What to watch for in high school sports for March 13, 2023: Dominant PIHL teams to battle

Sunday, March 12, 2023 | 10:58 PM

A week of PIHL Penguins Cup Frozen Four high school hockey games begins Monday with the Class 3A semifinals.

Over the last 10 years, the most dominant PIHL Class 3A programs have been North Allegheny and Peters Township.

North Allegheny won Penguins Cup titles in 2013, 2019 and 2021 while Peters Township hoisted gold in 2014, 2017 and 2022.

Two years ago, North Allegheny stunned top-seeded Peters Township in the semifinals, 4-3, and eventually won it all.

In 2019, the Tigers blanked the Indians in the 3A finals, 3-0, a year after Peters ousted NA in the 2018 semifinals, 2-1.

The point is, these are two powerhouse programs that continued their winning ways this season.

Peters Township finished first in 3A with a record of 16-3-1 while North Allegheny ended up in fourth with a 12-5-3 record, two points behind Seneca Valley and Central Catholic.

The Indians swept the season series from the Tigers, winning by scores of 4-1 in November, and 4-3 in January.

In the quarterfinals, North Allegheny shut out Cathedral Prep, 3-0, behind 26 saves by Tigers goaltender Rylan Murphy.

Also in the quarters, Peters Township cruised past Mt. Lebanon, 7-1, with Zach Palmieri, Will Tomko and Austin Malley scoring two goals each.

Game time at the RMU Island Sports Center on Neville Island is 7:15 p.m.

Surprise semifinalists

In the 11-team PIHL Class 3A this season, Upper St. Clair and Pine-Richland finished tied for sixth place with records of 11-8-1.

However, both the Panthers and Rams reached the Final Four in 3A thanks to a couple of quarterfinal upsets of the two teams that finished tied for second in the regular season.

Pine-Richland got goals from Ryan and Shawn Peacock, and Daniel Mooney stopped 19 of 20 shots in a quarterfinals victory over Seneca Valley, 2-1.

Also last Monday, Upper St. Clair stunned Central Catholic, 6-2. Aaron Stawiarski had three goals and two assists for the Panthers, and Louis Liberatore registered 23 saves.

The puck drops at RMU Island Sports Center at 9:15 p.m.

Both 3A Penguins Cup semifinals can be viewed on Trib HSSN.

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