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MONROEVILLE - Mt Lebanon Coach Paul Taibi has stressed defensive hockey in his short tenure with the Blue Devils. As any coach knows, great defense is born out of great goaltending. This is an area where Mt Lebanon has struggle the past few years, but has seemed to right itself early on in the 2001-2002 season. Mt Lebanon came out flying in the 1st period outshooting the Gators 12-4 and broke out on top with a pair of Mike Colligan goals, the first just 33 seconds into the game. Less than three minutes later, Colligan chipped a rebound past David Himes to give Mt Lebanon the 2-0 lead. Then just 16 seconds into the second, Mike Jordan scored on a rebound and all the sudden Gateway was in a hole 3-0. But the Gators pressed the attack and gain momentum in the 2nd and it paid off when Rob McCoy scored with 1:46 remaining in the second. That momentum carried forward into the third as Gateway outshot the Blue Devils 23-12 over the last two periods. Matt Kopaczynski buried a wrist shot forty seconds into the 3rd and all the sudden it was a one goal game. Enter Collin Sebastian, the Mt Lebanon goalie who shut the door on the Gators the rest of the way. Mike Colligan completed the hat trick and Jason Schultz added another at the buzzer,both on with Himes pulled as Gateway tried to score. The win sets up a big early season matchup next Monday for Mt Lebanon against Bethel Park.
MONROEVILLE - Ram coach George Reed was looking for his squad to rebound from a disappointing tie against Kittanning on Sunday. Woodland Hills was in its first action of the 2001-2002 season. After Andrew Philp gave the Wolverines a 1-0 lead, Pine Richland rattled off ten straght goals to coast to a 10-1 win. Ryan Tessmer led the Rams with five points (2 Goals 3 Assists), while a whole host of players got into the scoring column in a very lopsided win for PR.
CRANBERRY - Central Catholic's nickname is the Vikings, who are effectionately known in their brief 2001-2002 season as 'Midnight Madness'. A game tying goal against North Hills with just 31 seconds remaining in the opener and Tuesday affair with Brian Cersosimo's upstart Seneca Valley Raiders. Less than a minute into the first, SV's Dave Syska pounced on a rebound to give the Raiders a 1-0 lead. Central's Jeff Race and Glen Donahue scored less than a minute apart to give the Vikings a 2-1 lead at the end of one period. Central's Pete Wood took a CJ Bruce pass and beat John Hoffman to extend the lead to 3-1. But Seneca showed character as speedy Trevor Kuhlmann and Chris Hudson tallied to deadlock the game at 3-3. Race gave Cetral the lead back as he took a Hoffman rebound and beat him on the backhand with 3:50 remaining in the second. Eddie Martin then picked up a Race rebound on the power play and slammed it home to give the Vikings a two goal lead. John Zegarelli gave the Raiders new life with a goal with just :21 seconds remaining. In the third both teams had several chances, but the curfew clock decided another close game when it was halted with :19 seconds left. The rule that never seems to go away....while the league administration is at home sleeping and is worried more about frivilous items, its opportunity to become a legitimate school sport and have marketability and integrity are shallowed by a minor league rule, as Seneca watched any chance of tying diminish with the curfew buzzer (Imagine if that was a Woodland Hills - Penn Hills Football game... Riot gear would be appropriate). Final Score - Central Catholic 5 Seneca Valley 4
CRANBERRY - Brian Hershberger's North Allegheny squad has a very good memory. It remembers that Meadville was the team who dashed the Tigers Penguin Cup hopes just a few months ago. Conversely, Jamie Plunkett knows who beat his Bulldogs out a the PIHL West Lake division title last season. An important early season matchup between # 2 NA and # 3 Meadville. North Allegheny's Tyler Haldane struck fast scoring twice to give the Tigers a 2-0 lead. Tim Ward got into the act with 1:13 remaining in the 1st and again with three seconds remaining to give NA a 4-0 lead at the break. After Meadville cut the lead to 4-1 on a power play goal, Haldane took a pass from Jeff Hall and chipped it over the Bulldog goalie to make it 5-1 and complete the hat trick. Rick Thomas took a beautiful feed from Chrstian Nickerson less than a minute later and beat Thierry Clermont to make it 5-2. The teams traded goals in the third period as Meadville dominated with 13 shots to NA's 3. But it as a matter of too little ...too late for the Bulldogs, as North Allegheny went on to win 6-3.
MONROEVILLE - Bethel Park struggled in its opening game of the 2001-2002 regular season in a 4-1 win against McDowell. Playing without leading scorer Justin Glock looked like a prime opportunity for Penn Hills to take advantage of the two-time defending State Champion Blackhawks. Think again ! Bethel came out with a vengence in the first period as Jason McLean led the attack with two goals and Tim Hramika and Nick D'Alessandro added singles to give the Blackhawks a 4-0 lead just 6:36 into the game. Brandon Hanley added insult to injury as he made it 5-0 on a rebound goal late in the first period. Then the smothering defense, which allowed Penn Hills only 11 shots, a little high by Bethel standards and a second Hanley tally in the 3rd gave the Hawks a 6-0 victory and firm grip on its # 1 ranking. Penn Hills did improve its territory play in the third, but was no match for a hungry Bethel Park team. Delbert Joo got the shutout for the Hawks.