In an absolute thriller, the Shaler Titans beat the Seneca Valley Raiders, 3-2, in double overtime at Mellon Arena Tuesday night to earn its first-ever 84 Lumber PIHL Class AAA Penguins Cup Championship title in school history.
The Raiders battled back from a two-goal deficit to force overtime and almost netted the game-winner in the second overtime period when Logan Pfeffer split the Shaler defense and juked goaltender Oscar Prom, but missed the net by inches with a backhand shot. Moments later the tides turned in the Titans’ favor when Shaler sophomore Shane Shiring took a long shot from the right point which eluded netminder Ryan Schutte for the winning goal.
“We were just trying to get shots on net and we got them so it had to go in eventually,” Shiring said. “I just took a chance, I got a shot and it went in.”
It’s amazing to lift up the Penguins Cup (at Mellon Arena). All of the greats play on this ice like (Marc-Andre) Fleury and (Sidney) Crosby. It’s just an amazing feeling. - Titans goalie Oscar Prom
Ultimately, the game came down to special teams as Shaler tallied two power-play goals in regulation. Shaler perfectly executed on the power play to get the first point of the game at 8:36 in the first period. Shaler senior Drew Martz passed the puck from the high slot to junior Patrick Schafer at the far hash mark. Schafer wound up and one-timed the puck into the net for the goal.
Schafer netted another power-play goal in the second period to increase the Titans’ lead to 2-0.
With less than two minutes to play in the second period Seneca Valley closed in on Shaler’s lead with an even-strength goal. The Raiders were persistent in front of the net and junior Tyler Mesisca picked up a rebound at the goal line and lifted a shot just out of the reach of Prom’s glove for the goal, decreasing Shaler’s lead to 2-1.
With the Raiders only trailing by one goal halfway through the third period, the Seneca Valley crowd started a hearty “Let’s Go Raiders!” chant and the Shaler fans responded with a chant of their own.
On the ice, Seneca Valley made several attempts to break into the Shaler zone but was foiled by the Titans’ defense.
“Our defense did a really good job of keeping the shots to the outside and clearing the rebounds,” Prom said. “We played excellent. They did a good job of clearing guys out from in front of the net. Our defense just played excellent tonight.”
Seneca Valley managed to tie the game with 4:30 remaining in the third period on a pivotal power-play chance. Defenseman Taylor Wagner pulled the trigger on a shot from the far point which found the back of net through heavy traffic to tie the game, 2-2.
In the final moments of regulation, Shaler nearly scored when a puck bounced out of the corner and onto the stick of junior Zac Lynch who one-timed a shot on net but Schutte made an impressive glove save to keep his team in the game.
Both teams turned up the heat in the first overtime period which saw several scoring chances, huge hits and blocked shots from each side.
The game turned into a goaltenders dual as Prom and Schutte stubbornly refused to cede a goal.
“Prom played absolutely phenomenal.” Shafer said. “Both goalies played great. They were making saves that kept both teams in the game.”
But in the end, it was the Titans who prevailed on Shiring’s unassisted goal.
“It basically came down to who had the most stamina, and we got a lucky break on that last goal,” Schafer said. “I knew all we had to do was play our game and we could come back.”
“It’s amazing to lift up the Penguins Cup (at Mellon Arena),” Prom said. “All of the greats play on this ice like (Marc-Andre) Fleury and (Sidney) Crosby. It’s just an amazing feeling.”