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Alle-Kiski Valley playoff hockey preview capsules

| Wednesday, March 6, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
Freeport's #04 John Bird crashes into Kittanning's #88 Austin Choncek during the hockey game at Belmont Sports Complex in Kittanning on Thursday February 14, 2013. Erica Hilliard | Valley News Dispatch
Plum's Thomas Kelsesky (18) is defended by North Hills' Brendan Shevchik during a PIHL Class AA Penguins Cup playoff game Monday night at Valley Sports Complex in New Kensington on Monday, March 4, 2013. Erica Hilliard | Valley News Dispatch
Valley News Dispatch
Deer Lakes defenseman Lucas Gapsky (left) slows down a teammate going to the net during practice at the Ice Connection in Valencia on Sunday February 23, 2013 Bill Shirley | For The Valley News Dispatch

PIHL Penguins Cup playoff preview capsules

Class AA


No. 8 seed Plum (9-10-1) vs. No. 1 Bishop Canevin (16-1-2)

7:10 p.m. Wednesday at Mt. Lebanon Ice Arena

Notables: Plum rolled past No. 9 North Hills, 6-3, in the first round at Valley Sports Complex. Taylor Cestra made 45 saves, and David Stonebraker and Joe Randazzo notched two goals apiece. Freshman Zach Nolan also found the net in his first varsity playoff game. Andrew Walters leads the Mustangs with 52 points (26 goals, 26 assists), and Randazzo has 43. ... Bishop Canevin has a high-powered offense that has produced five or more goals 10 times, including in a 7-0 win over Plum on Nov. 1. Forward Patrick Large has 21 goals, including eight on the power play, and 22 assists. Goalie Nikita Meskin is 9-1-1 with a 1.80 goals-against average.

Class A


No. 6 Kittanning (13-8-1) vs. No. 3 Freeport (16-5-1)

6:15 p.m. Thursday at Belmont Ice Complex

Notables: Kittanning has one of the top scoring tandems, and goalkeepers, in Class A. Christian Miller and Hunter Grafton have combined for 163 points. Miller has 45 goals and 37 assists, while Grafton has tallied 38 scores and 43 helpers. Goalie Cameron Langham is 12-5-1 and averages 18.3 saves per game. Kittanning is 0-1-1 against Freeport this season. The Wildcats weren't exactly crisp in the second meeting and managed just 16 shots on goal. ... Freeport's 5-3 win over Kittanning late in the season was the first for the Yellowjackets against the Wildcats since 2009. Cole Hepler tallied two goals and three assists in the win. He leads the team with 38 points, with Greg Newman (35) and Mike Frazetta (30) close behind. Home-ice advantage will be thrown out in this game since Belmont is home for both teams.

Class A


No. 8 Deer Lakes (9-13-1) vs. No. 1 Quaker Valley (20-0)

8:30 p.m. Thursday at Airport Ice Arena

Notables: Deer Lakes returned from a one-year hiatus to make a playoff push, and the Lancers wasted no time making their presence felt, posting an 8-1 win over South Fayette in the first round. Mitchell Rupprecht, who came back from a broken hand suffered early in the season, scored four goals, and Zach Luniewski and Tim Lisowski had two apiece in the win. Lisowski has a team-high 26 goals, and Luniewski has 25. ... Quaker Valley, the prohibitive favorite to win Class A, averages 8.6 goals per game. The Quakers beat Deer Lakes twice this season, by scores of 9-1 and 8-1. Connor Quinn had two goals and two assists in the first meeting, and three goals in the second. Adam Pilewicz had a four-goal game against the Lancers.

—Bill Beckner Jr.

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