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Rejuvenated P-R team knocks SV out of hockey playoffs

Too much momentum

WARRENDALE — Pine-Richland’s hockey team is enjoying a rebirth, a second season to its 2022-23 campaign.

The first one ended with a 4-1 loss to Seneca Valley Nov. 28, a result that dropped the Rams to 2-7-1. Then the team closed the regular season with nine victories in 10 contests and despite an 11-day layoff prior to their PIHL Class 3A postseason opener against the Raiders, the Rams’ roll continued Monday night.

Seneca Valley's Jaxson Read (14) takes a shot on net late in the 3rd period of their 2-1 loss to Pine-Richland in their PIHL playoff game at Baierl Ice Complex on Monday night. Shane Potter/Butler Eagle 3/6/23

Earning a 2-0 lead less than 19 minutes into the game, Pine-Richland held off SV in a 2-1 decision at Baierl Ice Complex.

“It’s not how you start, but how you finish,” said Raiders’ coach Anthony Raco, whose team was one of P-R’s victims during a nine-game winning streak from early December to mid-February. “Jordan (Yoklic, P-R coach) and his staff are bringing out the best in their players. You never quit on the season. Get to the playoffs and anything can happen.”

Seneca Valley defenseman Braden Hundertmark (18) skates the puck up ice against Pine-Richland’s Brady Wilson in Monday’s PIHL Class 3A playoff game at Baierl Ice Complex. SV’s season came to an end with a 2-1 defeat to the Rams. Shane Potter/Butler Eagle

What happened early in Monday’s playoff game was complete domination by the Rams. Over the first 19 minutes of play, they outshot the Raiders 18-1, a barrage that included goals from Ryan Peacock on a power play late in the first period before his brother, Shawn Peacock, scored an even-strength goal 1:27 into the second against goalie Jonathan Nichols.

“We were prepared,” Yoklic. “We knew the plan and executed it. We battled for the 50/50 pucks and won most of them. The guys in that locker room are like brothers and they’re willing to do anything for each other.”

Part of the Raiders’ early frustration was a failed power play with the game scoreless in the opening period. They were not able to put a shot on net during the advantage. Ryan Peacock’s ice-breaker came minutes later in the waning seconds of a power play for the Rams (12-8-1).

Seneca Valley's Jaxson Read celebrates a second-period goal in Monday’s PIHL Class 3A playoff game against Pine-Richland. It was SV’s lone goal in a 2-1 loss. Shane Potter/Butler Eagle

“They were being relentless on the puck and defensively, it was all about pressure, pressure, pressure,” Raco said of the Rams. “We were being too selective with our shots instead of just putting the puck on the net.”

SV’s second shot on goal, off the stick of Jaxson Read with 13:10 remaining in the second period, beat Daniel Mooney to cut P-R’s lead to 2-1. But the latter stopped the final 18 shots he faced, three of them coming with the Raiders on their final power play of the game following a roughing penalty on Jordan Spear with 5:08 left.

Nichols stopped 23 shots for the Raiders, who finish the season with a 14-6-1 record.

“I think it was a great season,” said Raco. “We have a young team with just four seniors. We got a lot of leadership out of our captains and it didn’t take the young guys a long time to fit in.”

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