Pittsburgh’s reputation as a breeding ground for top young hockey talent was bolstered again last weekend as two Pittsburgh Penguins Elite teams captured prestigious league championships.
|The Pittsburgh Penguins Elite 18-and-under boys team after winning the Tier I Elite League championship in Minnesota |
The Pittsburgh Penguins Elite 18-and-under boys team and the Pittsburgh Penguins Elite 14-and-under girls team, both presented by Dick’s Sporting Goods, clinched Tier 1 Elite Hockey League titles.
The boys defeated Belle Tire, 4-3, in overtime in the championship game, battling back from an early two-goal deficit. Alec Coleman scored the winning goal for the Pens, who finished at 4-1 in the tournament.
The Pens punched their ticket to the championship game with a 3-1 win over the Oakland Grizzlies in the semifinals. The boys put on a picture-perfect performance while on the penalty kill, shutting down Oakland’s power play on all six occasions. Jordan Mardirossian put the game out of reach with a third period goal, giving the Pens an insurmountable two-goal lead.
The boys’ most dominating effort came in its third playoff game, when they used five second period goals - scored by Jonathan Stickel (2), Chris Shero, Austin Heakins and Patrick Hannan - to cruise by Team Comcast with a 5-0 victory. Colin DeAugustine recorded the shutout.
While the boys displayed grit throughout their playoff run, the Pens Elite U14 girls owned a spotless record on their way to their Tier 1 Elite championship.
The girls finished the playoffs 5-0 despite playing a one-loss team, Madison, Wisc., twice. After defeating Madison 4-1 in its second playoff game, they met again in the semifinals a few games later. The girls came out on the winning end again, earning a spot in the championship game with a 4-2 victory.
The Milwaukee Admirals were the only team standing between the girls and the Pens Elite’s first championship at any level. In the championship game held in Detroit, the girls found themselves down 1-0 through the first two periods. That deficit was quickly erased after the third period’s opening faceoff, as the girls scored two goals in the first three minutes to take a 2-1 lead they would maintain the rest of the way.
They showcased the definition of a team effort throughout their playoff run, as 10 different players scored through the five games. The team was dominant on both ends, owning six of the playoffs’ top seven scorers while its goalies combined for a .948 save percentage.