Thursday, February 24, 2011

Ex-Jack to drop puck in Muskegon Friday

Frank Pietrangelo
is thoroughly excited to be back in Muskegon.

The Niagara Falls, Ont., native was a goaltender for the Muskegon Lumberjacks from 1986 to 1990, and helped the team win a Turner Cup in 1989. Two years later, he hoisted Lord Stanley’s Cup with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

“It’s no coincidence that we won the Stanley Cup together,” Pietrangelo said. “A lot of the players – Mark Recchi, Kevin Stevens, and the list goes on – those were guys I played with in Muskegon.

“I’ve had nothing but great memories from Muskegon. Any time you win and have success, you’ll have fantastic memories. That’s where I went through a lot of development as a hockey player.”

Pietrangelo, 48, currently resides in Richmond Hill, Ont., and is the head coach of Hill Academy, one of the 10 AAA Midget Major teams taking part in the inaugural Muskegon Winter Showcase at the L.C. Walker Arena and Lakeshore Sports Centre this weekend. While it town, he’ll drop the ceremonial first puck for the Lumberjacks’ United States Hockey League game against the Dubuque Fighting Saints on Friday night.

“We’re looking forward to the whole weekend,” Pietrangelo said. “Any time you get 10 clubs like these together, it should be some great hockey. We’re very excited to see two USHL games and educate our guys about it. It’s a great hockey league with a lot of players bound for the NCAA and, someday, the NHL.”

Pietrangelo played in 99 games with the Lumberjacks in the now-defunct International Hockey League. He also played more than 140 games in the National Hockey League with the Pittsburgh Penguins and Hartford Whalers.

He is perhaps best known for his play during the 1991 Stanley Cup Playoffs in place of injured starting goaltender Tom Barrasso. In Game 6 of the opening round against the New Jersey Devils, Pietrangelo helped the Penguins stave off elimination with an improbable glove save against Peter Stastny. The play, which would become known simply as “The Save,” helped the Penguins win the game and the series – en route to hoisting the most prized cup in hockey.

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