PIHL Penguins Cup Recaps – Monday, March 3rd

Tuesday, March 4, 2014 | 12:20 AM

The curtain rose on the 2014 PIHL Penguins Cup Playoffs on Monday with a combined seven games. Here are summaries from two Class AAA, three Class AA and two Class A Preliminary Round, First Round and Quarterfinals contests, five of which can be heard archived here on the MSA Sports Network.

A special thanks to Bob Orkwis, Josh Rowntree, Adam Hoerner, Steve Nagler , Mike Azadian and Sean Meyers for their help on these recaps.


Upper St. Clair Panthers 7 – Shaler Titans 1 
Upper St. Clair (7-14) scored a season-high seven goals, taking down Shaler, 7-1, in a AAA Preliminary Round Tiebreaker Game at Delmont Ice Center. Austin Cassidy scored three goals and assisted another, while teammate Matt Finn recorded a season-high five points, as the Panthers claim the 12-seed and move into the PIHL First Round. Cassidy started the scoring with a rebound goal on a Finn shot, giving Upper St. Clair a 1-0 lead at 5:15 of the first period. But Shaler (6-15) would answer right back with their lone goal, a powerplay strike from Braedon Harbison at the 6:37 mark. However, Upper St. Clair would score two more goals in the period from Finn and a redirect from Jacob Puccetti, giving the Panthers a 3-1 lead at the first intermission. Zac Lazur would push their lead to 4-1 at the 2:22 mark of the 2nd period after banking a shot off of the backside of Shaler goalie Ian Zacharias. Cassidy would then find Matt Boyd at the 15:53 mark on a 2-on-1 break while both teams played with four men on the ice. The goal, Boyd’s 10th of the season, gave Upper St. Clair a 5-1 lead after two periods. The Panthers did not let up in the final frame, outshooting Shaler 17-3 and notching two more goals by Cassidy, with one on the powerplay and a shorthanded, breakaway goal for the hat trick. Tyler Finn stopped 21-of-22 shots for Upper St. Clair, while his counterpart, Zacharias, only blocked 35-of-42 shots on goal. Matt Finn, who recorded five points in the game, only had eight points all season and had just one multi-point game this year. The Panthers will now meet #5 Penn-Trafford in the AAA First Round tomorrow at the Delmont Ice Arena at 7:20. That game can be heard on msasports.net. For the second-straight season, Shaler is eliminated from the Penguins Cup Playoffs by Upper St. Clair.


Pine-Richland Rams 5 – Mount Lebanon Blue Devils 4 in Overtime
At the Ice Connection in Valencia the number 6 seeded Pine Richland Rams held off an upset bid by the Mount Lebanon Blue Devils who were seeded 11th by a score of 5-4 in overtime. The Rams were on a hot streak winning 5 of 8 games coming into the postseason. The Blue Devils had lost 5 of 6. It seemed a mismatch, but despite having a rough year Lebo nearly pulled off the shocker.In the first period Pine Richland scored first off a shot by Michael Haughey from the point at 8:02 to make it 1-0. Lebo would score the next two goals to make it 2-1. Griffin Nelson tied it at 1-1 at 8:22, then Stephen Sramac gave them the lead at 10:46 to take control of the game. At 14:47 of the period the Rams Kyle Cunningham tied it at 2-2. The period ended and PR had 12 shots to Lebo’s 10.Pine Richland took the lead 3-2 with a goal late in period 2 as Andres Binotto  scored at 16:11. Lebo had 5 shots and PR 9 in a defensive period.Both teams had power play chances but both failed to score. PR goalie Isaac Stephen kept the Blue devils off the scoreboard with stellar net play.In the third period the Rams would go up 4-2 with a power play goal by Ryan Cole at 2:54 and all the momentum was their’s. But Mt lebanon would not go away. They pressed, and pushed and fought until finally with 2:04 left in the game Reed Farber scored to make it 4-3.Then with the Blue Devil goalie pulled and the extra attacker on they would score with :29 seconds left to tie it at 4-4. Farber got his second of the game and we were headed to overtime. The Blue Devils out shot the Rams 10-9 in the third period.In overtime both teams had chances early but Mt Lebanon took a costly penalty., Then on the power play Cunningham scored a fabulous goal. From his own end he skated, out of his zone, across the red line, then the Lebo blue line. Weaving thru players along the way he made a move from the right wing, came to the net, made yet another move and scored to bring the house down. A tremendous individual effort and the game winner as the Rams squeak out a victory 5-4. Final shot totals were 32 for Pine Richland and 29 for Mt Lebanon.The Blue Devils fall to 6-14-1 and end their season. The Rams improve to 12-8-1 and will play a team to be determined in the second round of the PIHL playoffs on Wednesday or Thursday of this week.The Three stars of the game were:  Number three star was Andres Binotto from Pine Richland with 1 goal and 1 assist  The Number two star from Mt Lebanon was Reed Farber with 2 goals. The Number one star and player of the game with 2 goals was the Rams Kyle Cunningham.


Bishop Canevin Crusaders 7 – North Hills Indians 2 
Bishop Canevin’s Blaine Adams scored a goal in each period on his way to a hat trick and the Crusaders killed off all eight penalties that they took en route to a dominating opening round Penguin Cup win against the North Hills Indians.  Adams erased an early 1-0 North Hills lead by beating Indians goaltender Trenton Pelligreno after taking a terrific pass by Randy Unger at 15:42 of the 1st period.  Both Thomas Krivak and Unger would tally early 2nd period goals as the Crusaders dashed to a 3-1 lead before Jordan Gayso would score for North Hills to draw the Indians back to within one goal.  However, Garrett Godlewski and Adams would score 26 seconds apart to extend the lead to 5-2 before the 2nd intermission and the rout was on.  Bishop Canevin’s Alec Bosnic would score a shorthanded goal just 1:49 into the 3rd period to put this game on ice and Adams would complete his hat trick midway through the period.  Unger finished the game with a goal and three assists for Bishop Canevin.  Brett Berner scored the first goal of the game for North Hills and defenseman John Siebert added two assists for the Indians.  North Hills had several chances with the man advantage on the night, including over three minutes of 5-3 power play time in the 3rd period but couldn’t score with the man advantage all night.  Crusaders’ goaltender Nikita Meskin stopped 20/22 shots that he faced on the evening for his 21st win of the season.  With the win, Bishop Canevin (21-2) advances into the semifinals of the Class AA tournament to be played later in the week.  With the loss, North Hills season comes to an end with a record of 10-13.

Erie Cathedral Prep Ramblers 7 – Chartiers Valley Colts 4 
Despite a hat trick by Chartiers Valley’s Cullen McMahon, Erie Cathedral Prep used a big middle period to advance to the Class AA Semifinals with a three goal victory Monday night at the Mercyhurst Ice Arena in Erie. The second-seed Ramblers busted open a close game with three unanswered goals in the second period to take control. Anthony Franks scored just over five minutes into the contest to give Chartiers Valley a 1-0 lead. After Anthony Piglowski tied the game over a minute later, McMahon put the Colts back up for the final time midway through the opening period. But ECP took control a minute later with the tying goal by Joe Kelly and the go-ahead goal by Hunter Emerson 21 second apart to take the lead for good at 3-2. Jeremiah Ordos, Brandon Gotkin and Kelly scored in the second as the Ramblers cruised into the third period. There McMahon scored his final tow goals for the Colts while Shane Cross tallied for the Ramblers. Chartiers Valley’s season ends with a record of 11-12 while Erie Cathedral Prep advances to next Tuesday’s PIHL Penguins Cup Class AA Semifinals at the RMU Island Sports Complex on Neville Island with a mark of 17-4-2.

Hampton Talbots 3 – Plum Mustangs 2 in Overtime
Hampton’s Michael Stritzinger scored 4:03 into the first overtime period to give the fourth-seeded Talbots a 3-2 victory over No. 5 seed Plum in Penguins Cup Class AA opening round action. Stritzinger netted the game winner by throwing the puck towards the goal as he circled around the net, and it trickled past Mustangs’ netminder James Borriello. Stritzinger scored a similar goal with 13:32 remaining in the third, as he snuck a wrap around attempt between Borriello and the post to tie the contest 2-2. Talbots goaltender Cameron Raidna made 33 saves, including a number of stellar stops when the Mustangs threatened to add to their 2-1 edge late in the second. David Stonebraker accounted for both of the Plum tallies. He roofed a shot far side from a sharp angle with 11:53 left in the second to deadlock the score. Just over six minutes later, he found the back of the net again when he ripped a one-timer from the slot after Joe Randazzo fed him a perfect pass. Hampton (14-8-1) opened the scoring in the second, when Aaron Contrafatto deflected a Zachary Twerdok shot from the point. Late in regulation, with Twerdok in penalty box, Plum (12-8-4) appeared the net the go-ahead marker, but the officials waved off the goal as they lost sight of the puck. Hampton took advantage by killing off the penalty, and in the extra stanza, the Talbots outshot Plum 4-0.


Quaker Valley Quakers 8 – South Fayette Lions 1 
Goaltender Wesley Sprecher did all he could for South Fayette (4-18-0) in its Class A Quarterfinal match-up with Quaker Valley (22-1-0) at Airport Ice Arena on Monday night. There were just too many second (and third, and fourth) chance opportunities, and the Quakers ultimately rolled to an 8-1 decision. Jimmy Perkins got things going early at 14:12 of the first on the only soft goal Sprecher would allow, a low wrist shot through the five-hole. Ryan Lottes got the eventual winner on the power play two minutes later, and Scott Weston chipped in a rebound with 1:20 left for a 3-0 lead. Weston would add another rebound goal early in the second, and Lottes blasted his second about two minutes after that. It was 6-0 Quaker Valley through two, and they would add two more rebound goals 18 seconds apart early in the third. Jordan Timmons would give the Lions the final word on the score sheet, though, converting a one-timer to spoil Parker Sherry’s shutout bid with 10:59 to play. The Quakers now have a week to prepare for the Semifinal round on Neville Island next Monday, and will know tomorrow which opponent to study film on.

Freeport Yellowjackets 6 – Westmont-Hilltop Hilltoppers 2 
Freeport used a 3 goal second period to skate past the Hilltoppers and into the PIHL Class A semifinals at the Belmont Ice Complex in Kittanning. The game was tied 1-1 before Cole Hepler, Michael Frazetta and Hunter Kepple lit the lamp for the Yellowjackets who led by 3 after two periods. Adam McQuillan scored a power play goal on a deflection (6:31) into the third period to make the score 4-2. But Stone Haberstroh scored his second goal of the game on a two man advantage and Hepler added an empty net goal with (1:25) remaining to ice the game for Freeport. Hepler now has 34 goals on the season for the Yellowjackets and the senior forward also added a pair of assists. Haberstroh finished with 3 points for Freeport and was named the Management Science Associates Star of the Game for his effort. Frazetta added a pair of assists to go with his goal while McQuillan and defenseman Brandon Leech each had a goal and assist for Westmont-Hilltop. Sophomore Matt Huston was steady between the pipes for Freeport making 24 saves to record his 6th win of the season. With the victory, 4th seeded Freeport improves to (15-5-2) and the Yellowkjackets will play in the semifinals on Monday night against an opponent to be determined at the Robert Morris University Island Sports Complex. 5th seeded Westmont-Hilltop finishes the season with a (13-7-3) record.

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