Share This Page

Penn-Trafford's Graffius scores goal in overtime to win PIHL All-Star Game

| Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014, 9:00 p.m.
Lillian DeDomenic | For The Penn-Trafford Star
Penn-Trafford forward Jonah Graffius moves through the Shaler defense during a game Nov. 22, 2013, at Center Ice Arena.
Lillian DeDomenic | For the Norwin Star
Norwin defenseman Eli Reith looks to pick up the puck during a game against Penn-Trafford on Jan. 10, 2014, at Center Ice Arena.

A season's worth of chemistry finally paid off for Jonah Graffius and Jake Miller late in the PIHL All-Star Game on Sunday.

The Penn-Trafford senior forwards, who skate on the same line for the Warriors, teamed up for a goal 20 seconds into overtime to give the Northeast Conference All-Star Team a 3-2 victory over its counterparts from the Southwest Conference. Graffius scored the goal, with Miller picking up the only assist.

“(The chemistry) was huge,” Graffius said. “I think you saw it on the last play. He knew exactly where I was going to be, and I knew exactly where he was going to put the puck. I knew coming into the game it would be a major factor because he's a great player. I know his tendencies, and I was really looking forward to it.”

The Norwin and Penn-Trafford players who competed for the Northeast Conference on Sunday said they enjoyed their experience. Aside from Graffius and Miller, goalie Eric Phelps and defenseman Andy Power represented Penn-Trafford. Defenseman Eli Reith and forwards Tim Palmer and Dante Youhon represented Norwin.

“It was a great experience,” Youhon said. “It was a good opportunity to play with all the best players around the league. It was a lot of fun to get out there and show what we have.”

Northeast Conference coach Mike Guentner took advantage of several of his players' familiarity with each other. In addition to Graffius and Miller, Palmer and Youhon skated together on a line during the game, while Reith and Power were paired together defensively.

“I've known Andy for a long time,” Reith said. “We've played together before, so I kind of know him and know how he plays. It wasn't that hard transitioning, but it was kind of fun playing with him again.”

“You go against (these players) during the regular season, and it's tough,” Power said. “It's nice to be able to play with them. They're right on your skill level, so it makes it easier to adjust. It was fun.”

The game was scoreless for two periods. Phelps started in goal for the Northeast team and made 10 saves during the first period.

“Coming into the game, I knew I was going to get the start,” Phelps said. “I felt confident about myself playing (and) shut them out. I gave our team a chance, kept them in there, tied 0-0 after the first. I thought we had the chance.”

The second period saw more of the same, as goalies Zach Davis (Southwest) and Chad Veltri (Northeast) kept the game scoreless by making key saves.

“They have three of the best goalies in the league, so it was tough to score on them,” Palmer said. “But we put three in, so I guess that's pretty good.”

Jesse Yeckel of Pittsburgh Central Catholic put the Northeast team on the board 1:23 into the third period, and Anthony Veltri of Fox Chapel gave the team a 2-0 lead at 4:28. But Southwest tied the game up with goals at 6:31 and 12:29, paving the way for Graffius' winning goal.

“It was more exciting than some of those high-scoring games,” Graffius said. “When you were down in the defensive zone, you knew you had to get a stick on your guy or you needed to make a play to get it out of the zone. You knew any goal could be the backbreaker or could really hurt you.”

Doug Gulasy is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at 412-388-5830, via email at dgulasy@tribweb.com or via Twitter @dgulasy_Trib.

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.