Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Peters Seeking 4th 'Cup' in a Row

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Peters Seeking 4th 'Cup' in a Row

Article excerpt

When the Peters Township Indians take on the Pine-Richland Rams tonight for the PIHL Class AA championship, it will mark the end of an era.

The question is: End of what era?

The Rams (20-5) have long been one of the elite high school hockey programs in the area. This will be their third trip to the Penguin Cup final since 1997, but they have never won it, a situation that really doesn't concern Rams coach Jimmy Black.

"The more hurdles we face, the more this team believes they can win this," he said.

Meanwhile, Peters Township (17-8) is trying to win the Penguin Cup for the fourth consecutive year. Yet even if the Indians do, their longtime coach, Mark Cooper, will be leaving at the end of the season.

Cooper made this stunning announcement after his team beat top- seeded Canon-McMillan, 6-4, last Tuesday at Harmarville to advance to the championship final.

In the game, the Big Macs raced to a 4-1 lead midway through the second period against Indians goalie Justin Muhramas, who started in net because all-star Rob Madore would be a few minutes late to Blade Runners with an amateur commitment to the Pittsburgh Hornets.

But Canon-Mac coach Dave Fryer issued a concern over the eligibility status of Madore, who takes classes at home on a computer based on the Peters Township curriculum. Fryer also questioned the academic eligibility of defenseman Mike Bucci, who had not played since Jan. 14.

So when Madore arrived just prior to game time, he was informed he could not play. Cooper spent the entire first period on the bench trying to get a clarification of what was going on.

Paperwork was faxed to the PIHL by Peters Township school superintendent Diane Kirk during the game stating Madore was eligible to play.

Cooper then inserted his sophomore goalie into the lineup -- the same guy he rode to the Penguin Cup last year -- with 5:58 left in the second period and Peters trailing, 4-1. The result was similar to giving spinach to Popeye.

Suddenly, with Madore in net Peters quit playing tentatively and began to take chances. The Indians invaded Canon-McMillan's zone with great regularity and kept the puck there, limiting the Big Macs to just eight shots on goal for the rest of the game. …

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