By Matt Popchock
If the bad blood on and/or off the ice between the cities of Pittsburgh and Philadelphia hasn’t reached its boiling point already, the 26th annual America’s Showcase will serve as a nice prelude to Stanley Cup Playoff action between the Penguins and Flyers.
Team Pittsburgh will face off against Team Philadelphia in a pivotal round robin game shortly after 5:00 P.M. today. Team Philadelphia opened this tournament, which features the top high school hockey talent in the country, by routing Team Midwest 7-1 Wednesday night, but fell to Team New England-North, last year’s champion, in a 5-1 contest Thursday afternoon.
Consisting of some of the finest players in the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Hockey League, Team Pittsburgh played solid defense in front of West Allegheny All-Star and Penguins Cup champion goalie Jason Kumpfmiller in a 3-1 win over Team New England-North Wednesday, as Kumpfmiller’s teammate, Pat Coburn, supplied a game-deciding power play goal in the third period.
Those who strictly look at the scoreboard would probably have made Team Pittsburgh a favorite in Thursday’s “Pool A” contest, but in a that’s-why-they-play-the-game game, Team Midwest, a group consisting of players mostly from Iowa, played some gutsy defense of its own and got superb goaltending from Robbie Cordes to take a 3-2 victory.
This makes today’s turnpike tilt an important one in terms of deciding which team–if not both–will advance to Saturday’s elimination games.
Check out the video feed posted below to watch Pittsburgh face Philadelphia in the America’s Showcase live from the RMU Island Sports Center, courtesy of the PIHL Network and Rubino Productions.
(Follow the tournament on Twitter @AmericaShowcase.)
(Follow me on Twitter @mpopchock.)