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A-K Valley PIHL hockey playoff capsules

| Sunday, March 2, 2014, 5:51 p.m.
Armstrong’s Christian Miller (right) leads PIHL Class AA with 25 goals, entering Tuesday’s games.
Erica Dietz | Valley News Dispatch
Plum's Anthony Borriello attempts to block Bishop Canevin's Blaine Adamas during the hockey game at the Pittsburgh Ice Arena in New Kensington on Monday, January 6, 2014.
Erica Dietz | Valley News Dispatch
Freeport's Rob Reichenbaugh edges out Deer Lakes' Zachary Luniewski during the hockey game at Ice Connection in Valencia on Tuesday, January 28, 2014.

Class AA

Plum (12-7-3) vs. Hampton (13-8-1)

9:10 p.m., Monday at Ice Connection

Winner plays: Bishop Canevin/North Hills winner

Players to watch: P: Joe Randazzo (36G, 25A), David Stonebraker (27G, 21A), Dillon Joyce (9G, 15A); H: Zachary Kosick (25G, 16A), Ethan Homitz (18G, 18A), Eric Leya (21G, 14A).

Slap shots: Plum, the No. 5 seed, will rely on Randazzo and Stonebraker for scoring. The duo accounted for 63 of the Mustangs' 93 goals (67.7 percent) during the regular season. Plum goalie James Borriello posted an 11-5-1 record with a 2.92 goals-against average and .900 save percentage, while Hampton's Cameron Raidna went 13-7-1 with a 3.02 GAA and .892 save percentage. The Mustangs and Talbots finished the regular season with 27 points apiece and split two meetings. Hampton dominated in a 9-0 win Nov. 12, but Plum beat the Talbots, 4-2, on Dec. 16.

Armstrong (16-5-1) vs. Latrobe (11-8-3)

7:30 p.m., Tuesday at Belmont Ice Complex

Winner plays: Erie Cathedral Prep/Chartiers Valley winner

Players to watch: A: Hunter Grafton (21G, 41A), Christian Miller (46G, 15A), Cody Toy (4G, 22A); GL: Chris Johnson (24G, 25A), Adam Ferguson (19G, 19A), Brendan Johns (17G, 12A).

Slap shots: Armstrong enters its first postseason in program history as the No. 3 seed behind Miller, Class AA's top goal scorer. Grafton is among the Class AA leaders in assists, and Taylor Smouse (15-5-1, 3.84 GAA) likely will be in net for the Riverhawks. Latrobe turns to Timothy Ruppen (10-8-3, 3.98 GAA) at goalie, and Chris Johnson poses as its most consistent offensive threat. Armstrong swept the two-game series during the regular season, most recently edging the Wildcats, 3-2, on Feb. 6.

Class A

Freeport (14-5-2) vs. Westmont Hilltop (13-6-3)

7:30 p.m., Monday at Belmont Ice Complex

Winner plays: Quaker Valley/South Fayette winner

Players to watch: F: Cole Hepler (32G, 22A), Michael Frazetta (9G, 25A), Brendon Zack (8G, 17A); WH: Brandon Leech (10G, 21A), Stephen DeMarco (13G, 12A), Adam McQuillan (10G, 10A).

Slap shots: Freeport, the No. 4 seed, will host fifth-seeded Westmont Hilltop after the squads played a competitive three games during the regular season. The Yellowjackets opened the season with a pair of ties against the Hilltoppers, before scoring a 6-3 win Feb. 25. Matthew Huston (5-4-1, 2.78 GAA) likely will get the call in net for the Yellowjackets, and Katie Hill (7-0, 1.66 GAA) also is a strong option. Sebastian Ragno played all 22 games in net for the Hilltoppers, recording a 2.06 GAA and .903 save percentage. Freeport won 12 consecutive games from Dec. 18 to Feb. 20, but dropped two of its last games three to fellow Penguins Cup hopefuls Quaker Valley and Thomas Jefferson.

Deer Lakes (10-12) vs. Thomas Jefferson (15-5-2)

7:30 p.m., Tuesday at Bladerunners Bethel Park

Winner plays: Mars/Serra Catholic winner

Players to watch: DL: Zachary Luniewski (25G, 27A), Vincent Casale (17G, 31A), Mitchell Rupprecht (29G, 17A), Thomas Lisowski (24G, 15A); TJ: Zach Uhlyar (27G, 24A), Nicholas Tamburi (23G, 21A), Tommy Kimmick (21G, 23A).

Slap shots: TJ swept Deer Lakes, the No. 6 seed, in two regular-season meetings, but the Lancers proved they could play with Jaguars during a 7-4 loss Feb. 24. Deer Lakes outshot TJ, 35-29, and held a 3-2 lead in the second period before the Jags, who enter the playoffs on a six-game unbeaten streak, took control with five consecutive goals. The Lancers have been dealing with injuries to defensemen Jonathan Merlo and Douglas Francioni and will lean on goaltender Jonathan Lang, who has started all 22 games for Deer Lakes, posting a 4.41 GAA and .829 save percentage. Nick Ripepi (12-5-2, 2.84 GAA) is expected be in net for Thomas Jefferson.

— By Jason Orfao

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