CRANBERRY TWP., Pa.– Alexander Komov scored at 8:32 of the extra period and the Bishop McCort Crushers remain undefeated, besting Meadville 3-2 for the PIHL Single-A Championship in an overtime thriller on Monday night at UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex.
The teams came out as electric as the fans, and were just as physical as skilled, exchanging odd man opportunities before Bishop McCort broke the scoreless tie at 7:45 of the first, when defenseman Aliaksei Kostserau’s attempted dump-in on goal went through Eddie Kaufmans glove and into the back of the net. Cohl Weber tied the game for the Bulldogs, corralling a rebound on the goal line and putting it top-corner on the backhand.
The two teams turned the dial even further in the second, and the hitting continued to get harder and more frequent. The Bulldogs were the recipients of a little luck 6:24 into the period when Alec Gizzie’s centering pass from behind the net bounced off of the back of Crushers starter Cole Bradley’s leg and redirected into the net. Meadville continued to get sustained pressure on the Crushers, and Kaufman made routine glove save after routine glove save to keep the Bulldogs up by one. A late slashing penalty by Nick Frantz gave Bishop McCort a late power-play, and Brett Seitz found Kostserau in alone in front where he would beat Kaufman with 7.4 seconds left on the clock, tying the game heading into the intermission.
Kaufman continued to play lights-out hockey in the third, and Meadville had the apparent go-ahead goal waived off when a loose puck was lost in goaltender Bradley’s all-black pads, causing the official to waive the play dead before the Bulldogs could tap it in.
Meadville controlled play for the majority of the overtime, and thoroughly dominated the Crushers until Komov cut across the circle and fired a backhand shot over the stick of Kaufman, ending the Bulldogs run for the State Championship.
Bishop McCort heads to West Chester to face off with Flyers Cup champion Bayard Rustin on Saturday Mar. 24.