This week, the PIHL welcomes the Sweet 16 teams that made it to their classification’s semi-finals at RMU Island Sports Center. Here’s a breakdown of each of the eight matchups this week.
MONDAY, MARCH 12
On Monday, the league’s second division squares off in a battle to head to the UMPC Lemieux Sports Complex in Cranberry for the top prize in the classification.
No. 4 Connellsville vs No. 1 Moon, 7:15 p.m.
Oct. 26: Moon def. Connellsville 2-1 (OT)
Dec. 11: Moon def. Connellsville 3-1
Moon and Connellsville have combined for a total of seven goals in the season series, the least of any combined series that involves the Tigers in Division 2. The Falcons are led by Ryan Brown, the second leading scorer in the conference. Shawn Hytla finished 16th in the league with 16 points.
No. 3 Burrell vs No. 2 Ringgold, 9:15 p.m.
Oct. 10: Ringgold def. Burrell 8-7
Dec. 11: Ringgold def Burrell 3-0
If you’re looking for a high-scoring, heavyweight battle this is the matchup to look for on Monday night. Burrell Sophomore Tyler Stewart accumulated 67 points to lead the conference, besting his freshman mark of 53 points. Ringgold is led by Noah Schroder and a well-rounded supporting cast, as 11 skaters added four goals or more in the 2017-18 campaign.
TUESDAY, MARCH 13
In Single-A, the world is upside down. While the top two seeds moved on, they did so with a little resistance. The rest were blindsided.
No. 5 Indiana vs No. 1 Bishop McCort, 7 p.m.
Nov. 16: Bishop McCort def. Indiana 4-3
In the early part of their undefeated season, the Crushers met little resistance until a week 5 matchup at S&T Bank Arena. Indiana jumped out to a lead early, but a four-goal second period was just enough to keep the Indians away.
The Indians are here after one-goal victories over Kiski Area and an upset of West Allegheny in overtime. Bishop McCort received the fight of their lives from Sewickley Academy at the War Memorial.
No. 6 South Fayette vs No. 2 Meadville, 9 p.m.
Jan. 22: South Fayette def. Meadville 4-0
If you’re in the mood for upsets, here is the top of the menu in the conference. Meadville started the season 13-0, only to have the Lions end that streak in late January.
South Fayette is led by forward Ian Kumar, who posted hat-tricks in his first two games of the post season. The second came against third-ranked Thomas Jefferson on Thursday. Meadville had the easiest time of the top-four seeds, defeating Westmont Hilltop 4-2 at home.
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 14
The Double-A postseason wasn’t kind to the South/East division, with the North/West division taking all four spots in the semifinals.
No. 3 Hampton vs No. 1 Armstrong, 7 p.m.
Jan. 15: Armstong def. Hampton 4-2
Feb. 15: Armstrong def. Hampton 9-5
The Riverhawks are very deep offensively, as they scored five or more goals in 11 of their 19 regular season games, and put eight on Franklin Regional (the defending single-A state runner-up) just last week.
The Talbots finished the regular season with a sub-500 record, in a three-way tie for third in the division. A win over Upper St. Clair on Thursday sealed the match with top seed.
No. 4 Quaker Valley vs No. 2 Pine-Richland, 9 p.m.
Oct. 19: Quaker Valley def. Pine-Richland 7-5
Jan. 8: Pine-Richland def. Quaker Valley 5-3
Pine-Richland is another offensive juggernaut in the PIHL with 9 players scoring four-or-more goals on the year. The Rams head to Neville Island after dismantling the Hempfield Spartans 5-1 on Wednesday.
Quaker Valley is a very fast and talented squad. The speed can be deceiving, and as Latrobe learned on Wednesday, should not be underestimated. The Quakers defeated the East No. 1 Wildcats 1-0 in overtime to advance to the Island Sports Center.
THURSDAY, MARCH 15
Beware the Ides of March, the soothsayer once said. On this night, two teams in triple-A will see their season end. The regular season championship came down to the last full week of play, and all four will do battle in the home of the Colonials.
No. 4 North Allegheny vs No. 1 Peters Township, 7:15 p.m.
Nov. 7: Peters Township def. North Allegheny 3-0
Jan. 11: North Allegheny def. Peters Township 5-1
Peters Township is deep, talented, and are the defending state champions in triple-A. Over a dozen of those players are on the current squad, as they are graduating an astounding fifteen seniors- so experience is on their side. They defeated the defending double-A champions Plum 2-1 last week.
North Allegheny is coming off of a battle with Butler where they sent the Golden Tornado packing 8-3 on Tuesday. For the Tigers, it was an offensive outburst that they’re going to need in a very defensive minded triple-A, as they only yielded 40 goals on the season.
No. 3 Cathedral Prep vs No. 2 Seneca Valley, 9:15 p.m.
Oct. 30: Seneca Valley def. Cathedral Prep 3-1
Dec. 19: Cathedral Prep def. Seneca Valley 3-1
Seneca Valley plays triple-A hockey, and very well at that. The Raiders only scored 48 goals during the 18 game season, but only allowed 35 in that span. They defeated Bethel Park 4-1 to earn the trip to Neville Island.
Cathedral Prep, the highest scoring team in the classification, tied the Raiders in the regular season, in the season series, and only ranked behind them in the third tie breaker- more penalty minutes. The team heads to Robert Morris after exercising the Mt. Lebanon Blue Devils 3-0 – a team that swept the Ramblers in the regular season.
A LOOK BACK
Here are the best of Mitch’s Pics from the PIHL’s first-round games.
Monday, Mar. 5: Double-A No. 5 Qualifier: Shaler vs Penn-Trafford (UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex)
Tuesday, Mar. 13: Triple-A No. 5 Butler at No. 4 North Allegheny (Baierl Ice Complex)
Wednesday, Mar. 14: Double-A No. 4 Quaker Valley at No. 1 Latrobe (Kirk S. Nevin Arena)
Thursday, Mar. 15: SingleNo. 6 South Fayette at No. 3 Thomas Jefferson (Rostraver Ice Garden)
A full gallery from these games can be found on our Facebook page, right here.