Saturday, January 11, 2014

Peters Township's hockey team continues successful run


Peters Township’s hockey team is a model of success in the PIHL.  Year after year, the Indians are one of the top teams in Western Pennsylvania with head coach Rick Tingle leading the way.

While the Indians won four-straight Penguins Cups from 2002-05, Peters Township has yet to earn the area’s top honor since moving up to Class AAA.  The Indians have lost in the championship game three years in a row, including the past two in Class AAA.  Peters Township decided to move up to face tougher competition.  It did not slow them down.

Last season, the Indians lost 2-0 to North Allegheny at CONSOL Energy Center.  With the game tied 0-0 entering the third period, it was a shorthanded goal that lifted the Tigers over Peters Township.  With just under 12 minutes remaining and the Indians on the power play, North Allegheny capitalized on a turnover in Peters Township’s zone to take a 1-0 lead.

North Allegheny forward Joe Griffin added another goal with just over three minutes remaining to seal the win for the Tigers.  The devastating loss has not stuck with the Indians.

Peters Township is currently tied for first place in Section 1-AAA with a 9-2 record.  The Indians have allowed just 23 goals in 11 games and are fighting off Bethel Park for the top spot in the section.  Peters Township took a big step to separate them as one the league’s top teams when they defeated the Blackhawks, 4-2, during a Nov. 14 matchup.

Once again, it is Adam Alavi who is pacing Peters Township’s offense.  After scoring 23 goals last season, Alavi has 20 points in just 11 games for the Indians.  His combination of speed and playmaking ability makes him one of the top players in Class AAA, despite not being ranked within the top ten in point leaders.

Peters Township’s success has not come without adversity.  The Indians dropped a close game to Seneca Valley (7-5) on Jan. 7, 3-1.  Peters Township tied the game 1-1 with Evan Opeka’s goal five minutes into the third period.  Seneca Valley answered with two unanswered goals in less than two minutes to clinch the win.

The Indians will need to overcome the late lapse quickly as they face Pine-Richland on Tuesday at the Iceoplex.  The Rams have one of the league’s top scoring threats, Nicholas Matelan, who has scored 16 goals to go with 10 assists in just 11 games for Pine-Richland.

With Peters Township’s strong goaltending and a lineup that features three lines of forwards who can compete with any team in the state, the Indians are a true contender to claim the Penguins Cup that has eluded them for the past seven seasons.

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