Pa Hockey Scholastic Showcase
 
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  Sunday, January 15
2007 Pa Hockey Scholastic Showcase - Director's Cup - Semi Final
2007 Pa Hockey Scholastic Showcase Semi Final – Bethel Park 6 Prairie Ridge 2

DELMONT –

Prairie Ridge Head Coach Casey Van Damme has turned around the hockey program in a very short time and one of the stepping stones for the Wolves prominence into the Blackhawk Cup chase was the their 2006-07 Director’s Cup title over defending Pennsylvania Class A champions Quaker Valley after a run of beating eventual Pennsylvania Class AAA champions North Allegheny and Ohio semi-finalist Upper Arlington. So coach Van Damme rolled the dice, if you will as PR took to the road again in 2007 to the National Invitational Scholastic Showcase and further prepared the Wolves for their battles in Illinois with a tremendous showing in Jamestown by defeating Illinois power Fenwick and Florida Finalist North Broward Prep in their final preliminary game. As tiebreakers would dictate, the Wolves ended up in a shootout with North Broward Prep and fell by a goal of making the NISS semi-finals and a date with New Trier Green, who is one of the top 3 teams in Illinois and a team beaten by North Broward Prep in the NISS semi-finals 4-3 in a double overtime shootout. The bump in the road in the NISS preliminary round was none other than Bethel Park, who defeated Prairie Ridge 3-2 in an overtime shootout. Head Coach Jim McVay’s squad has been banged up in the first half of the season and still has a few players out of the lineup, which has forced the Hawks to play some of it’s younger players and has gained experience and depth as some of the Hawks are starting to return to the lineup. The ultimate goal for Bethel Park is to win it’ 6th Pennsylvania Class AAA title and a year ago the Hawks fell in double overtime to North Allegheny after being the # 1 seed and favorite for much of the second half of the season. BP lost 13 seniors from its team from a year ago and the first half of the 2007-2008 has not been exactly what was anticipated, but watching the development of this team from early December to now has been very interesting and their play in the 2007 Pa Hockey Scholastic Showcase has been even better. An opening 5-0 victory over Montour started the push, a 2-1 win over # 2 Class AA West Allegheny started some people believing and then a convincing win over Upper Arlington 5-0 added to the confidence level into the Semi-Final. Both teams came out flying in their rematch as Prairie Ridge held a 10 – 5 shot advantage in the opening period. Bethel’s Zach Blake scored on a long wrist shot thru traffic caused by Chris Mandia for a 1-0 lead at 12:56 for a power play goal and 1-0 lead for the Hawks. The Wolves tied the hockey game after some nice work by Pat Houk and Alex Crisci worked the puck to the front of the net and Doug Kaminsky drilled it home and we were tied at one apiece. Bethel Park continued its surge in the second period as the line of Tyler Trocano – Tommy Whetsel and Tyler Shipley came to the forefront to lead the Hawks to one of its best periods of hockey of this season outshooting Prairie Ridge 17-7 and scoring two goals to seize a 3-1 lead. The first goal came from defenseman Nick Machi, who swooped in the PR zone and beat Marcelo Jorge to make it 2-1 at 7:01 and then the backbreaker came from Tyler Trocano after a beautiful setup by Tommy Whetsel less than two minutes later at 4:14 for a shorthanded goal and a 3-1 lead.

That same combination lit the lamp again early in the third period on the power play as Tommy Whetsel buried a very nice passing play with Trocano and Nick Machi and the Hawks were now in control 4-1. Prairie Ridge came back to cut the lead to 4-2 at 10:39 as Pat Houk scored a big goal. Bethel Park would not be denied as Whetsel scored less than a minute later at 9:44 to make it 5-2. The Hawk’s Chris Mandia tipped in a Zach Blake shot with 1:47 to go for a power play goal and an impressive 6-2 semi-final win and a 5th trip to the Director’s Cup final.

2007 Pa Hockey Scholastic Showcase Semi Final – Franklin Regional 3 Seneca Valley 2 [OT]

DELMONT –

Seneca Valley’s Mike Schall participated in the Pa Hockey Scholastic Showcase in 1996 as a member of the Raiders and fell in the Semi-Finals to inaugural Director’s Cup champions South Park in an excellent hockey game at the Golden Mile. The Raiders program has been there and back since then as they has survived a year without a Varsity and have grown through great development with the North Pittsburgh amateur association and to four school teams and flourished in a very tough division including Pennsylvania Class AAA champions North Allegheny, 8-time Pa champ Meadville and perennial Penguins Cup playoff participant McDowell. The Raiders are in the process of becoming a player within the division and Class AAA. A win over Bethel Park in the St Margaret Fall Face Off and regular season triumphs over Meadville and McDowell give the Raider faithful great hope of things to come. The pitfalls are that Seneca Valley has been inconsistent and dropped some games it maybe should win, which is part of the growth and development and will have to diminish should the Raiders hope to make a run at the Penguins Cup in the future. Franklin Regional’s hockey program is teetering at this point in time and the prospects for the future look pretty bright as over 25 kids are currently in the Little Panthers. But as we live in the present, the current FR Panthers are off to it’s best start in years at 9-1-1 and ranked # 3 in the Post Gazette hockey rankings. The lobe blemish on Franklin’s record is a 3-2 loss to # 1 ranked Latrobe in a game the Panthers held the lead and allowed late goals to lose. The Panthers have a very deep team with a combination of skill, speed and size and with a terrific goaltending tandem of James Orr and Anthony Livecchi, hope to challenge for the 2008 Class AA Penguins Cup in March. The 2007 Pa Hockey Scholastic Showcase was a roller coaster ride with a heartstopping 6-5 victory over Class A power Quaker Valley, a 2-1 overtime setback to neighborhood rival Penn Trafford in overtime and then an 8-2 thrashing of South Park. With all of that said the Panthers had to have the help of Quaker Valley to defeat Penn Trafford in overtime 5-4. As the Panthers gathered around the board at Center Ice Arena and watched PT take a 3-0 lead over Quaker Valley, there were probably some of the players and coaches, who may have doubted they would ever see the Scholastic Showcase semi-finals, but with a breath of new life, the Panthers would get that second chance and a chance at redemption for last year’s double overtime loss to Quaker Valley in the Pa Hockey Scholastic Showcase semi-finals and another opportunity to play for the Director’s Cup with Seneca Valley in the way. Franklin Regional and Seneca Valley was a little slower pace than the previous semi-final game, but nonetheless both teams could not find the net as Franklin outshot Seneca 12-9 and the Panther’s James Orr and Seneca’s Ryan Schutte were perfect. The Panthers would strike first at 10:27 of the second period as Steve Shirk took a terrific pass from Patrick Coyne on a shorthanded breakaway and beat Schutte on the backhand for a 1-0 lead for FR. Four minutes later at 6:09, it was Coyne again setting up Brian Buckley who score just inside the post to give the Panthers a 2-0 lead. Franklin Regional had several chances to extend the lead, but Ryan Schutte made some terrific stops and the Raider defense stiffened late in the second period. Seneca was mounting their own attack but Franklin’s James Orr was equal to the task turning aside 14 shots in the middle frame to add to nine in the first period to shut out the Raiders.


 
 

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