PGH Hockey Summer Classic Recap
Murrysville Dek Hockey pulled off one of the biggest upsets of the year in defeating the Bridgeville Cyclones 5-4 to take home the $600 cash prize and the PGH Hockey Summer Classic championship, held at the Iceoplex at Southpointe in Canonsburg, PA.
The Cyclones were a last-minute addition to the tournament, as team captain Josh Smith pulled together a roster spotted with local standouts, including Ray Belback, Chris Tressler, Brett Mechtel, CJ Yurchak, and goalie Paul Yurchak. During Saturday's round robin games, the Cyclones looked invincible - winning their first game against the Mt. Washington Moose in mercy rule fashion, and then defeating eventual champion Murrysville 5-2.
The Bridgeville Rollerplex team looked to be a strong #2 seed coming out of round robin action, with a shut-down defense that featured George Ellek, Dave Kimmick, and goalie Chris Smida. Murrysville ended up with the #3 seed going into Sunday, with the short-handed Iceoplex and Mt. Washington teams rounding out the playoffs.
Iceoplex handled a hard-playing Mt. Washington team that was without their top 3 scorers to move into the semi-finals with strong goaltending and exceptional performances by Tom Anielewski, Brian Nelson, Jason Thomas, Josh Younger, Drew Stanton, and crew.
The first semi-final game pitted Bridgville Rollerplex against Murrysville in what proved to be one of the most competitive games of the tournament. Bridgeville jumped out to an early 1-0 lead, but soon saw that evaporate as the game was eventually tied 2-2. Up to that point, it was a very physical (but clean) game, highlighted by a full 2-minute battle in front of the net during a Bridgeville power play between Bridgevile's Mike Maderic and a combo of Murrysville's Molitierno and Chris White that left all 3 winded and battered. Strong skating, crisp passing, and intelligent play by standouts Molitierno, White and TJ Murrin led to a 4-2 lead for Murrysville late in the 3rd period. Despite giving up 4 goals to this point, Bridgeville goalie Chris Smida was turning away virtually everything that came near him. Smida was pulled with about 1:30 left to go, giving Bridgeville forwards Maderic, Jeff Martincic, young star Chris Horan, and Brandon Kurta plenty of scoring opportunity, but a costly turnover led to an empty-net goal, and Murrysville was on their way to the Finals.
The other semi-final game featured the heavily-favored Cyclones taking on a depleted Iceoplex roster that fell victim to a death in the family of 2 players, and a couple of unfortunate no-shows. Despite all the adversity, the Iceoplex brought everything they had, but couldn't keep up with Josh Smith's physical play and booming slapshot, Brett Mechtel, Chris Busch & Dan Sloan's two-way play, and Paul Yurchak's goaltending show.
The finals were set, with heavy underdog Murrysville catching a break as the tournament schedule was already running behind, and on a time constraint the Cyclones had to play back-to-back games with a short break between. The game was a back-and-forth battle, with each team grabbing 1-by-1 goals to get the score tied at 2-2 heading into the 3rd. CJ Yurchak took a costly 10-minute misconduct penalty out of frustration which seemed to swing the momentum in favor of Murrysville, who scored 3 relatively quick goals to jump out to a 5-2 lead with only a few minutes remaining. The Cyclones were just too talented and too experienced to lie down and take it at that point, as Belback and Tressler scored within a minute of each other, bringing an air of a comeback to the rink. But, it was short-lived, as Murrin and Molitierno controlled the play and killed off the rest of the game to give Murrysville a 5-4 victory.
MVP: Chris White (Murrysville)
MVD: Paul Stanton (Cyclones)
MVG: Mike McClure (Murrysville)
F: Chris Tressler (Cyclones)
F: TJ Murrin (Murrysville)
F: Tom Anielewski (Iceoplex)
D: Ray Belback (Cyclones)
D: Dave Molitierno (Murrysville)
D: George Ellek (Bridgeville Rollerplex)
G: Paul Yurchak (Cyclones)
A big thank-you to all those who attended the tournament, and look for our next tournament coming this Fall!
Bridgeville Rollerplex/Iceoplex at Southpointe
"That big ref with the glasses that can barely skate"