The top six teams in points in Class AAA come from Sections 1 and 2. Sunday, the two sections showed they had the best individual talent, too.
The Southwest Conference, made up of those two sections, dominated the Northeast Conference, 10-1, at the Class AAA PIHL All-Star Game at the RMU Island Sports Center.
"It is what it is," said Butler coach Mike Guentner, who was the head coach of the Northeast team. "If you look at the standings, the teams that they are pulling from are the stronger teams. Obviously, we didn't have any weak representatives on our team, but you just look at the guys who couldn't play for them tonight even and they are some of the best in the league."
As Guentner stated, the Southwest team didn't have some of its best players in Sunday's contest. Due to injury or other obligations, the Southwest team was missing Peters Township's Trevor Recktenwald, Canon-McMillan's Carmen Dalesandro and Anthony Tonkovich and North Allegheny's Joe Griffin.
Recktenwald, Dalesandro and Tonkovich entered this week in the top 10 in Class AAA in scoring, while Griffin is the leading goal-scorer for top-ranked North Allegheny.
But no matter, as two of the alternates, Bethel Park's Ryan Kusmira and Mt. Lebanon's Nick Honkala, scored the first two goals for the Southwest team.
After that, Bethel Park's Christian Siak and Seneca Valley's Chris Marziotto stole the show. Siak had a natural hat trick in the second period, while adding an assist. Marziotto had a goal in the second period and scored the final two goals in the third.
North Allegheny's Cody Black and Upper St. Clair's Austin Cassidy also had a goal each for the Southwest squad.
Siak said he thought the game would be closer.
"It was a little surprising," he said. "I guess we just got a couple of lucky bounces and everyone contributed.
"It was nice."
Meanwhile, goaltenders Michael Ambrose of Upper St. Clair, Brian Baker of Peters Township and Tanner Pfeffer of Seneca Valley shut down the Northeast Conference, stopping 37 of 38 shots.
"Our goalies made some big saves," said Bethel Park coach Jim McVay, who was the head coach of the Southwest Conference team.
The three goaltenders stonewalled an offense led by Norwin's Dan Merz and State College's Stephan Horgas, the top two goal-scorers in Class AAA. Merz did have an assist on the Northeast's only goal by his Norwin teammate, Timmy Palmer.
Class A leaders clash
Tuesday night, Quaker Valley and Mars locked horns in a matchup of the top two teams in Class A, with the Quakers prevailing, 4-0, to stay unbeaten.
But Sunday, the players from the two squads teamed up to help the Southwest team win the PIHL All-Star Game, 7-4.
The players in the game from the Quakers and Planets combined to score six of the seven goals for the Southwest squad.
Quaker Valley's Adam Pilewicz had three goals, while Mars' Ed Schwardon, Max Master and Ian Houk-Graves all had one goal.
For the Northeast team, Kittanning's Christian Miller led the way with two goals and an assist.
Latrobe duo comes up big
Greater Latrobe seniors Josh Singley and Shane Brudnok are no strangers to the PIHL All-Star Game.
Both Wildcats made their third all-star appearances Sunday and played integral roles in leading the Northeast Conference team to a 7-4 win against the Southwest in the Class AA game at the RMU Island Sports Complex.
Brudnok stopped all 10 shots he faced in the second period, the only goaltender out of the six who played in the contest to not allow a goal.
Singley had two goals and an assist. His second goal, where he received a nice pass from Gateway's Camden Cacolice and beat Chartiers Valley's Noah Stevenson on a breakaway in the third period, turned out to be the winning goal.
"It shows [Latrobe] has some talent, some skill," Singley said. "But it's nothing really to look into. We just played well tonight."
Latrobe had a Class AA-leading 28 points through Wednesday's games.
Power stars in Open Class
William Power of Hollidaysburg is the top goal-scorer in the PIHL with 52 goals this season. Sunday, sharing the ice with the best players in the Open Class, Power's star shined the brightest.
Power scored two goals, including the game-winner, to lift the Northeast Conference to a 4-2 victory in PIHL Open Class All-Star Game.
Games to Watch
• Hampton (10-6-1) at Pine-Richland (12-4-1), 9:10 p.m. Monday, Ice Connection.
This game could decide the Class AA Section 4 title. Pine-Richland shut out Hampton, 5-0, Jan. 21.
• Erie Cathedral Prep (12-4-0 before Thursday's game) at Chartiers Valley (12-4-1), 7:10 p.m. Thursday, Mt. Lebanon Recreation Center.
The Ramblers won an 8-6 shootout against the Colts Jan. 14 in Erie.hsother