It was an emotional evening. The Ice Castle was packed with fans for the Great American Rivalry Series game sponsored by the United States Air Force. MSA Sports was on hand for the simulcast. The Upper St. Clair guys, sticks freshly taped in red, dedicated the game to their captain, James Kline, and his family in the hopes that his mother Eileen recovers quickly and completely from a heart attack in which James saved her life. The Panthers were facing their nemesis–the Blue Devils of Mt. Lebanon in a critical section contest.
Just before face-off, the scholar athlete awards were presented to two deserving young men from each school. From Upper St. Clair, Zach Feldman was joined on the ice by his family and from Mt. Lebanon, Doug Patrick accepted his award beside his mother.
Shen the puck dropped to open the game, CJ Murray drew the face-off back to defenseman Mitchell Lewis. Lewis rifled a blast around the near boards that hugged the rim destined for the waiting Blue Devil goalie behind the net. The puck deflected awkwardly off the Zamboni door directly to a charging Justin Selep who buried the puck into the vacated net. Eight seconds in the Panthers were ahead 1-0. The Panthers padded the lead when Steve Gielarowski beat Lebo’s goalie top shelf off an assist from winger, Mike Sweeney. At the end of one, the Panthers of USC were feeling pretty good about their performance.
The second period offered no goals for either team, but Mt. Lebanon began to tilt the ice in their favor and it was only a matter of time before they would put one past Matt Wregget, son of 1992 Stanley Cup Champion goalie, Ken Wregget, who played for the Pittsburgh Penguins. Just like after the first period, the second intermission had its own entertainment when the United States Air Force began to pass out shirts and other promotional items. In the third period, the 2-0 margin remained intact until a mere 35 seconds were left when Mt. Lebo, with its’ goalie pulled, ruined the shutout. The last 35 seconds of the game were incredibly exciting and Upper St. Clair prevailed in a classic.
After the game was finished and the handshakes ended, the Great American Rivalry Series Championship Cup was presented to the Panthers of Upper St. Clair. The guys got into the famous hockey pose and smiled for the cameras as they enjoyed their victory and remembered their friend and leader that could not join them that evening.
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- HOCKEY: Upper St. Clair vs. Lebanon – 2010