Previewing the 2024 PIHL Penguins Cup championship games

By:
Sunday, March 17, 2024 | 4:06 PM


PIHL playoffs

Penguins Cup

Class 3A

Championship

2-North Allegheny (16-4-0-2-0) vs. 1-Pine-Richland (17-4-0-0-1)

6:15 p.m. Tuesday, UPMC Lemieux Complex, Cranberry

Winner: Advances to the Pennsylvania Cup state championship to play winner of Flyers Cup.

Players to watch: Evan Kerber, North Allegheny; Zachary Howard, Pine-Richland

Ice chips: North Allegheny finished tied for second place in Class 3A this season with 30 points. The Tigers advanced to the finals after wins over No. 7 Central Catholic and No. 3 Seneca Valley. Luke Walkauskas led the Tigers in scoring during the regular season with 11 goals and 16 assists. Evan Kerber added 17 goals and seven assists. The Tigers have won eight of their last nine games. … Pine-Richland was the top finisher in the regular season with 31 points. The Rams beat No. 8 Bethel Park in the quarterfinals and No. 4 Peters Township in the semifinals. Pine-Richland beat North Allegheny twice during the regular season, 5-4 on Oct. 19 and 4-3 in overtime on Jan. 11. The Rams closed the season with seven straight wins. Zachary Howard had 17 goals and 14 assists to lead the Rams’ scoring in the regular season.

Class 2A

Championship

8-Penn-Trafford (9-9-0-0) vs. 2-Thomas Jefferson (19-2-0-0)

6:15 p.m. Monday, UPMC Lemieux Complex, Cranberry

Winner: Advances to the Pennsylvania Cup state championship to play winner of Flyers Cup.

Players to watch: Drew Hall, Penn-Trafford; Jake Stock, Thomas Jefferson

Ice chips: Underdog Penn-Trafford upset rival and No. 4 seed Norwin, 6-3, to reach the finals for the first time in program history. Hall had two goals and an assist in the win. The Warriors upset No. 1 South Fayette in the first round 4-3. The Hall, Kyler Doran, Bryce Kropczynski line accounted for five goals. Penn-Trafford, the first No. 8 seed to make the final since Canon-McMillan in 2010, reached the semifinals two years ago but lost to Thomas Jefferson. … Stock and Scott Allan had hat tricks for Thomas Jefferson in a 9-3 victory over Franklin Regional in the other semifinal. The Jaguars have won four Penguins Cup titles, the most recent in 2022. They won three in a row from 1998-2000. Thomas Jefferson led 2A in scoring during the regular season with 124 goals.

Class A

Championship

5-Greensburg Salem (15-5-0-1) vs. 1-Chartiers Valley (21-0-0-0)

8:45 p.m. Tuesday, UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex, Cranberry

Winner: Advances to the Pennsylvania Cup state championship to play winner of Flyers Cup.

Players to watch: Tristan Gonzales, Greensburg Salem; Noah Callender, Chartiers Valley

Ice chips: Need an upset? Call Greensburg Salem. The Golden Lions have left a trail of them on the way to their first Penguins Cup final. They defeated No. 3 Shaler, 2-1, in the semifinals for their eighth straight win. Gonzales made 29 saves, and Chase Kushner and Luke Dieter (penalty shot) scored second-half goals in the win. Greensburg Salem also knocked off No. 4 Plum and No. 1 Quaker Valley in the gold bracket. … Chartiers Valley is unbeaten, but the Colts have not won a PIHL title since 1986. Callendar and Tyler Held (power play) scored in a 2-1 win over Indiana in the semifinals. Both players also had an assist. Matthew Colberg made 27 saves. Chartiers Valley has allowed just 25 goals, the fewest in the classification.

Division 2

Championship

4-Neshannock (10-3-0-0-1) vs. 3-Burrell (9-3-0-0-0)

8:45 p.m. Monday, UPMC Lemieux Complex, Cranberry

Players to watch: Giovanni Valentine, Neshannock; Aidan Petroff, Burrell

Ice chips: Neshannock reached the Division 2 finals after wins over Ringgold and top-seeded Bishop Canevin. The Lancers finished in third place in the Gold Division in the regular season with 31 points. The teams split their two matchups with Neshannock winning 6-5 on Oct. 30 and Burrell earning a 7-3 victory Dec. 11. Neshannock has won seven of its past eight games. Giovanni Valentine had 34 goals and 23 assists in the regular season. Micah Dejulia added 16 goals and 24 assists. … Burrell, which was second in the Gold Division with 32 points, topped Morgantown and Deer Lakes to reach the championship game. The Bucs are one of the hottest teams in the PIHL with 13 straight victories. In the semifinal win over Deer Lakes, Jared Wall and Aidan Petroff scored two goals each, and Mike Morazcyzk added a goal. Petroff led the team in scoring during the regular season with 26 goals and 18 assists. Morazcyzk added 21 goals and 20 assists.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a TribLive reporter covering local sports in Westmoreland County. He can be reached at bbeckner@triblive.com.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

More High School Hockey

New coach plans to carry on ‘winning mentality’ with Franklin Regional hockey
Hampton girls hockey players spring into action
Franklin Regional junior varsity hockey goes on amazing underdog run
4 Quaker Valley girls hockey players compete in national championships
Franklin Regional hockey coach disappointed after being ousted