Mt. Lebanon-Central Raise Money For Sciullo Scholarship in Charity Series
/ Pittsburgh Penguins
The family of fallen police officer Paul Sciullo II stood at center ice under the open night sky. Representatives of Mt. Lebanon and Pittsburgh’s Central Catholic met them there to present them with gifts before the opening faceoff between the two clubs in the PIHL High School Charity Series Friday night at South Park, a game which benefited the PIHL Paul Sciullo Memorial Scholarship.
Sciullo, a Central graduate and former Vikings hockey player, was killed in the line of duty alongside officers Eric Kelly and Stephen Mayhle April 4, 2009.
Central head coach William Connelly praised both teams for work they did raising money for such a great cause.
“Before the game even starts, you have to think about all the fundraising that both teams did,” Connelly said. “It’s great that two good teams, storied teams, can get together and go all out, hit the streets, sell raffle tickets, etc. It’s great that the Sciullo’s were able to be here. That family means a lot to us. Moving forward, we’ll be able to use that for a little bit of inspiration.”
But the pleasantries between these clubs ended there once the puck dropped. Led by their top line of Trevor Nelson, Thomas Horn and Jason Hartman, Mt. Lebanon (9-3-1) skated to a 6-1 victory over Central (5-6-0) in the annual outdoor high school hockey tradition.
Right from the opening draw, fans from both sides were treated to a tempo and level of physicality that would normally be reserved for an NHL playoff game.
Mt. Lebanon coach Dave Hornack said that physicality is a big part of what his team wants to accomplish.
“We want to bump. We don’t want to poke-check. We want to be in the habit of taking the body,” Hornack said. “It gets our guys involved a little more and that’s definitely something we want to do. We aren’t looking for the big middle of the ice type of hits. I’ll just take the simple bump off the puck.”
That physical tempo put Central Catholic on the power play early in the first period, but it was Mt. Lebanon’s Thomas Horn that ended up lighting the lamp on a shorthanded breakaway. Central Catholic coughed the puck up on their defensive blue line, and Horn skated in alone to beat Central goaltender Brian Burger giving Mt. Lebanon an early lead.
“Trevor Nelson made a really good hit along the boards and forced Central to make a quick play, they turned it over and it came right to me,” Horn said. “Shorthanded goals can really up the tempo, the team just goes wild. We all just get really into the game and we’re able to work the puck so much better.”
Mt. Lebanon added to their lead towards the end of the first period on a beautiful tic-tac-toe play that ended with Jason Hartman netting the goal with linemates Horn and Nelson getting the assists. The top line of Nelson, Hartman and Horn presented problems for Central Catholic throughout the game.
However, Central Catholic would begin to find their feet as the first period ended, and they nearly answered with a shorthanded mark of their own as the second period got underway.
But Mt. Lebanon that would strike again with another shorthanded tally off of a Central Catholic miscue at center that created a 2-on-1 opportunity for Cory Wuenschell and James Phillips. The forwards burst into the zone and Wuenschell was able to feed Phillips on a great pass to put Mt. Lebanon up 3-0.
As the third period got underway, Mt. Lebanon found themselves on the power play, and it was Horn who would strike again, giving Mt. Lebanon a 4-0 lead at the beginning of the final frame. Horn was able to corral a loose puck in the left circle and fire it past Burger.
Central Catholic would answer later in the third with a power-play goal of their own as Jesse Yeckel set up Anthony Parrucci to give the Vikings a chance for a third period rally.
But it would be the top line of Mt. Lebanon that would put an end to this game. After several shifts of sustained pressure, Nelson, Mt. Lebanon’s assistant captain and leading scorer, would make the score 5-1 late in the third with a nifty forehand move on a partial breakaway. Horn found the score sheet yet again with his fourth point of the night to conclude the scoring. The other assist on the goal was credited to Nicholas Honkala.