Team Blue dominates in PIHL Class A All-Star Game
By: Jim Equels Jr.
Sunday, January 27, 2019 | 5:27 PM
Sometimes, statistics can be deceiving.
Upon first glance at the rosters for the PIHL Class A All-Star Game, Team Gold appeared to be at a distinct advantage. It entered the game with the PIHL leader in total points — Montour’s Ritchy Froelich with 23 goals and 36 assists — and the PIHL’s leading goal scorer in Meadville’s Nick Frantz with 30 goals. Team Gold also had three goaltenders who had combined for 31 victories so far this season.
It looked like a lopsided affair could transpire.
A blowout did indeed occur, but it was Team Blue that proved to have too much fire power, as it rolled to a convincing 10-3 victory over Team Gold on Sunday at Robert Morris University’s Island Sports Center.
“Not taking anything away from the guys on our team, but I have to admit when I first saw the rosters, I thought they looked a little lopsided,” said South Fayette’s Ian Kumar, who scored two goals for Team Blue. “They put a lot of the top scorers in the league on one team. But our team was more guys who like to mix it up a little, and we played that way.”
Team Blue took control from the start, as Deer Lakes freshman Shane Miller controlled a loose puck at the left circle and poked a shot into the net for a 1-0 lead after only 20 seconds. That proved to be the only goal of the first period, but that slow start gave little indication of what transpired in the second.
The teams combined for eight goals in the second period, including six in a span of 2 minutes, 13 seconds. Freeport’s Alex Colflesh and Fox Chapel’s Mac Johnson scored to give Team Blue a 3-0 lead before Team Gold finally got on the board when Frantz connected on a pass from Froelich.
Then the roof fell in for Team Gold.
Kumar scored back-to-back goals 12 seconds apart to give Team Blue a 5-1 lead. Greensburg Salem’s Zack Szolek then scored on an impressive backhander before Colflesh added his second goal 24 seconds later to make it 7-1. When Meadville’s Cohl Weber ripped a shot from the top of the circle into the back of the net, Team Blue extended its lead to 8-1.
Kumar said he was surprised at how well Team Blue jelled despite having never played with the majority of one another before Sunday.
“We played well as a team,” Kumar said. “We were moving the puck well the entire game. Everyone was easy to play with.”
Montour’s Michael Felsing added a goal for Team Blue, and Miller added his second goal of the game in the third period to extend the lead to 10-1. Team Gold got a goal in the final minute by Indiana’s Eddy Williams before Frantz blistered a slap shot for the game’s final goal.
Kumar, meanwhile, had two golden opportunities in the final period to pick up the hat trick, yet passed the puck on both occasions.
“That’s not a big deal to me,” Kumar said. “A game like this is just for fun.”
Jim Equels Jr. is a freelance writer.