Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Rams Find March Madness on Ice

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Rams Find March Madness on Ice

Article excerpt

Last night at Bladerunners in Harmarville, Pine-Richland's hockey team attempted to shake the ghosts of Rams past.

For the past dozen seasons the program has been on of the area's finest, and five times from 1997-2001 the Rams were three games away from winning a state championship, just as they were when they took on Indiana (17-3-2) yesterday.

And five times, Pine-Richland failed to take home so much as the Penguin Cup, given to the area's top hockey team in every classification.

Add to the mix that in 2002 and 2004 the Indians who knocked the Rams out of the Class AA playoffs and there was some additional motivation.

"The kids are aware of it but they are high school kids. They're too young to let that upset them," said coach Jimmy Black. "The subject has come up in the locker room, however. The kids brought it up that it has been Indiana who has stopped them."

What the Rams (19-5) were banking on last night was that their outstanding quartet of defensemen, Steven Adams, freshman Evan Goetz, Joseph Christman, and Brendan Conlon, could handle Cory Mills' coming out of a zone.

They've done it before, holding the 39-goal scorer without a point in a 4-1 win over the Tribe on Feb. 16. And led by a few outstanding saves by senior goalie Tommy Zajac last Thursday, the blue liners held Thomas Jefferson to just 14 shots on goal in a 3- 2, come-from-behind win.

The Rams overcame a sluggish start this season, losing their opener to lowly Ambridge, 6-3, coached by former Pine-Richland coach George Reed, and even a 4-1 contest to Indiana in which Mills had a hat trick.

But as the defense jelled, so did Pine-Richland, and they've since knocked off 10 different playoff participants, including a 4- 3 overtime contest Feb. 24 against fellow PIHL semifinals participant Peters Township. Forwards Phillip Trombetta, team captain Josh Fodor, Thomas DiDonato and Conlon all netted goals. …

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