LOCAL TEAMS READY FOR SATURDAY'S STATE CHAMPIONSHIP GAMES
High school hockey comes to an end Saturday with the Pennsylvania Cup state championship games at the RMU Island Sports Center on Neville Island – Class A (12:30 p.m., Class AA (3 p.m.) and Class AAA (5:30 p.m.)
Quaker Valley (24-1-0) vs. Penncrest (15-6-3), 12:30 p.m.
The Quakers are making their first-ever trip to the state title game, while the Lions are the defending state champs.
Quaker Valley, which lost its only game on Jan. 9 to Serra Catholic, 6-4, will look for its 15th-straight win on Saturday. The Quakers won their first-ever Penguins Cup title with a 6-0 win over Serra Catholic. Mikael Lemieux, son of former Penguin Mario Lemieux and nephew of Penguins owner Mario Lemieux, had a goal and two assists in the triumph.
“It’s a great feeling to be playing for the state championship,” Mikael said. “That’s what our goal was the whole year, so we just want to keep going.”
The sophomore led the Quakers in scoring in the regular season with 46 points (19+27). George Jackson was next with 42 points (16+26). Goaltender Zachary Zinger posted the shutout as he stopped all 16 shots he faced in the title game.
Quaker Valley’s offense will try to solve Penncrest goalie Ryan McElhenney, the Flyers Cup Class A MVP. He led the Flyers Cup in nearly every goaltending category, including save percentage (.936), saves (73) and goals-against average (1.19).
During the regular season, the Lions were led offensively by Nick Kusturiss (14+20), Dave Bixler (21+9) and Mike Maser (10+7).
“Our first team goal was to get to the Penguins Cup championship and get an opportunity to win the game,” Quaker Valley coach Kevin Quinn said. “Now that we’ve won it, our goal is to win our last game and that’s the state championship. I feel confident in this ground because they really want it and that’s the key. It’s a long season and you really have to want it if you stay committed this long from starting in August.”
Pine-Richland (21-1-2) vs. Haverford (17-3-2), 3 p.m.
The Rams rolled to their first Penguins Cup championship with an 8-3 triumph over Kittanning.
“It’s a great feeling, but in the back of my mind, we still have one more to go,” Pine-Richland coach Jim Black said. “I am going to let these guys enjoy this. We have to go work, though. We want to win the state championship, too.”
Pine-Richland has one of the state’s best players in Josh Fodor. In the regular season, the senior forward led all PIHL Class AA scorers with 65 points (24+41). However, the Rams are not exactly a one-man show. They scored the most goals (152) and allowed the least (22) in regular-season play.
In addition, a pair of freshmen stepped up in the Penguins Cup title game. Dylan Trombetta had a hat-trick, while classmate George Saad had two goals and two assists.
Haverford has some top guns, too. Ian Finnerty (40+19) and Chris Campli (16+21) were the top two scorers in their league. Jason Hazelton (2.22 GAA, .881 save percentage) has been steady in goal for the Fords.
Mount Lebanon (25-0-0) vs. Cardinal O’Hara (19-0-4), 5:30 p.m.
Mount Lebanon will try to complete its perfect season with a victory on Saturday.
The Blue Devils cruised through their PIHL foes. They set a record for fewest goals allowed (13) during the regular season along the way. However, after winning their second Penguins Cup title in three years, the Blue Devils want more.
“Winning the Penguins Cup is a little more subdued this time. I think the kids have always been pointing to the state championship and they knew this was just another step in getting there,” Mount Lebanon coach Paul Taibi said. “They are happy they won the Penguins Cup, but we are still focused on the next one.”
Goaltender Matt Vaughan agrees.
“This was the third Penguins cup in five years we’ve played in,” he said. “It’s about the state championship this year. If we don’t come away with it, it’s a good year, but, frankly, I won’t be satisfied.”
Mount Lebanon fell to Malvern Prep, 4-3, in the 2004 Pennsylvania Cup. The Blue Devils want to win this year to claim their first state title since 1976.
The team certainly has the talent to do it. Mount Lebanon’s top line of Tyler Murovich (25+45), Josh Mandic (19+36) and Shane Ferguson (29+36) – son of former Penguin George Ferguson – combined for 190 points in the regular season. The Blue Devils’ defense, led by Sean McDermott and Vaughan has been rock-solid all year, too.
Cardinal O’Hara is a newcomer to the Pennsylvania Cup title game. Their Flyers Cup win was the first major hockey championship in the program’s 39-year history.
Frank Cross scored two goals in the Lions’ 6-3 Flyers Cup triumph over Germantown Academy. Goalie Ryan Klingensmith finished the Flyers Cup tournament with a .908 save percentage and a 2.33 GAA, earning him the Class AAA MVP honors.
ROAD TO THE PENNSYLVANIA CUP
Penn-Trafford 5, Kiski Area 3
North Hills 4, Upper St. Clair 2
Fox Chapel 3, McDowell 2
Central Catholic 9, Franklin Regional 3
Mount Lebanon 8, North Hills 0
North Allegheny 2, Pittsburgh Central Catholic 1 (2OT)
Bethel Park 11, Penn-Trafford 0
Meadville 8, Fox Chapel 3
North Allegheny 7, Meadville 0
Mount Lebanon 4, Bethel Park 3
Mount Lebanon 3, North Allegheny 1
Monsignor Bonner 3, Bishop Shanahan 2
Holy Ghost Prep 6, Roman Catholic 3
Archbishop Carroll 5, Archbishop Ryan 1
Father Judge 5, Archbishop Wood 0
Cardinal O’Hara 6, Monsignor Bonner 1
Holy Ghost Prep 3, Malvern Prep 2
Germantown Academy 11, Archbishop Carroll 5
La Salle 6, Father Judge 1
Cardinal O’Hara 5, Holy Ghost Prep 3
Germantown Academy 3, La Salle 1
Cardinal O’Hara 6, Germantown Academy 3
Mount Lebanon vs. Cardinal O’Hara at RMU Island Sports Center, Saturday, 5:30 p.m.
Kittanning 6, Moon 2
Canon-McMillan 6, Greater Latrobe 2
Peters Township 4, Thomas Jefferson 1
Greensburg Central Catholic 2, Indiana 1
Pine-Richland 9, Greensburg Central Catholic 0
Peters Township 5, West Allegheny 3
Bishop Canevin 4, Canon-McMillan 3
Kittanning 5, Montour 4 OT
Kittanning 6, Bishop Canevin 4
Pine-Richland 4, Peters Township 3
Pine Richland 8, Kittanning 3
Abington 4, Conestoga 3
Bishop McDevitt 7, Freedom 2
Hempfield 5, Parkland 2
Central Dauphin 2, North Penn 1
Haverford 4, Abington 3
Henderson 4, Pennsbury 3 (3OT)
Neshaminy 6, William Tennent 2
Cherokee 10, Bishop McDevitt 1
Central Bucks South 5, Hempfield 2
Pennridge 4, Ridley 2
Downingtown East 7, Washington Township 5
Central Dauphin 3, West Chester East 2
Haverford 7, Henderson 2
Neshaminy 3, Cherokee 2
Central Bucks South 2, Pennridge 1 (OT)
Downingtown East 6, Central Dauphin 0
Haverford 5, Neshaminy 2
Central Bucks South 3, Downingtown East 2
Haverford 4, Central Bucks South 0
Pine-Richland vs. Haverford at RMU Island Sports Center, Saturday, 3 p.m.
Quaker Valley 10, Conemaugh Valley 4
Bishop McCort 3, Mars 0
Sewickley Academy 3, Freeport 2
Serra Catholic 8, Westmont-Hilltop 4
Serra Catholic 3, Bishop McCort 0
Quaker Valley 6, Sewickley Academy 3
Quaker Valley 6, Serra Catholic 0
Unionville 4, Williamstown 3
Central York 4, Methacton 3
Kennett 4, Interboro 2
Springfield-Montco 3, Warwick 1
Springfield-Delco 6, Unionville 1
Lower Dauphin 5, Central Bucks West 2
Garnet Valley 9, Wissahickon 0
Central York 3, Haverford School 2 (OT)
Penncrest 2, Kennett 1 (OT)
Plymouth-Whitemarsh 7, Shawnee 0
Perkiomen Valley 5, Moorestown 0
Hershey 6, Springfield-Montco 2
Springfield-Delco 7, Lower Dauphin 3
Garnet Valley 7, Central York 2
Penncrest 5, Plymouth-Whitemarsh 2
Hershey 6, Perkiomen Valley 3
Springfield-Delco 5, Garnet Valley 4 (OT)
Penncrest 4, Hershey 2
Penncrest 1, Springfield-Delco 0
Quaker Valley vs. Penncrest at RMU Island Sports Center, Saturday, 3 p.m.