What to watch for in high school sports for March 21, 2022: More PIHL titles on the line

Monday, March 21, 2022 | 9:26 PM

Welcome to Day 2 of the PIHL Penguins Cup Championships.

Two title games remain after Monday’s high school hockey golden action in Class 3A and A.

Both the Class 2A and Division 2 title games will take place at the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex in Cranberry and can be watched on Trib HSSN at 6:45 p.m. and 8:45 p.m. on Tuesday.

Top 2 in 2A

While there have been plenty of surprises in the 2022 PIHL postseason, the Class 2A playoff have gone chalk.

That’s a term to describe a tournament where all of the favorites do what is expected and win.

There might have been a scare or two involved, but after two rounds, the top two teams will face off as No. 1 Thomas Jefferson takes on No. 2 Franklin Regional.

Both programs have won hockey gold before and they have won them in clumps.

The Jaguars won three straight 2A championships over two decades ago when they brought home gold to TJ in 1998, 1999 and 2000.

The Panthers claimed back-to-back Class A titles a little more recently in 2016 and 2017.

The only meeting of the year between these top cats was in January when Thomas Jefferson fell behind 1-0 in the second period, then scored five unanswered goals for the 5-1 win. Nick Stock scored three of the five goals for the Jags.

Nick Stock was one of the heroes in the quarterfinals for Thomas Jefferson. His third goal of the game came in overtime as the Jaguars rallied to edge Hempfield, 7-6.

In the semifinals, the Jaguars’ Colby Bilski scored had the hat trick in a 5-2 triumph over Penn-Trafford.

While the Jaguars were threatened in the quarterfinals, the Panthers were cruising to a 10-2 win over Butler. Matty Knizner and Luke Lavrich each scored a pair of goals for Franklin Regional.

The Panthers’ scare came in the semifinals when their game with South Fayette went to overtime.

After FR’s Chase Williams scored a pair of third period goals, including one on a penalty shot, Knizner tallied a goal in overtime as Franklin Regional returned to the finals with a 3-2 win.

D2 repeat?

In the 2021 PIHL Class B championship game, Neshannock pulled away to beat Ringgold, 5-1, to win the PIHL Cup.

Now called Division 2, the Lancers try to repeat as PIHL champs on Tuesday when they face top-seeded Bishop Canevin.

The Crusaders have never won a B or D2 hockey title before, but they have won eight PIHL Penguins Cup 2A crowns in the past.

BC’s most recent run at hockey gold came in 2016.

The Crusaders beat out the Lancers in the regular season by six points in the chase for the top spot in the North Division.

These two teams met twice early in the season. Both were close, low scoring games won by Bishop Canevin, 3-1 in October and 2-0 in November.

Patrick Cionni and Tommy Malvar have two goals in each of the two playoff wins for Neshannock.

Ryan Saginaw had a hat trick and Cole Evans scored twice in the semifinals win over Wilmington for Bishop Canevin.

Crusaders goaltender Adam Serakowski has stopped 44 of 46 shots he has faced in the two postseason wins.

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