- High School
It took 53 minutes and 10 seconds to crown a Class AAA champion, but that just made it all the sweeter for 4th-seed Upper St. Clair as they upended 2nd-seed Canon-McMillan in dramatic fashion in overtime to win the Panthers first Penguins Cup Championship since 1987 Sunday night at the CONSOL Energy Center in Pittsburgh.
At 3:10 into overtime, Luke Stork pick-pocketed a Canon-Mac defenseman and fed Michael Sweeney who walked out from behind the net and backhanded the puck behind an unaware Ryan Palonis for the game winner. That goal came at the end of a wild contest in which USC carried the bulk of the play and out-shot Canon Mac by a mile; 43-13.
Canon McMillan, and specifically Brett Oldaker, would not go quietly into the night though, and they actually led 3-2 until late in the third period. That was when a power play re-direction by Justin Selep (assisted by Stephen Gielarowski) at 13:13 tied the game at three to send it into overtime.
The contest started out as a lopsided one, with USC dominating the first period and out-shooting Canon Mac 20-2 but with neither team notching a score.
The second period was no different as far as shots were concerned, but the scoreboard told a different story with Michael Segerdahl (assisted by Justin Selep and Ryan Haleski) at 3:23 making it 1-0 and drawing first blood for USC. It was the Brett Oldaker show for the rest of the period, though, as he scored an unassisted power play marker at 5:14 and an even strength breakaway goal (assisted by Anthony Tonkovich) at 12:24 to make it 2-1 in favor of Canon McMillan.
The third period featured more special teams action. CJ Murray scored a beautiful coast-to-coast goal as time ran out of a USC power play to tie the game at 2-2 just 1:39 into the period. Zach McKown (assisted by Alex Baskakov) answered only 2 minutes later on a Canon Mac power play tally to give the Big Macs the lead, although it would not last.
Selep's power play tally sent it into overtime, which set it up for Sweeney's heroics to finish off a Big Mac team that Upper St. Clair had lost to twice during regular season play. Revenge is a dish best served cold and with an overtime victory in the championship game.
Upper St. Clair advances and earns the right to play Flyers Cup champion LaSalle College for the Pennsylvania Cup on Saturday, March 26 in West Chester, PA.
Shots on Goal:
Upper St. Clair 43 - Canon-McMillan 13
Management Science Associates 3 Stars: