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Pietrangelo name evokes vivid memories

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By Tricia Lafferty
Sunday, Nov. 2, 2008

St. LOUIS -- A name from Pittsburgh's sports past resurfaced Saturday night when the Penguins played the St. Louis Blues.

Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo's last name most likely rings a bell for hockey fans, particularly those in Pittsburgh.

His third cousin is Frank Pietrangelo, a former Penguins goaltender, who spent about a decade in the NHL.

Perhaps Frank Pietrangelo is best known for what has been pegged "The Save." He made a famous stop in Game 6 of the Penguins' series against the New Jersey Devils in the 1991 Stanley Cup playoffs.

Alex Pietrangelo, the fourth overall pick of the 2008 draft, is used to the question he's asked when people hear his last name.

"A lot of people know Frank," Alex Pietrangelo said. "He won the Stanley Cup. He was in the league for a while. People know who he is, so I get asked quite a bit if I'm related to him and how I'm related to him."

Although Alex Pietrangelo was only a year old when his cousin made his most remembered save, he's very familiar with the play.

"I've seen it a bunch of times," the younger Pietrangelo said. "I was a young toddler, very young at the time. I've watched it on YouTube. It's always on YouTube."

Frank Pietrangelo's big moment came in 1991 with the Penguins trailing New Jersey in the series, 3-2. With the Penguins facing elimination, Pietrangelo filled in for an injured Tom Barrasso. The Penguins were protecting a lead when Pietrangelo dove to his left to make a dramatic glove save against the Devils' Peter Stastny, who was shooting toward an open net. "The Save" helped the Penguins to a 4-3 win and forced a seventh game. Pietrangelo then shut out the Devils, 4-0, in the finale, and the Penguins eventually won their first Stanley Cup.

Now, Alex Pietrangelo is trying to make a name for himself, although he has played in just four games this season. He has missed six games because of injuries.

Pietrangelo returned to the ice last night. Although he grew up a Toronto Maple Leafs fan, he always kept tabs on the Penguins. He's often reminded of his cousin's accomplishments during family gatherings when he glances at Frank Pietrangelo's championship ring.

"I look at it all the time," Alex Pietrangelo said. "I haven't tried it on. He doesn't take it off."

Although the cousins have allegiances to different teams, by the time Blues practice ended Saturday morning, they didn't have any wagers on the game. That might have changed, though.

"Maybe I'll call him after and do that," Alex Pietrangelo said after the pregame skate. "That's a good idea."

Frank Pietrangelo coaches the Mississauga Rep Bantam Triple-A team. He also offers advice to his younger cousin.

"He just tells me to have fun with it," Alex Pietrangelo said. "Enjoy playing in the NHL. There's nothing really to it. Go there, do what you can and enjoy the process. There's nothing better in life than to go through what I'm going through."

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