The quest for the Penguins Cup begins Wednesday for high school hockey teams in the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Hockey League.
The first round of the 84 Lumber Penguins Cup Championship Series starts with a Class AAA battle between Pittsburgh Central Catholic (13-7-2) and Franklin Regional (11-11-0) at the Valley Sports Complex in New Kensington.
Three other Class AAA games will be played Thursday. Upper St. Clair (15-6-1) battles North Hills (8-13-1) at 7:20 p.m. at the Ice Castle in Castle Shannon, while Fox Chapel (13-7-2) plays Erie McDowell (12-9-1) at 8:30 p.m. at the Valley Sports Complex. At the Center Ice Arena in Demlont, Penn-Trafford (16-6-0) takes on the winner of Wednesday’s 7:10 p.m. wildcard game between Baldwin (7-13-2) and Kiski Area (19-1-0) at the Ice Castle.
Mount Lebanon (22-0-0), North Allegheny (19-3-0), Meadville (19-3-0) and Bethel Park (17-4-1-) all received first-round byes in Class AAA.
Four Class AA games are scheduled for Thursday: Kittanning (12-5-4) plays Moon (9-12-0) at 7:35 p.m. at the Belmont Ice Complex in Kittanning; Peters Township (13-8-0) meets Thomas Jefferson (12-9-0) at 7:10 p.m. at the Iceoplex at Southpointe; Canon-McMillan (12-6-3) battles Greater Latrobe (7-10-4) at 9:10 p.m. at the Iceoplex at Southpointe; Greensburg Central Catholic (12-7-2) welcomes Indiana (11-8-2) to the Kirk S. Nevin Arena in Greensburg at 9:30 p.m.
West Allegheny (19-2-0), Pine-Richland (18-1-2), Bishop Canevin (15-4-2) and Montour (14-6-1) all received first-round byes in Class AA.
Class A opens Monday with a pair of games. Quaker Valley (21-1-0) meets Conemaugh Valley (4-17-1) at 7 p.m. at the Airport Ice Arena in Moon Township, while Bishop McCort (18-3-1) plays Mars (13-9-0) at 7:45 p.m. at the Cambria County War Memorial Arena in Johnstown. Freeport (14-7-1) battles Sewickley Academy (14-8-0) on March 8 at 8 p.m. at the Belmont Ice Complex. Serra Catholic (19-2-1) welcomes Westmont-Hilltop (9-12-1) to the Rostraver Ice Garden in Belle Vernon on March 9 at 7:15 p.m.
The 84 Lumber Penguins Cup Championship Series culminates with three Penguin Cup championship games – Class A (1 p.m.), Class AA (3 p.m.) and Class AAA (5 p.m.) – March 25 at Mellon Arena.
The Penguins Cup champions will take on the Flyers Cup champions for the state championship April 8 at the RMU Island Sports Center on Neville Island.