HARMAR TWP., Pa. — The Pitt Panthers clinched the regular season championship and top seed in the CHMA Tournament Friday night with a dominant 8-1 win over the Slippery Rock Pride. Eight different players scored for the Panthers, despite the team still missing Oldrich Virag after he suffered a broken ankle Feb. 1 against Robert Morris.
Alex Crilley opened the scoring just under 10 minutes in, and Tyler Skomsky added to the lead a few minutes later before Zack Koerbel got his first goal as a Panther less than a minute later.
Two goals by Max Milan and Michael Orban 17 seconds apart with three minutes remaining in the first period ended up chasing Pride netminder Kevin Belanger. He allowed five goals on 17 shots before being replaced by Jon Szynalski.
The reliever did not fare any better. While he held Pitt scoreless for most of the period, Pine-Richland alum Will Studt made the Panther lead 6-0 with 3:15 remaining in the second period.
Mark Lauria joined the scoring party three and a half minutes into the third period before Slippery Rock finally got on the board a few minutes later thanks to Jamie Mauro. Midway through the third, Jacob Tepe capped the Pitt scoring to extend the lead to 8-1.
Szynalski ended the night saving 9 out of 12 shots.
Panther goaltender Matt Snader saved 29 out of 30 in the winning effort.
Pitt improved to 25-2 (13-1 CHMA) and will host Mercyhurst on Saturday at Alpha Ice Complex at 9:20 p.m.
MAJOR FOCUS: Panthers claim top seed with 8-1 win over Slippery Rock (FULL GALLERY)