The Pittsburgh Vengeance traveled to Toledo last Friday trying to get ready for the playoffs as they already locked up a second place finish in the East Division. The Cherokee and Vengeance played a scoreless first period with the Cherokee outshooting Pittsburgh 12-10. The second period would see the Cherokee jump out to a 2-0 lead and outshoot Pittsburgh 15-10. Brian Dee would score from Austin Martz and Gavin Cummings on the power play to cut the deficit to 2-1. The score would remain 2-1 until the late in the third period when with the goalie pulled for Pittsburgh Spencer Smith would score from Reid Miller and Anthony Szurlej to tie the game up at 2-2. The game would go overtime where the Cherokee would score on a penalty shot to secure a 3-2 victory. Joel De Simone would stop 35 out of 38 in the net for Pittsburgh in defeat. “Our goalie was great but the puck and game management were not,” said Coach Dorsey. “We played a really good third period but couldn’t carry it in to overtime,” added Dorsey.
Pittsburgh would come out on Saturday night looking to rebound after a tough overtime loss on Friday. Pittsburgh would score early on a Thomas Polster goal assisted by Nick Lyon and Ryan Loebig and they score would remain that way after one period of play. Toledo would come out flying in the second period and take a 2-1 lead before Nick Lyon would score on the power play from Brian Dee and Austin Martz to tie it at 2-2 after two periods of play. Pittsburgh would take several undisciplined penalties which would lead to Toledo scoring three consecutive power play goals to take a 5-2 lead. Gavin Cummings would add a short handed goal to make it 5-3 with assists going to James Unger and Brian Dee. The Cherokee would strike back with a goal to make it 6-3 before Martz would add a late power play goal with assists going to Lyon and Cummings for a 6-4 Toledo victory. Nick Manousos would stop 23 out of 29 in the net for Pittsburgh to take the loss. “Our penalty kill was awful and we had nowhere the discipline needed to win on the road today,” said Coach Dorsey.
Pittsburgh would host the West Michigan Wolves in the final two games of the year at Alpha Ice Complex. It would be the final two regular season games for 96 born Gavin Cummings and Brian Dee. “It is important that we play well to get ready for the playoffs and it would be nice to get a couple of wins for Dee and Cummings in their final regular season games,” said Coach Dorsey. Pittsburgh would jump out to a 1-0 lead in the first on a Dom Glavach power play goal with assist going to James Unger and Kenny White. The game would remain 1-0 until the second period when the Wolves would score the only goal of the period to tie it up at 1-1. West Michigan would jump out to a 3-21 lead early in the third period before Austin Martz would score on a unassisted breakaway to cut the deficit to 3-2. Glavach would tie it at 3-3 a few minutes later with an assist going to Ben Oslick. Glavach would complete the hat trick by scoring the game winner to make it 4-3 Vengeance with Oslick and Cummings adding assists on the goal. Joel De Simone would stop 15 out of 18 in the net for the victory. “We played better but still need to get harder to play against in front of their net and our own goal,” said Coach Dorsey.
Pittsburgh would face off versus West Michigan Sunday in the final regular season game of the year. Austin Martz would open the scoring midway thru the first period of play with assists going to Thomas Polster and Nick Lyon. The Wolves would strike back to tie it at 1-1 before Reid Miller would score on the power play to give Pittsburgh a 2-1 lead after one period of play with an assist going to Martz. Martz would score on a penalty shot to put Pittsburgh up 3-1 going to the third period. Martz would complete the hat trick and give Pittsburgh a 4-1 lead with assists going to Polster and Lyon. The Wolves would add a late power play goal to make it a 4-2 final in favor of the Vengeance. Jacob Zab would stop 39 out of 41 shots in net for Pittsburgh for the victory. “Zab was outstanding in net today for us and really has worked hard to get his game where its at right now,” said Coach Dorsey.
Pittsburgh finished the season with a 28-16-3 record which was good for second place in the East Division. The will host the Toledo Cherokee on Friday night at 7:30 pm at the Alpha Ice Complex and travel to Toledo on Saturday night for game two at 7 pm. The third game, if necessary will be played at Alpha Ice Complex on Sunday at 4:30 pm. “We came a long way after losing the first five games of the season but in the playoffs everybody has a clean slate,” said Coach Dorsey