Fox Chapel did not qualify for the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Hockey League playoffs last season with a 3-18 record.
How things can change in a year.
They’ve had an absolutely remarkable turnaround, entering the Class AAA tournament as the top seed thanks to their impressive 18-2 record and 36 points – five more than defending champion Canon McMillan, who sits in second place. The Big Macs are looking to build off their impressive run from last year, as they entered the tournament as the No. 8 seed before topping Seneca Valley in overtime in the championship game.
Between March 7 and 20, 12 teams will battle it out to earn the right to be crowned the top team in Pennsylvania’s highest classification. It’s already shaping up to be quite a battle, as Plum defeated Mt. Lebanon in overtime, 5-4, in Sunday’s play-in game.
The first-round action starts Monday when State College and Norwin meet at 6:15 p.m. at Penn State Ice Rink. Pittsburgh Central and Hempfield will then take to the ice at 7:30 p.m. at Bladerunners-Harmarville, while McDowell and Shaler cap off the night with their 8 p.m. contest at Mercyhurst College Ice Rink.
North Allegheny and Plum will round out the opening-round action when they meet at 9:30 p.m. on Tuesday at Bladerunners-Warrendale.
All first- and second-round games will be played at the higher seed’s home rink.
Once the Penguins Cup reaches the semifinals, the action will head to CONSOL Energy Center. Those games are scheduled for March 14 and 15, with the AAA game slotted for 9 p.m. on both days.
The 2011 Class AAA Penguins Cup championship will be determined following the Penguins-Rangers 12:30 p.m. matinee on March 20. The puck will drop for that contest at 9 p.m. Make sure to check www.PittsburghPenguins.com daily for scores, brackets and standings as we track all of the action. Also, starting this year, the PIHL has paired with Pointstreak, an online real-time stats program, to bring fans live scoring on each playoff game. The Penguins purchased the program for the PIHL. There is a link to Pointstreak at www.pihlweb.com.