Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Formula Targets League Parity as Teams Relocate in Pihl

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Formula Targets League Parity as Teams Relocate in Pihl

Article excerpt

Without a skate touching the ice or a puck being dropped, the PIHL already has determined that two of its three 2015 Penguins Cup champions won't be able to defend their titles.

Before last season, the league radically altered its format for determining team placement throughout its three classifications in an effort to maintain competitive balance throughout. Instead of using only a school's male enrollment, as is done in the PIAA and WPIAL, the PIHL used a formula that combined classification and winning percentage over a three-year span.

Using that formula, the PIHL has moved defending Class AA state champion Erie Cathedral Prep up a level to Class AAA, while reigning Class A Penguins Cup winner Mars Area has vaulted up to Class AA. Shaler Area - which went into the Class AA playoffs as the No. 2 seed, finished the regular season 16-3-0 and was eliminated by Armstrong in the semifinals - also moved up to Class AAA for the upcoming season.

"We kind of suspected this the way we went last year in getting 18 wins [including the playoffs] and I know there are people that will contest it, but I want to see my players play at a higher level and against the best competition," Shaler coach Tim Bosack said. "I've coached at the Triple-A division before and I know you definitely need three lines because the kids in Class AA, you can get away with having two good lines and substituting in one or two guys and not have a third line."

By adding Cathedral Prep and Shaler to Class AAA, the PIHL formula dropped Mt. Lebanon (8-13-1), which missed the playoffs by one point, and Penn-Trafford (3-18-1), a Penguins Cup semifinalist in 2014, down to Class AA. State College Area (2-20-0), which was the No. 9 team in the formula, dropped out of the league for the upcoming season, which means there will only be 11 teams and eight make the playoffs.

Each team will also play only 20 games rather than the pre- planned 22.

"I would say that, even though State College dropped off, there was a pretty distinct line there," PIHL commissioner Jim Black said. …

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