Trib HSSN PIHL Team of the Week: Week ending March 15, 2020
Sunday, March 15, 2020 | 9:30 PM
Sophomore Jacob Fetzer had six goals during the regular season. They all came in the first 10 games.
That meant Fetzer hadn’t scored in seven games leading into Carrick’s semifinal against North Division champion Neshannock on Monday night.
But he scored twice — including the winner — and assisted on two goals in a come-from-behind overtime win to help Carrick become the PIHL Team of the Week.
“It’s kind of funny. I came to practice Sunday, the night before the game, and he came up to me and said, ‘Coach I’m in a slump, I can’t score right now’ and all that,” coach Chris Serakowski said. “He said, ‘I cut an inch off my stick last night so hopefully I have some goals on it.’ Then he did what he did.”
It was one of several good performances for the Cougars in a banner win as they advance to a rubber game with Ringgold for the Class B title. The Rams won Class B last season, and Carrick is looking for its first championship.
Carrick knew it wouldn’t be easy, and that proved true.
The Cougars fell behind 3-0 the Lancers in the semifinal, with Neshannock scoring 3 minutes, 59 seconds into the first period, 1:57 into the second and 3:49 into the same period.
“When we played them the first time, it was a good game. They ended up winning it in overtime,” Serakowski said. “We knew they’d be a tough battle.”
Then the Cougars re-grouped. They’d been there before.
“We didn’t start off quite the way we wanted to, which has been a bit of a theme all year long,” Serakowski said. “We called a timeout and told the kids as we have all season to believe in each other, to believe in themselves and that they’d worked their butts off all season. We urged them to take it one shift at a time and keep plugging away.”
Carrick scored consecutive goals at 9:44 and 13:15 of the second.
Tyson Feldman scored the first tally on the man advantage on a feed from Fetzer, who had been fed by Ian Norkevicus. Then, Mikey Farkal scored from Feldman short-handed.
At 9:17 of the third, Neshannock made it 4-2, and the Cougars were turning their heads and asking if they could do it again, according to Serakowski.
“I think the intermission, being able to go in and talk to the kids and calm them down, was the turning point,” Serakowski said.
The Cougars got a goal a few minutes later from Fetzer on the power play. Nicholas Cindrich and Feldman assisted.
Then the Cougars didn’t score until there were 14 seconds left. But Norkevicus’ goal at that point tied the score and breathed life into the Cougars’ championship aspirations.
“They called a timeout, and we put a couple of set faceoff plays together and figured if one didn’t work we would do the other one,” Serakowski said. “It didn’t work the way it was drawn out, but we ended up tying it and we went to overtime, somewhere we’d been five times before and the kids did the job.”
Then Fetzer had the overtime winner.
“He’s been there every single game in and out, and (he’s) the kid you may not see on the scoresheet but he makes all the right plays,” Serakowski said. “We’ve been telling the kids sticks on the ice, sticks on the ice. The fact he got that shot past Riley (Mastowski, Neshannock’s goaltender), who’s one of the top goalies in the league, was incredible. It was huge for our kids.”
Sean Dugan made 38 saves for Carrick.
It split the two regular-season games with Ringgold, winning in overtime in the Rams’ final regular-season game.
But the problem is, the Cougars don’t know when they’ll play. Because of the coronavirus outbreak, the PIHL has postponed all league-sanctioned games for at least two weeks.
So the date and time of the Class B Championship is unknown.
“Rick (Kalinowski, Ringgold’s coach) and I have been talking back and forth about it,” Serakowski said. “We’re going to continue to practice. We’ll talk to the boys Sunday, and of course we hope this game is played. We’ve got eight seniors. We’d hate for the season to end without this game being played, regardless of the result. It’s something you look forward to as a little kid.”
• North Allegheny, Pine-Richland, Seneca Valley and Peters Township — These Triple-A schools weren’t afforded the opportunity to get their way on this list because their semifinals were postponed Thursday. If PIHL postseason play resumes, North Allegheny will meet Pine-Richland, and Seneca Valley will battle Peters Township to determine the finalists in the league’s highest classification.
• Latrobe — The Icecats withstood a desperation-driven onslaught from Hempfield in a 3-2 win in the semis of Double A. Latrobe would play Baldwin for the crown.
• Baldwin — The Highlanders took on a game Mars team that got great goaltending from Danny Mitchell. Fortunately for the student-athletes in purple, they found themselves on the right side of a 3-2 overtime decision on the back of Noah Fischer’s even-strength winner.
• Indiana — Kiski Area beat Indiana in their first two games this season. One was a well-fought game in which Indiana was a few bounces away from winning. But Indiana avenged the two losses in Tuesday’s semifinals, besting the Cavaliers, 4-2, to reach the Single-A final, which will be against Thomas Jefferson, when and if play resumes.
• Thomas Jefferson — The Jaguars scored a 4-1 win over North Catholic in a matchup of juggernauts from Single-A and move on to play Indiana for the title.
• Ringgold — It wasn’t all pretty for the Rams, but they’ll defend their title after a 6-5 overtime win against Elizabeth Forward, which led 5-3 after scoring five in a row on the man advantage or better. It was Nathan Boulanger’s hat trick after that point that won the game.
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• PIHL standings through Feb. 28, 2021