PIHL Playoffs: Pine-Richland ousts No. 1 team

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Pine-Richland senior Dillon Kessy carried the puck into the offensive zone, skated around a Bishop Canevin defenseman and tried to sneak a backhand shot underneath the pads of Crusaders goaltender Nikita Meskin.

A second passed, and everyone on the ice stood around trying to find the puck.

When it was finally located by the official, it was in the net, and chaos ensued.

Kessy's goal 2:40 into overtime gave No. 4 Pine-Richland (16-4-1) a 3-2 victory Tuesday night in a PIHL Class AA Penguins Cup semifinal against the top-seeded Crusaders (17-2-2) at RMU Island Sports Center.

"I didn't even know it went in," Kessy said. "I just took a shot five-hole and ... I'm pretty happy."

While the Rams cleared the bench and mobbed Kessy in front of the Crusaders goal, Bishop Canevin coach Kevin Zielmanski looked for an explanation from the officials.

"I thought the net moved and then they centered it, and it went under the net," Zielmanski said. "I didn't get an explanation. I was just told to get away from [the officials], and that was all. If there's anything else, they'll suspend or fine me."

The call was upheld and the Rams move on to the Class AA Penguins Cup championship at 7 p.m. March 20 at Consol Energy Center.

"It's a huge, huge thing for them," Pine-Richland coach Mike Bagnato said.

The Rams had to come back twice to send the game into overtime.

Bishop Canevin got a power-play goal from Brennen Adams to go up, 1-0, with 4:49 left in the first period, but Ryan Cole tied it 1:13 later on a power-play goal. The Crusaders went ahead on another power-play goal by Adams with 12:22 left in the second, and the scored stayed that way until freshman Matt Cole tied the score with 7:34 remaining in regulation.

Other Class AA semifinal

No. 2 Latrobe (18-3) jumped out to a three-goal lead and held off a third-period rally from No. 3 Chartiers Valley (15-5-1) to win, 3-2, at RMU Island Sports Center.

Christopher Johnson, Adam Ferguson and Dalton Hunter scored in the first 21:20 to give the Wildcats a 3-0 lead heading into the final period.

The lead could have been greater if not for Colts goaltender Noah Stevenson, who stopped 21 shots, including three on breakaways.

Chartiers Valley battled back in the third period with power-play goals from Cullen McMahon and Anthony Franks.

But the Colts couldn't get the tying goal past Shane Brudnok, who earned the win with 12 saves.

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