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Pine-Richland hockey moves past Cathedral Prep

| Wednesday, March 13, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
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Louis Raggiunti | Pine Creek Journal Tyler Mikita scored the game winning goal for the Pine-Richland Rams, who advance to the PIHL semifinals.

Pine-Richland knew it would be in for a physical hockey game against Cathedral Prep, but it also knew that it could take advantage of an undisciplined opponent.

“We knew coming in that they take a lot of penalties,” Rams coach Mike Bagnato said.

Pine-Richland spent more than 20 minutes of the game with at least a one-man advantage and nearly two minutes with a two-man advantage, which aided the Rams' 6-2 win in the PIHL Penguins Cup first round.

“I thought we moved the puck really well, but we didn't score as much as we would like (on the power play),” Bagnato said.

The Rams finally scored on their fourth power play when Dillon Kessy chipped in a rebound to tie the game, 2-2, in the second period.

“I went in deep, somebody shot and I got the rebound,” Kessy said.

Kessy assisted Tyler Mikita's game-winning goal later in the second period with a two-man advantage.

“I usually play the point on power play, and I just got a low, hard shot and got a good deflection (from Mikita),” Kessy said.

While Mikita's goal put the Rams ahead, 3-2, it was a stunning short-handed goal from Ryan Cole that put Prep away.

“The turning point was Cole's shorthanded goal we got with two seconds left in the second period,” Bagnato said. “That deflates any kind of team. I had a hunch sending Cole and (Zach) Richey out there with 14 seconds left, and they came through.”

Prep won a neutral-zone faceoff, but Cole and Richey pressured Prep's defense into mishandling the puck at center ice. Cole took possession near the blue line and wristed a shot with time winding down.

The Rams scored two more goals in the third period while allowing Prep four shots on goal.

“We've been getting a whole lot of effort from all of our guys,” Bagnato said. “Our forwards are really taking ownership of coming back into the zone. If your forwards are coming back into the zone, that allows your defensemen to make a play.”

Pine-Richland's six goals came from six players.

“That's been a huge to our success this year,” Kessy said. “Everyone on this team can score.”

Pine-Richland will play Bishop Canevin in the Penguins Cup quarterfinals, a rematch from last year's quarterfinal matchup the Rams won, 5-1.

Shawn Annarelli is a freelance writer.

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