What to watch for in Western Pa. high school sports on March 9, 2023: PIHL seeds look to avoid upset bug

Wednesday, March 8, 2023 | 7:21 PM

The third and final day of the high school hockey quarterfinals is Thursday with Class A and Division 2 playoffs taking center stage.

This has already been a tough postseason for some of the higher seeds in the Penguins Cup playoffs.

In Class A, two higher seeds lost earlier in the week as No. 2 North Hills was stunned by Kiski Area while No. 4 Erie McDowell fell to defending champion Norwin.

Now the onus falls on Fox Chapel and Greensburg Salem as they host second-round games Thursday.

• Top-seeded Fox Chapel (18-2-0) collides with Quaker Valley (15-5-1) at the Alpha Ice Arena in Harmarville at 7 p.m. Both teams reached the Class A semifinals a year ago and lost. The Blue Division champion Foxes had a first round bye while the Quakers blanked Indiana in the opening round, 3-0. Landon Buterbaugh registered the shutout with 22 saves.

Shaler (11-9-1) faces Greensburg Salem (17-3-0) at Kirk Nevin Arena in Greensburg at 7:15 p.m. The Golden Lions finished in second place in the Blue Division, two points behind Fox Chapel, and earned a first-round bye. The Titans needed a win in the final game of the regular season against Plum just to qualify for the playoffs, then Shaler upset North Catholic in the first round, 2-1.

D2 quarters

Unlike the other PIHL playoff classifications with surprises littering the brackets, the Division 2 playoffs thus far have been chalk.

Higher seeds Bishop Canevin and Connellsville both won earlier this week. Now we’ll see if Ringgold and Deer Lakes can continue that trend Thursday.

Burrell (9-5-4) battles No. 3 Ringgold (13-4-1) at Rostraver Ice Gardens at 8:15 p.m.

• No. 2 Deer Lakes (16-2-0) takes on Carrick (9-8-1) at the Alpha Ice Arena in Harmarville at 9 p.m.

While Bishop Canevin vs. Connellsville is set for one semifinal next Thursday in D-2, the two winners of Thursday’s playoff games will meet in the other semifinal at the RMU Island Sports Center.

The two Class A second-round games and both D-2 quarterfinals games can be seen on Trib HSSN.

Grappling for state gold openers

The 2023 PIAA individual wrestling championships get underway at the Giant Center in Hershey on Thursday.

The top 2A wrestlers in the state hit the mats first with preliminary round bouts along with first-round consolations at 9 a.m.

The best in 3A take to the Giant Center mats in the afternoon with preliminary round matches and first-round consolations at 4 p.m.

You can listen to full day coverage from both championships on Trib HSSN.

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