Quaker Valley players shine in annual PIHL all-star contest
Players from Quaker Valley and Mars teamed up Sunday for the PIHL Class A All-Star Game at Robert Morris' Island Sports Center.
But the teams' rivalry didn't go anywhere — especially when Mars players scored the first three goals of the game for the Southwest team.
“They were giving me some stuff on the bench — like ‘Mars 3, QV 0,' ” Quaker Valley sophomore Adam Pilewicz said. “So I had to kind of pick it up a little.”
Instead, Pilewicz picked it up a lot. The Quakers' leading scorer tallied a hat trick, providing the winning margin as the Southwest All-Stars beat the Northeast All-Stars, 7-4.
“I wasn't expecting that (hat trick),” Pilewicz said. “That was a bonus, so it's cool.”
Five players represented Quaker Valley in the annual all-star event. Pilewicz, junior Alex Quinn and seniors Jonathan Pijar and Stephen Wei made their all-star debuts, while senior Ryan Dickson participated in the game for the second straight year.
For a few shifts during that second period, all five Quakers were on the ice at the same time — Dickson and Pilewicz at forward, Quinn and Wei on defense and Pijar in goal.
“That was cool,” Wei said. “Mars had a full line, and we got to get basically our whole team out there. There was one South Park kid (Bill Walker) out there with us, but that was nice that we got to play out there together in the all-star game.”
Southwest coach Brandon Tingle, the coach of South Park, took advantage of the Quaker Valley players' familiarity by putting them together.
While Dickson and Pilewicz don't typically play on the same line for the Quakers, they do skate together during power plays. And while Quinn and Wei have other defensive partners normally, their familiarity allowed them to start the game together on defense and play as a pair throughout the game.
The work of Dickson and Pilewicz led directly to the Southwest team's fourth and fifth goals in the second period. After the Northeast team scored to cut the lead to 3-2, Dickson took a pass at the blue line and dished it to Pilewicz, who broke in on goaltender Matt Huston and scored.
After another Northeast goal, Dickson worked down toward the net and passed it to Pilewicz at the far post for another score.
Pilewicz finished the hat trick in the third period, ending a long shift by firing a slapshot past goaltender William Potter.
“(The familiarity) definitely helped us,” Dickson said. “We clicked, and we could just pass to each other without looking. It was just the whole chemistry thing.”
Pijar yielded two goals — both on the power play — in the second period. He'd given up two goals in a game just once this season.
Still, the senior also made some sparkling saves and left the game with the Southwest team leading 5-3.
“It was really cool, actually,” Pijar said. “It was intense, it was fast-moving, it was just like when I was a freshman. It was a lot of fun.”
Dickson said the game had more hitting than the 2012 All-Star Game, which the Northeast team won, 6-5. The senior had a couple of missed opportunities in this one, getting robbed twice on the same shift by Digiacobbe before Pilewicz scored his third goal.
“I was joking and saying all I needed to do was shoot it in his glove, and then I'll have a hat trick,” Dickson said.
The down moments — Dickson's missed shots, Pijar's two goals allowed and Quinn and Wei being on the ice together for the Northeast team's first goal — didn't seem to bother the Quaker Valley players after the game.
“It was definitely an experience,” Quinn said. “It was different than a normal game — it was a lot less pressure, just fun.”
Doug Gulasy is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at email@example.com.