Pine-Richland’s offense shines in PIHL quarterfinal win over Hempfield

Monday, March 4, 2019 | 10:12 PM

Hempfield entered Monday night’s PIHL Penguins Cup Class 2A quarterfinal as the classification’s top scoring offense.

However, it was Pine-Richland’s offense that took over.

The Rams scored the first five goals, including four in the game’s first 8 minutes, 31 seconds, to post an 8-4 win over the Spartans at Baier Ice Complex.

Top-seeded Pine-Richland (19-1) meets Latrobe, a 4-1winner over Hampton, in next Wednesday’s semifinals at RMU Island Sports Center.

The Rams tallied 112 goals during the regular season, which put them one behind the Spartans (113). They looked pretty formidable against Hempfield (12-9) as six players tallied goals.

“All season, we’ve been really good at getting a great start. We need to be better keeping our foot on the gas,” Pine-Richland’s Jordan Rosenbaum said. “The first period is good, but we seem to ease off the gas in the second.”

Pine-Richland wasted little time scoring as Brandon Kashur chipped in a rebound 2:53 into the game. Jack Tyndall scored 59 seconds later and Alexander Rihn slammed in a loose puck for a 3-0 lead. Rosenbaum’s blast from the near point made it a 4-0 game with 8:29 left in the first period.

Brandon Will scored 55 seconds into the second period to push the Rams’ margin to 5-0.

Hempfield’s Aiden Edwards broke the shutout with a short-handed goal 2:16 into the second. It gave the Spartans some life as Jared Gerger scored on a wrister from the slot for a power-play goal to make it 5-2.

Ben McLeister’s shot from the far point gave Pine-Richland a 6-2 lead. Jacob Holtzman gave Hempfield a spark when he slammed in a loose puck with 2:26 left in the second period. However, Rosenbaum collected a power-play goal with 1:35 remaining for a 7-3 lead.

The Spartans’ Dan Pronin tallied a short-handed goal with 3:45 to play. The Rams iced the win with Rihn’s empty-net goal with 39.4 seconds to play.

“I am proud of our team. We never gave up,” Hempfield coach Denny Zeravica said. “They kept working. No one was down on anyone on the bench and there wasn’t any screaming or anything. The kids just worked hard all three periods. It is hard to go down early like that, but I loved their resilience.”

Joe Sager is a freelance writer.

Joe Sager is a freelance writer.

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