Pens and Spartans squared off in a two-game weekend set that did not disappoint.
When two of the top ’04 teams in the world take the ice, you expect to see a great game. Youth hockey fans were spoiled this weekend though, when the No. 2-ranked Pittsburgh Penguins Elite hosted the No. 16-ranked Seacoast Spartans in a two-game series that absolutely delivered on big plays, exciting moments and nail-biting drama.
Three times, a team took the lead in Game 1, and three times, the opponent tied it back up. Spartans got out to a 1-0 lead, which the Pens responded by matching and passing with a 2-1 lead of their own. Billy Sancibrian made it an even game again with Seacoast’s second goal of the game, 2-2 early in the second period. One more time, Pittsburgh would take the lead by way of an absolute bomb from Penn State commit Matthew DiMarsico. And, one more time, the Spartans knotted it up again.
With under five minutes to play in regulation, PPE would finally find the strike that put the Spartans away, when DiMarsico struck for the second time in the game, a 4-3 final for the heavily favored home team.
In the rematch on Sunday morning, it’d be a much more defensive struggle than Game 1. Deep into the third period, the Pens maintained just a 1-0 lead. Then, with 1:27 left in regulation, the pesky Spartans pulled even for the fourth time over the weekend when Paul Tollet jumped on a loose puck in front to tie the game a 1-1. In the final moments and the clock ticking down, Kyle Smyth scored his 10th goal of the season with a wrist shot past Jeffrey Kreidler. The tally capped off an improbable comeback with just 11 ticks remaining on the clock, as the Spartans upset the top-ranked Penguins.
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