A Penguins Cup victory for the Mars Planets might not put them on top of the universe, but it would allow them to join elite company.
As the defending Class A champion, the Planets have a chance to reel off back-to-back titles. Standing in their way between now and the championship game on March 27 is a tough Kittanning squad which posted an identical 20-2 regular-season record. The two teams squared off earlier this season, with Mars skating away with a 6-2 victory on Dec. 22.
Both teams have received byes into the quarterfinal round along with two other perennial Class A powers – Serra Catholic and Bishop McCourt.
Class A first-round action gets under way on March 8 when Quaker Valley and Sewickley Academy drop the puck at 7 p.m. at Airport Ice Arena. Other first-round contests include: Hampton-Freeport at 8 p.m. on March 9 at Ice Connection; Knock-Center at 7 p.m. on March 10 at Valley Sports Complex; and Westmont Hilltop-South Fayette on March 10 at 7:30 p.m. at War Memorial.
The winners from the four opening-round matchups will advance to the quarterfinals, where they will face off against the top-four seeds.
All first and second round contests will be played at the higher seed’s home rink.
Once the Penguins Cup reaches the semifinals, the action will head to Mellon Arena. Those games are slated for March 22 and 23, with the A game slotted at 5 p.m. both days.
The 2010 Class A Penguins Cup champion will be determined following the Penguins-Flyers afternoon matinee on March 27. Game time for the contest is 5 p.m.
On April 1 the winner of the Penguins Cup will take on the Flyers Cup champion at Mellon Arena for the right to be crowned the Pennsylvania State High School Hockey champion. That contest will begin at 11:00 a.m.
Make sure to check PittsburghPenguins.com daily for scores, brackets and standings as we track all of the action.