PIHL Penguin Cup Playoff Recap for Sunday, March 6th

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The First Round of the 2011 PIHL Penguin Cup high school hockey playoffs take place Monday, March 7th and Tuesday, March 8th. However, before the pucks drops on the opening round, there was one Preliminary Round contest Sunday night to determine the final team in the Class AAA field. Here is the recap from that contest played at the Rostraver Ice Gardens.

Thanks to Brandon Rebel for his help on this recap.

PIHL PENGUINS CUP CLASS AAA Preliminary Round:

Plum Mustangs 5 - Mount Lebanon Blue Devils 4 in Overtime

If this preliminary game match-up was any indication of what's to come for the 2011 PIHL Penguin Cup Playoffs, then we are in for a real treat. In about as tight a contest as you'll ever see, it took Plum until overtime to seal the victory; and they did not need much of it to do so. The goaltenders sparkled early and the only puck to breach the net in the first period was a Cody Cenci offering from Tyler Galanis & Nicholas Cicolini, giving Plum a 1-0 lead. Things ratcheted up in the second period, though, as Plum extended the lead at 4:40 on a Joseph Randazzo rebound goal only to see said lead disappear in a matter of 29 seconds with two Blue Devil goals from the sticks of Christopher Meriney and Jason Hartman at 12:00 and 12:29, tying the game. Two more goals, a Nicholas Cicolini powerplay tally (Plum) and a Thomas Kang unassisted effort (Mt. Lebo), in the dying minute of the second period made the score 3-3 through two. The third period was nearly perfect from a hockey fans perspective as the two teams swapped chances repeatedly and the goalies had to be brilliant to keep their teams close. It took until 9:52, but Cody Cenci finally busted in on a breakaway and with a backhand to forehand move, shoveled the puck behind Clay Wyda to make it 4-3. Cestra and the Plum defense battened down the hatches for the next five minutes, but they came up 9 seconds too short. With 5 on 5 action and Mt. Lebanon's Clay Wyda pulled from his goal (Mt. Lebanon was serving a wacky penalty initiated when Wyda left his goalie stick propped up in front of his crease to discourage an empty net goal as he left the ice for an extra attacker), Jason Hartman found the back of the net again on a bang-bang rebound play on an initial shot from Chris O'Brotka. With the game tied at 4-4, Mt. Lebanon could hardly believe their good fortune as the fans went wild and Hartman's teammates mobbed him in the corner. Their jubilation was short-lived though as only 17 seconds into the overtime frame, Plum won an offensive zone face-off, Jason Pastucha corralled it at the point and let go a blast that was angled in off the stick of Tyler Galanis to give Plum a hard-fought and well deserved chance to dance in the PIHL Penguin Cup Playoffs. The Mustangs will ride their confidence into the first round on Tuesday at 9:30p.m. against the North Allegheny Tigers at the Blade Runners in Warrendale. The teams split their two meetings during the regular season.

Shots:
Plum - 26
Mt. Lebo - 27

3 Stars:
1. Plum - Tyler Galanis (1G, 2A, GWG)
2. Mt.L - Jason Hartman (2G, 0A)
3. Plum - Cody Cenci (2G, 0A)

Play of Game:
- The overtime re-direct goal by Tyler Galanis to beat Clay Wyda and send Plum into the playoffs.

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