CRANBERRY/HARMAR Twp., Pa. — The final weekend of regular season play in the CHMA saw the John Carroll Blue Streaks upset Slippery Rock, 9-7, on Thursday to clinch a playoff spot and a split between the Pride and Pitt Panthers to give Duquesne a first-round bye.
Pitt-Slippery Rock-Round 1
The Panthers came out of the gate fast on Friday night at the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex. Tyler Skomsky started the scoring with a goal 5:22 into the first period past Pride goaltender Jon Szynalski. Slippery Rock could not get a grasp on puck possession in the first period, as Pitt wore them down and took the puck away at every opportunity.
In the second, the Pride started to create a more evenly matched game, spending more time than in the first period in the Panthers’ offensive zone. Still, it was Pitt who found the back of the net again, as Alec Bosnic and Jonathan Fair extended the Panther lead to 3-0.
Jack Bertolami and Zac Mulholland added more insurance in the third period before Michael Klena added his own less than a minute after Mulholland’s goal. Jamie Mauro scored the lone goal for the Pride with 3:06 left in the third period to avoid the shutout. Pitt would go on to take the 6-1 win behind goaltender Matt Snader‘s 32 saves on 33 shots. Szynalski made 24 saves on 30 shots before being pulled in favor of Patrick Spaulding, who saved all five shots he faced in the final 8:13 of the game.
Pitt-Slippery Rock-Round 2
After Duquesne fell on senior night to Kent State on Saturday at Alpha Ice Complex, the Dukes walked 30 feet to the next rink over to witness the second iteration of Slippery Rock and Pitt this season, where Pitt hoped the grab the No. 2 seed in the CHMA playoffs on their own senior night. A Slippery Rock win in regulation would have allowed Duquesne to hold the No. 2 seed and a first-round bye. A Pitt win would push the Dukes to No. 3 as the Panthers would take the first-round bye.
The first period was mostly scoreless between the two clubs, with Slippery Rock showing no signs of fatigue during their third game in as many days. It was Jamie Mauro who opened the scoring with 4.1 seconds remaining in the period, as the Pride outshot the Panthers, 10-8.
The second period was quiet, with several chances on either end of the ice, but nothing meeting the back of the net for either squad.
It was just 30 seconds into the third period that put the game in the hands of Slippery Rock. Thomas Kimmick scored to extend his team’s lead to 2-0. Shawn Philipps cut that lead in half for the Panthers with his own goal with 4:34 remaining in the game. On an ensuing 4-on-4, the teams traded goals in the final three minutes. Kimmick’s second goal of the game proved to be the game winner. Milo Defay‘s goal 1:17 later for the Panthers was not enough, as they fell to Slippery Rock, 3-2. The Pride could not overcome the strength of victory tiebreaker with the Panthers, though, and fell to the fourth seed in the playoffs.
Weekend scores from around the CHMA:
Tuesday, February 19:
Mercyhurst 5, ROBERT MORRIS 3
Thursday, February 21:
JOHN CARROLL 9, Slippery Rock 7
Friday, February 22:
KENT STATE 6, Duquesne 0
IUP 4, West Virginia 2
Pitt 6, SLIPPERY ROCK 1
Saturday, February 23:
Mercyhurst 4, JOHN CARROLL 2
Slippery Rock 3, PITT 2
Kent State 4, Duquesne 1
The top six teams qualified for the CHMA Tournament (March 1-3 @ Alpha Ice Complex). The top two seeds based on points received a first-round bye. No. 3 will play No. 6 and No. 4 will play No. 5. The playoff winner will receive the conference’s automatic bid to the 2019 ACHA National Tournament in Frisco, Texas at the end of March.
x- earned playoff berth
y- clinched first-round bye
z- clinched No. 1 seed
- The John Carroll Blue Streaks clinched the final playoff spot with their Thursday night win over Slippery Rock.
- Duquesne clinched a first-round bye and the No. 2 seed with the weekend split between Slippery Rock and Pitt.
- Pitt clinched the No. 3 seed with their strength-of-victory tiebreaker over Slippery Rock after both teams finished the regular season with identical 9-4-1 conference records.
CHMA PLAYOFF MATCHUPS:
Friday, March 1
No. 3 Pitt vs. No. 6 Robert Morris, 6:20 PM
No. 4 Slippery Rock vs. No. 5 John Carroll, 9:20 PM
Saturday, March 2
No. 1 IUP vs. (LOWEST REMAINING SEED), 2:10 PM
No. 2 Duquesne vs. (HIGHEST REMAINING SEED), 2:20 PM
Sunday, March 3
CHMA Championship, 12:20 PM
- Pitt owns the strength-of-victory tiebreaker over Slippery Rock after defeating the Pride 6-1 on February 22. Slippery Rock beat Pitt on February 23 by a score of 3-2.
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