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Hampton's run at the Penguins Cup falls short

| Wednesday, March 13, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Pine Creek
Photos Louis Raggiunti | Pine Creek Journal Zach Kossick is congratulated by linemante Ethan Homitz after scoring one of his three goals in a playoff win over Gateway.
Pine Creek
Hampton's Joe Vita scored a goal in the Talbots win.

It's not easy to get to the PHIL Penguins Cup playoffs, let alone win once you get in.

The Hampton Talbots' hockey squad got off to a fast start to the season, but a brutal second-half schedule left the team battling up until the final game against Moon. Coach Anthony Scolari wanted to avoid a play-in game and really wanted a top-six seed. Scolari and the Talbots tied with Moon, thus avoiding the play-in, and hosted Gateway in the first round.

Hampton won the game, 4-3, thanks to an early goal from senior Joe Vita and a hat trick from Zach Kosick, which proved to be the difference.

“It was a bumpy road, and we dropped a couple games to some really good teams,” Scolari said. “The tie against Moon prevented us from getting the sixth seed, but we got the eighth seed and a tough opponent — Gateway.”

Hampton beat Gateway twice already this season. A 12-2 decision in the first meeting, came before the Talbots' rally for a 7-3 win in the second meeting. Scolari knew the third time was not going to be easy, and he was right. However, he had firepower on his side.

“Zach is a phenomenal offensive weapon; he is mister clutch,” Scolari said. “Especially teaming him up with Eric Leya and Ethan Homitz. They work a two-man game as well as any. Ethan is very instrumental, and Eric gives a nice defensive look and is a good third man high.

“Joe has his own line this year, and he has been phenomenal. He gets us timely goals and had some scores against Latrobe.”

Scolieri was quick to point out there are several contributors in addition to the aforementioned, and they all added up to the playoff win.

“Any playoff win is a good one,” he said. “Everyone is battling for their season, and every game is a fight.”

Vita's success against Latrobe proved to be important, as that is the team the Talbots faced in Round 2.

Hampton fell to Latrobe 2-0 in the Penguins Cup quarterfinals.

Jerry Clark is a sports editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-779-6979 or jeclark@tribweb.com.

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