Return to playoffs a success for Pine-Richland hockey

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Monday, March 12, 2018 | 12:46 AM


Pine-Richland's return to the PIHL Penguins Cup playoffs was a good one.

In the postseason for the first time since 2013, the Rams beat Hempfield, 5-1, in the first round of the Class AA playoffs March 7.

After a scoreless first period, the Rams went off in the second period. Joseph Folmer, Will Studt, Jared Eggert and Jack Carnovale scored before Studt recorded a second goal in the third period.

“I think it was just a matter of us really executing the game plan,” Pine-Richland coach Jim Black said.

“The kids worked hard. In every game, there's peaks and valleys, and you always try to control it. We played well in the first, but we really picked our game up in the second. I thought maybe we wore them down a little in the first period and caught them on their heels a little bit in the second.”

The Rams followed their formula for success against Hempfield.

Scoring goals hasn't been an issue for Black's team this season, and since they have found ideal line combinations and made corrections on defense, Pine-Richland has won 7 of their last 10 games.

“Toward the end of the season there, I think we kind of found our identity and what type of team we were going to be,” Black said.

“We have certain guys on the team that we expect to be physical, and I think they've found their role. I like our line combinations right now. I like the way we're rolling with the pairings out there. I think we learned a lot about the kids throughout the season. We have them in the right lines, and they come to the ice with the right mindset.”

An improved mindset and the Rams' chemistry is essential in postseason play.

Pine-Richland played Quaker Valley in the second round Wednesday in a game that ended too late for this edition.

“You look at (Quaker Valley's) lineup, they have some kids that can do damage on their own,” Black said.

“They beat Latrobe, 1-0, in the first round, and that tells me a lot about Quaker Valley. It tells me they can play a team game, and they have a really good goalie, too. I think it will be one of those games where it could be 2-1 or it could be 7-6. I think it depends on who scores first and how we all adjust from there. It should be fun to watch.”

Kevin Lohman is a freelance writer.

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