Pittsburgh Hockey Digest


No. 7 McDowell upsets No. 3 Quaker Valley 5-3, advances to Penguins Cup Final

McDowell captain Nico Catalde celebrates a goal in a 2022 PIHL Penguins Cup playoff game against Quaker Valley at the RMU Island Sports Center on Wednesday, Mar. 16, 2022. -- ED MAJOR II

NEVILLE TWP., PA — The No. 7 seed McDowell Trojans upset No. 3 Quaker Valley 5-3 Wednesday at the RMU Island Sports Center. Two goals apiece from Kurt Johnson and Nico Catalde punched the Trojans’ ticket to the Class-1A Penguins Cup Final. They will face No. 4 Norwin at the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex at 8:45 p.m. open Monday, Mar. 21, 2022.

The Trojans squeaked by No. 2 seed North Catholic, 3-2, in the quarterfinals on March 8. Some would say McDowell had no business being in a semifinal game, let alone winning. But head coach Alex Luddy said otherwise.

“We just used the motivation that not a lot of people expected us to be here,” said Luddy after the game.

The secret to their success? “A lot of film, a lot of practice breaking down what they do.”

It was not an easy road from the start, though. Braedan Steffey started the scoring just over halfway into the first period to give Quaker Valley a 1-0 lead. It was the only goal of a first period that McDowell had to have been pleased with, though.

“We were confident most of the game. We were banging on their door. Once that first [goal] came, we were buzzing the whole game,” said Catalde after the game.

Kurt Johnson was the one that managed that first McDowell goal early in the second period. Two minutes later, Quaker Valley took the lead back with a Ben Carlson goal, but the Trojans tied the game again, 2-2, with 30 seconds remaining in the second period. That’s when they really flipped the switch.

Catalde ripped a shot off the crossbar from the point that found its way into the net to give his team their first lead of the game — a lead they never gave up. Just two minutes later, he added his second. After a pass to teammate Braedan Martin, who took a shot that was saved by Quaker Valley goaltender Landon Buterbaugh, Catalde put the rebound into the wide open net. An empty netter and a Quaker Valley answer as time expired secured the 5-3 win and a trip to the championship game.


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