Hockey Notebook: Armstrong contingent fuels Northeast victory

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The Armstrong contingent on the Northeast Conference team at the PIHL Class AA all-star game Sunday came out scoring from the opening faceoff, and barely slowed down throughout the game.

Riverhawks sophomore Luke Gross scored six seconds into the game as the Northeast and Southwest Conference teams combined for 17 goals in the first two periods of the Northeast's 12-7 victory at RMU Island Sports Center.

"I've never seen an all-star game like that," said Armstrong senior Hunter Grafton, playing in his third PIHL All-Star Game. "That was nuts."

Gross, Grafton and their other Armstrong linemate, Christian Miller, were at the forefront of the scoring onslaught.

Miller had a hat trick and three assists, Grafton had two goals and four assists and Gross had two goals, including the winning goal in the third period.

John Phelps, a senior de-fenseman for the Riverhawks, also contributed an assist on one of Grafton's goals.

"You're with [your teammates] six months out of the year, so you're like brothers and they want me to succeed just like I want them to succeed," said Miller, a junior making his third all-star appearance. "So it's great to see."

Things weren't as great for another Riverhawk, Grafton's younger brother Nathan, who played for the losing side.

The junior defenseman was called Sunday morning and asked to play for the Southwest team, which was short a player.

"It was weird, but it's hockey," Hunter Grafton said of playing against his brother. "We enjoyed it and we'll get a laugh out of it."

Warriors duo helps Northeast avenge loss

No duo in Class AAA has been more productive in PIHL Class AAA this season than Penn-Trafford's Jake Miller and Jonah Graffius, who entered this week first and second, respectively, in the class in points.

Paired together in the PIHL All-Star Game Sunday, the two hooked up for the winning goal.

Off a feed from Miller, Graffius found the back of the net 20 seconds into overtime to give the Northeast a 3-2 victory against the Southeast squad.

"He knew exactly where I was going to be and I knew exactly where he'd put the puck," Graffius said. "[Playing with him] was a major factor for me. I knew it coming into the game that it'd be a major factor because he's a great player and I know his tendencies."

It was Graffius' first all-star game, but Miller played for the Northeast team last season when it lost, 10-1.

Miller was one of seven players who returned to play for the Northeast again this season, and the team's head coach, Mike Guentner of Butler, also was on the bench for the second consecutive season.

"It was nice that we could use last year's blowout loss as motivation for this year," Guentner said.

Makozy, Tamburi lead Northeast in Class A game

Mars' Nick Makozy and Thomas Jefferson's Nicholas Tamburi each had a goal and three assists and South Park's Maclean Walton had two goals to lead the Southwest Conference to a 9-6 victory against the Northeast in the PIHL Class A All-Star game Sunday.

The Northeast team had three of the league's top four teams -- Quaker Valley, Mars and Thomas Jefferson -- on its side, and 15 of its 20 players came from those three teams.

Freeport's Michael Frazetta led the Southwest squad with two goals.

Northeast goalies shine in Open Class game

The Southwest team in the Open Class All-Star Game outshot the Northeast, 56-32.

But only two of those 56 shots got past the goaltending trio of Hempfield's Garrett Ciaramella, Connellsville's Tyler Clark and Carrick's Nathan Norkevicus as the Northeast won, 4-2.

Ciaramella (24 saves) and Clark (10 saves) saved every shot they faced, while Norkevicus finished with 20 saves.

Hempfield's Anthony Ciocca led all scorers with two points (one goal, one assist).

Game of the week

Indiana at Hempfield, 7 p.m. Sunday, Kirk S. Nevin Arena -- The top two teams in the Northeast Conference of the Open classification meet for the second time this season. The Little Indians (14-2) won the first meeting against the Spartans (14-2) in overtime, 8-7, on Dec. 19.

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