NEVILLE TWP., Pa. — The Burrell Buccaneers have gained entry into the PIHL Division 2 finals after beating the Connellsville Falcons 5-2 at RMU Island Sports Center.
Giovanni Palombo had four points, including the game-winning goal in the second period to lead the Bucs to victory.
The first period was filled with spectacular goaltending, particularly by Connellsville’s Sebastian Skarzenski, who made a total of 34 saves on the evening. The Bucs were able to break the deadlock when Palombo scored his first goal of the evening cleaning up a rebound in front of the net.
Burrell controlled the puck most of the first period but the second period was another story.
“We let down for two and a half, three minutes of this game” said Bucs coach Max Rickard.
Burrell was able to add to their lead with a shorthanded goal by Dylan Zelonka. The Falcons answered quickly, though when Michael McKitrick was able to get one past Andrew Burkett.
After a great play gaining the zone by Tyler Stewart, Palombo tallied his second goal of the evening to give the Bucs a 3-1 lead. Connellsville then scored their final goal of the evening after Clay Sipple scored on assists from Gregory Hensh and Logan Maust.
Stewart and Palombo then took over for the Bucs as they combined for two more goals. Palombo finished the night with two goals and two assists. Palombo plays with Stewart on the Esmark Stars under-18 team.
“Me and Stewart have played together this year, Zelonka for three years” Palombo said. “There is some great chemistry between our top guys.”
Rickard looks to carry the momentum into the final, “we played as a unit, we need to keep that going and I don’t think anyone can beat us.”
Burrell will face the winner of Neshannock and Ringgold on Monday, March 18 at UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex with puck drop at 6:00 p.m.