PIHL Playoff Recaps for Wednesday, March 11th

Thursday, March 12, 2015 | 2:03 AM

A fantastic three days of Final Four high school hockey at the Robert Morris University Sports Complex on Neville Island came to an end Wednesday with a pair of overtime thrillers. While the two favorites prevailed, it was anything but easy in clinching another trip to the PIHL Penguins Cup Finals for both Quaker Valley and Mars. Here are recaps from those two games as well as the fourth and final Division II Quarterfinals playoff game,

A special thanks to Bob Orkwis, Josh Rowntree and Sean Meyers for their help on these recaps.

{Above: Connor Quinn scores overtime game winner to lift Quaker Valley over Hempfield Wednesday in a Class A Semifinals game. Special thanks to David Hague for the photo}


Quaker Valley Quakers 3 – Hempfield Spartans 2 in Overtime 
Connor Quinn’s shorthanded breakaway goal: 38 into overtime gave Quaker Valley a 3-2 win over Hempfield at the Robert Morris University Island Sports Center and put the Quakers into the PIHL Class A Championship Game for the 4th consecutive year. With Beau Tomczak serving a tripping penalty that occurred with :03 left in regulation, Quinn stole the puck from Andrew Koziara at the QV blue line and was able to outskate the Hempfield junior down the ice and slide the game winner past Garet Ciramella to give the Quakers a shot at winning their 4th straight PIHL Title. The goal was the third unanswered tally for QV as they trailed Hempfield 2-0 early in the second period. The Spartans scored twice in a: 44 game time span to build the lead. Sophomore Luke Rosendale scored his 34th goal of the season when he beat Quaker Valley’s Parker Sherry on a rebound at (16:47) of the first period. The goal came after the Quakers were called for icing with: 29 left in the opening frame. Conor Cortazzo and Christian Gorscak picked up assists on the goal. Gorscak found the net: 31 into the second period when he deflected a puck past Sherry for his 14th goal of the season. Rosendale and Connor Monzo picked up the helpers as the Spartans led 2-0. It took the Quakers a while to answer the Spartans and it was freshman Ben Kuzma who put Quaker Valley on the board. Kuzma was able to poke a rebound past Ciramella at (11:59) of the second period after QV forced a turnover in the offensive zone. Quinn and Adam Pilewicz picked up assists on the goal. Pilewicz would then tie the game with this 50th goal of the season at (16:20) on a spectacular individual effort. As the Quakers were going for a line change, Pilewicz entered the Hempfield zone 1-on-4. The senior forward was able to stickhandle through traffic and his backhand shot from the left goal line hit a skate of a Spartans defender in front of the net and slid past Ciramella and inside the far post to tie the game at 2-2. Quaker Valley outshot Hempfield 11-7 in the third period but neither team was able to score which set up Quinn’s heroics in overtime for the Quakers. Top seeded Quaker Valley improved to (21-1-1) on the season with the victory, The Quakers will face their Class A rival the Mars Planets on Saturday night at 9:30 PM at the Consol Energy Center in the final of the three PIHL Championship Games. The Spartans, seeded fourth in the PIHL Class A Playoffs, finish the year at (16-7-1). In addition to trying to capture their 4th straight PIHL title, the Quakers will be skating for the programs 6th Penguins Class A Cup on Saturday.

Score by Period:
Quaker Valley Quakers: 0-2-0-1=3
Hempfield Spartans: 1-1-0-0=2

Quaker Valley: 39
Hempfield: 26

Bladerunners Scoring Summary:
First Period:
Hempfield – Luke Rosendale (34) (Conor Cortazzo, Christian Gorscak) 16:47
Second Period:
Hempfield – Gorscak (14) (Rosendale, Connor Monzo) 0:31
Quaker Valley – Ben Kuzma (7) (Connor Quinn, Adam Pilewicz) 11:59
Quaker Valley – Pilewicz (50) (Beau Tomczak) 16:20
Third Period:
No Scoring
Quaker Valley – Quinn (49) (Unassisted) 0:38 (SHG)

QV: Parker Sherry: (26 Shots, 24 Saves) (14-1-0)
Hempfield: Garet Ciramella: (39 Shots, 36 Saves) (12-6-1)

Power Plays:
Quaker Valley (0-2)         Hempfield (0-1)

Management Science Associates Three Stars:
1. Connor Quinn (QV) (1G, 1A) – Game Winning SHG
2. Adam Pilewicz (QV) (1G, 1A)
3. Garet Ciramella (Hempfield) (36 Saves)

Mount Lebanon Ice Arena Play of the Game:
Was there any doubt? The short handed game winner by the junior Connor Quinn was the POTG. Quinn was calm and collected after stealing the puck at his own blue line and also while being chase from behind as he skated in one-on-one with Garet Ciramella who was strong between the pipes for Hempfield. But the talented Quinn, who is an outstanding playoff scorer for Quaker Valley, buried his third goal of the 2015 playoffs and his 49th of the season to put the Quakers into the finals for the fourth straight season. Quinn, who also scored a shorthanded goal in the Quakers quarterfinal win over Westmont Hilltop, now, has 9 shorthanded goals on the season.

Mars Fighting Planets 4 – Deer Lakes Lancers 3 in Overtime 
Owen Vasbinder’s rebound goal at 2:36 of the first overtime lifted Mars (19-4-1) to a 4-3 PIHL Penguins Cup Class A Semifinals win over Deer Lakes (17-6-1) on Wednesday night at Robert Morris University’s Island Sports Center. With the win, the Fighting Planets advance to the PIHL Class A Championship Game, where they will meet rival Quaker Valley (21-1-1) on Saturday at 9:30 PM at CONSOL Energy Center. Ian Houk-Graves scored two goals and assisted the game-winning goal for Mars, which advances to the Class A Championship Game for the seventh time in eight seasons. Despite the tight score, it was Mars who dominated the flow and shot chart of the game, outshooting the Lancers 58-19 on the night. That type of constant pressure resulted in Mars scoring the first goal at 14:32 of the first period on a shot by Beau Heakins that snuck through the pads of Deer Lakes goalie Jonathan Lang, who made 54 saves in the game. Mars would take the lead to the first intermission, but lose it quickly into the second period. James Mastron would score just his third goal of the season on a low shot that was misplayed by Mars goalie Tyler Spreng, who stopped 16 shots on the night. Over eleven minutes later, Houk-Graves would give Mars the lead back on a quick wrist shot from just outside of the left circle. However, Deer Lakes would answer in a quick way as, just 25 seconds later, Vince Casale would knock in a centering pass from Zach Luniewski, evening the game at 2-2. The tie would hold until 2:15 of the third period when the Lancers would grab their first and only lead on an incredible wrist shot from the left circle by the PIHL’s leading goal scorer, Mitch Rupprecht, who finished his senior year with 73 goals. But just over three minutes later, Houk-Graves would tie the game on an equally impressive wrist shot from the right circle. That score would hold until Vasbinder’s overtime winner, a put-back goal on the doorstep that was banged in after a shot by Houk-Graves hit the leg of Paul Maust and trickled in front of Lang, setting up Vasbinder perfectly. The Championship matchup between Mars and Quaker Valley will be a familiar one, as the two rivals will square off for a third time in four years. This will be the tenth straight year that either Quaker Valley or Mars has appeared in the title game.

Score By Period:
M: 1-1-1-1=4
DL: 0-2-1-0=3

Mars: 58
Shaler: 19

Bladerunners Scoring Summary:
1st Period:
M: Beau Heakins (powerplay) (Paul Maust), 14:32
2nd Period:
DL: James Mastran (unassisted), 0:17
M: Ian Houk-Graves (Owen Vasbinder), 11:45
DL: Vince Casale (Zach Luniewski, Jonathan Merlo), 12:10
3rd Period:
DL: Mitch Rupprecht (unassisted), 2:15
M: Ian Houk-Graves (2) (unassisted), 5:29
M: Owen Vasbinder (Paul Maust, Ian Houk-Graves), 2:36

M: Tyler Spreng (19 shots, 16 saves) (18-3-1)
DL: Jonathan Lang (58 shots, 54 saves) (17-6-1)

M: 1-for-5
DL: 0-for-1

Management Science Associates Three Stars:
1. Ian Houk-Graves, Mars (2G, A)
2. Owen Vasbinder, Mars (GWG, A)
3. Jonathan Lang, Deer Lakes (54 saves)

Mount Lebanon Ice Arena Play of the Game:
Owen Vasbinder’s goal at 2:36 of the first overtime, which sent Mars to their seventh PIHL Championship Game in eight years.

PIHL DIVISION II Quarterfinals:

Indiana Little Indians 3 – Peters Township-B Indians 2 
For the third time this season, Indiana and Peters Township B squared off on the ice, and for the third time, Indiana prevailed by a one-goal margin. The Little Indians used a potent power play to prevail 3-2 against the Indians at S&T Bank Arena in Division II quarterfinals action. Peters Township B, the No. 7 seed, found the back of the net first, as Conner Gielarowski staked his team to the lead just more than eight minutes into the contest. The second period would belong to the Little Indians, though, as Indiana scored twice with the man advantage. Luke Lewandowski netted the equalizer on the backhand for second-seeded Indiana, while Andrew Roth put his squad ahead with 10:37 left in the frame when he chipped in the loose puck off a faceoff. Indiana (14-5-2) again capitalized on the power play early in the third period, as Patrick O’Neal unleashed a wicked wrister that ripped the twine behind Indians goaltender Wesley Kaylor. That insurance goal proved significant, as Peters Township (10-12) battled back and pulled within one when Trent Burns lit the lamp less than three minutes into the frame. Indiana would make that lead stand, though, as a strong defensive effort and the play of netminder Zane McElheny allowed the Little Indians to secure the victory. In addition to their advantage on special teams, the Little Indians also dominated in the shots column, as they fired 34 pucks on net, compared to just 19 for the Indians. With the triumph, Indiana advances to the semifinals, where the Little Indians will face Beaver at 8:30 p.m. Monday, March 16 at Blade Runners in Warrendale.


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