MT. LEBANON and CASTLE SHANNON, Pa. — The 2018-19 PIHL regular season started on Monday, and Pittsburgh Hockey Digest was in the rink in Pittsburgh’s South Hills for a pair of seasoning opening doubleheaders.
Ed Major had Baldwin’s home opener against Latrobe followed by South Park and Wheeling Park at Ice Castle. Alan Saunders had Mt. Lebanon hosting Central Catholic and Chartiers Valley against South Fayette from Mt. Lebanon ice rink.
LATROBE 5, BALDWIN 0
Baldwin started the game with a fastpaced attack into the Latrobe Wildcats’ end, putting several quick shots on goal but unable to find the back of the net. Unfortunately for the Highlanders, their momentum would quickly turn against them, as Latrobe controlled most of the game from midway through the first until the end. Baldwin did seem to get life back towards the end of the second with several good scoring chances. The Wildcats defense was too stingy and their goaltender too much like a brick wall and the Highlanders fell, 5-0.
CENTRAL CATHOLIC 2, MT. LEBANON 1
In the second period, Central Catholic’s Anthony Purdue picked up the puck in his own end and went coast-to-coast, around a defender and tucked the puck in behind Mt. Lebanon goaltender Bradley Weaver to score the deciding goal in the Vikings’ 2-1 victory to open the 2018-19.
Ronan Junker added a power-play goal in the second period for Central Catholic and Norbert McDermott earned the win in goal.
Ian Post scored the lone goal for Mt. Lebanon. Weaver was forced into action when starting netminder Matt Beemsterboer was injured in a collision in the crease in the second period.
WHEELING PARK 0, SOUTH PARK 4
As much as the visiting Latrobe Wildcats quieted the Baldwin crowd at Ice Castle Arena, the fans of the hometown South Park Eagles roared with excitement. Anthony Locante scored less than two and a half minutes in to give his team a quick 1-0 lead. With just under two minutes to play in the first period, Kirk Stewart tallied a goal to put the Eagles up by two going into the first intermission. It was clear that Wheeling Park was outgunned physically from the very start. The Eagles moved the puck at will and took control early and often. Wheeling looked slow to the loose pucks and even when they did get to the puck, the physical play wore them down. Midway through the second period, Stewart assisted on a goal by Dylan Dedominicis to put his team up by three. A shot by Ryan Miller with just under two minutes to play in the third period sealed the 4-0 win for South Park.
SOUTH FAYETTE 4, CHARTIERS VALLEY 0
Taking a scoreless tie into the third period, South Fayette unleashed four goals into the final frame to overwhelm Chartiers Valley, 4-0.
Colts goaltender Joshua Griffith made 33 saves in the losing effort, but Alex Keller broke things open 4:06 into the final frame, Daniel Pollock scored eight seconds later and the rout was on. Ian Kumar, who had 17 goals in 17 games in 2017-18, carried his pace over to the new season with a wrister from the slot and then Matthew Swider added an empty netter to seal the victory.
Bruce Hardman went the distance in goal to record the shutout for the Lions.
A full gallery of Alan’s photos from Mt. Lebanon can be found on our Facebook page.