the RMU Island Sports Center.

Shaler Titans 7 – North Hills Indians 4 
In a game filled with goals and marred by penalties, the Shaler Titans prevailed against the North Hills Indians 7-4 in Class AA quarterfinals play at Blade Runners in Harmarville. Austin Martz led the way for the Titans, as he produced six points, including a hat trick. In the defeat, Indians’ forward Brett Berner also netted three goals. Martz put his team in the board just 1:26 into the contest, and his second tally early in the second period staked Shaler to a 2-0 lead. Berner scored on a 5-on-3 power play, however, to trim the North Hills deficit to 2-1. With less than two minutes left in the period, though, Alexander Ficorilli, who led Shaler (17-3) in points during the regular season, restored the Titans’ two-goal advantage. The wild third period included seven goals and nine penalties, as tempers became heated between the benches. Ficorilli again lit the lamp to put Shaler ahead 4-1, and Stephen Stayduhar extended that lead when he scored on a breakaway just seconds after exiting the penalty box. The Indians (10-11) mounted a comeback bid, though, as Tyler Volz and Berner scored less than one minute apart to pull North Hills within two. After Austin Biondo added an insurance tally for the Titans, Berner again tickled the twine on a terrific shorthanded goal to trim his team’s deficit to 6-4. Martz capped the scoring, though, as his empty net goal with 37.1 seconds remaining sealed the outcome and put an exclamation point on his incredible performance. Vinny Evans notched the win in net, as he stopped 31 of the 35 shots he faced. With the victory, Shaler advances to face either Moon or Armstrong in the semifinals, which will be played on Monday, March 9 at the RMU Island Sports Center.

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