The Penguins Cup Champions were determined on Monday and Tuesday nights of this week at the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex in Cranberry. The Penguins Cup is awarded to the postseason winner in each of three classifications in the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Hockey League (PIHL), and the Penguins Cup champions face the Flyers Cup champions in the Pennsylvania State Finals on Saturday at Penn State University.
After winning a Penguins Cup at the Class AA level last season, Cathedral Prep repeated the feat in Class AAA this season by defeating North Allegheny in overtime, 4-3. Sophomore defenseman Pat Kelly scored the game-winning goal for the third-seeded Ramblers on a power play with 1:08 remaining in the first overtime period. North Allegheny battled back from 2-0 and 3-2 deficits -- fueled by a pair of goals from Joe Zappia -- to force overtime, which was the third-straight playoff game needing an extra period for the Tigers. But it was Cathedral Prep with the overtime heroics when it mattered most, giving the Ramblers their fourth Penguins Cup title in school history.
Bishop Canevin captured its eighth Penguins Cup crown in school history with a 5-1 win over Mars. The Crusaders broke away from a 1-1 tie to net two goals in the first minute of the second period. The Crusaders added another late in the period to extend their lead over the Fighting Planets to 4--1. Daniel Tkac finished off the scoring with an empty net goal at the end of the third period -- his second goal of the night -- to close out the 5-1 victory, while goaltender Neko Borghini made 40 saves for the Crusaders. Only Meadville has more Penguins Cup titles in school history (9) than Bishop Canevin, which moves into sole possession of second place on the all-time list.
Franklin Regional used a four-goal outburst in the third period to propel past South Fayette and earn the Class A Penguins Cup Championship by a score of 4-1. South Fayette held a 38-16 advantage in shots through two periods, including 10 of the first 11 shots of the game. But the strong play of freshman goaltender Daniel Soltesz kept Franklin Regional within striking distance, down 1-0. Nicholas Carretta got both the equalizer and the go-ahead goal in the opening half of the third period, then finished off the hat trick with an empty net goal to seal the win for the Panthers. The victory gave Franklin Regional its first Penguins Cup championship in school history.