Knights fall vs. USC hockey
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Goals were plentiful for both teams on Thursday, but Norwin ended up being the team with too few.
The Knights jumped out to an early two-goal lead before Upper St. Clair stormed back with four goals in six minutes of the first-period on the way to an 8-5 win over Norwin at the Ice Castle in Castle Shannon.
Upper St. Clair's Jacob Puccetti finished the game with five goals and an assist, while Dan Merz finished with two goals and three assists for the Knights, which carried his league-best point total to 33.
The Knights took an early edge with some good puck movement. Merz scored on a rebound after Dante Youhon found Alex Moxie in front of the net for the intial shot, which gave Norwin a 1-0 lead. Merz did good work behind the net to set up Marc Swankler for the Knights' second goal, as Norwin had a 2-0 lead in less than nine minutes.
USC came back by scoring on a delayed penalty call and then on a power play to tie the game, and when Puccetti pounced on a rebound with 5:06 left in the first period, the Panthers had their first lead of the game.
“This one got away from us,” Norwin coach James Reith said. “We've had some games where we've played really well within our system, but we were our own worst enemy tonight. You can't play shorthanded, and when we took penalties, they made us pay.”
Norwin twice tied the game again on goals by Tim Palmer and Eli Reith, but USC took the lead for good with 15:07 left in the second period when Dan Crockett redirected a shot by Matt Koch behind Norwin goalie Chad Albert.
Puccetti added the Panthers' sixth goal in the second period and extended the lead to 7-4 in the third, as the USC offense continued to churn forward while Norwin's attack stalled.
“I'd say our intensity just dropped a little,” Merz said. “We really came out flying, and we got the lead. But then we tried to sit back on the lead, and it didn't work. We started taking penalties, too, and that really took the wind out of our sails.”
Merz cut the lead with an exceptional 1-on-2 move to split the USC defense and score by moving the puck from backhand to forehand, but that tally with 4:46 remaining would be Norwin's last.
The Knights' chance to rally was killed by penalties, as roughing calls against Palmer and Merz deprived the team of two of its biggest offensive weapons, and further calls against Youhon and Swankler put four Knights in the box against only one USC player in the final minute. For the game, Norwin had 34 minutes of penalties, including a pair of 10-minute unsportsmanlike conduct penalties.
“We needed to play three periods of hockey and stay out of the box,” Merz said. “Some of the calls we don't agree with, but we have to keep trying to do our best.”
The loss dropped the Knights to 6-4-0 after 10 games of the season, but they still hold on to the top spot in Section 3-AAA entering the final week before the PIHL's holiday break.
“We're pleased to have a winning record, and we've had some really nice wins,” Reith said. “That said, there have been games like (against Upper St. Clair) where we've left points on the table. We'll be in situations like this again, and that's what we have to correct.”
Norwin's first game back after the break is an outdoor contest against Hempfield at the Penguins Pond, which this year is located in newly-opened Highmark Stadium at Station Square in Pittsburgh's South Side. Norwin faces the Spartans on Jan. 2 at 9 p.m.
Matt Grubba is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5830 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Home price gains slow for 6th-straight month
- Liriano, Pirates beat Giants, inch closer to lead in NL Central
- Starkey: Would one big move kill Pirates’ future?
- McKeesport police arrest teen on gun charges
- Steel Valley school board president seeks donation policy
- Pirates inquire about Red Sox LHP Lester
- Pleasant Hills council awards paving contract
- Dying trees removed from Ford City park
- Steelers offensive linemen looking to build on strong 2013 finish
- Big transportation wish list pitched to state commission
- PennDOT response fails to satisfy New Kensington’s safety concerns about Route 366