You knew Ken Casey would go there at some point.
"Just wanted to mention that we won the World Series!," the singer gloated to the sold-out crowd at Stage AE, before tossing in. "Did I mention that we despise the Penguins?!"
It's a Matt Cooke/Marc Savard thing that the Dropkick Murphys founder and singer, sporting a Bruins jersey, will never get over. It prompted a round of boos and a "Let's Go Pens!" chant, and then it was right back into the good spirit of the music.
If we didn't love the Dropkick Murphys, we'd probably hate them.
The Boston band has a second home here, having played Pittsburgh over a dozen times in its 18-year career, and it gave fans a little extra on Saturday night on its St. Patrick's Day tour.
Although the Murphys came with last year's still fresh "Signed and Sealed in Blood," it was a "Do or Die" kind of night with the boys from Boston reaching back to their hard-knuckled debut for no less than nine songs, including both "Finnegan's Wake" and "(F)lannigan's Ball."
Casey and Al Barr traded off raw, growling vocals and led the crowd in barroom sing-alongs while the band roared with that old punk rock vigor. This, by the way, was the first time I remember seeing the Murphys with a screen projecting images rather than just a plain backdrop. Add some flashier lighting and you got a slicker, more professional presentation, for better or worse.
They did four songs from the new album, "Signed and Sealed in Blood," including opener "The Boys Are Back" and "Rose Tattoo," a sing-along that is already greeted like an old classic.
Although you want the show to last, at a Dropkick Murphys gig you look forward to the finish line a little more than usual. After revving up with "I'm Shipping Up to Boston," the band did its classic-rock thing by closing the set with a hearty "Takin' Care of Business," capped with "We're an American Band" and the hey-ho's of "Blitzkrieg Bop."
The girls already knew they had an open invitation on stage for "Kiss Me, I'm S---faced," sung by Casey with boozy swagger. The band was overrun with fans for a particularly wild encore set that rolled on with "Skinhead on the MBTA," AC/DC's "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap" and the punkest song of the night, "Citizen C.I.A."
Judging by recent set lists, this had to be one of the better climaxes on the tour, which goes to show that the musical bond is stronger than the sports rivalry.
The Murphys got solid support from Skinny Lister, the kind of British folk band that can play Warped Tour, and Lucero, a Southern-fried heartland band from Memphis led by rugged singer Ben Nichols.
The Set List
The Boys Are Back
Black Velvet Band
Famous for Nothing
The Warrior's Code
Far Away Coast
Which Side Are You On?
3rd Man In
Jimmy Collins' Wake
Deeds Not Words
Caught in a Jar
Fields of Athenry
Boys on the Docks
Out of Our Heads
I'm Shipping Up to Boston
Takin' Care of Business/We're an American Band/Blitzkrieg Bop tease
Kiss Me, I'm Shitfaced
Skinhead on the MBTA
Dirty Deeds (Done Dirt Cheap)
-Sidney Crosby has unlimited texting.
-The Penguins had an off day in Southern California.
-Penguins forward prospect Josh Archibald has become a contender for the Hobey Baker Award.
-Andrew Ebbett had two goals and an assist for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in a 4-2 win against the Hamilton Bulldogs. Captain Tom Kostopoulos netted a goal and an assist for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton while teammate Peter Mannino made 30 saves.
-An overtime goal by Mike Ratchuk gave the Wheeling Nailers a 3-2 win against the Elmira Jackals. Eric Hartzell made 28 saves for Wheeling.
-After the Jump: The Stars retire Mike Modano's No. 9 in style.
Roundup of WPIAL teams in today's first round of the Pitt playoffs
Spring might be just around the corner, but it was still Winter time for Quaker Valley today.
Fondi made a layup with 2.4 seconds left in overtime to lift Quaker Valley to a 42-40 win against District 6 champion Richland in a PIAA Class AA first-round boys playoff game at Central Cambria. It was the only points scored in overtime.'
Fondi scored 17 points for Quaker Valley. Matt
*New Castle 71, Bethel Park 64: Bethel Park trailed by only nine at halftime. Then New Castle led by 20 after three quarters. Malik Hooker scored 25 points and Stew Allen added 18 to propel the Red Hurricanes (27-0). Joe Mascaro poured in 38 points for the Black Hawks, who lost to the Red Hurricanes by 27 in the WPIAL quarterfinals.
*Hampton 58, Allderdice 43: The Talbots bounced back from the WPIAL loss to New Castle and defeated the City League champion Dragons. David Huber and Ryan Luther each had a big half for Hampton. Huber scored 13 of his 15 in the first half and Luther 12 of his 16 in the second half.
*North Allegheny 82, Altoona 57: The win sets up a second-round game against New Castle, just like last year. Cole Constantino had 16 points and the Tigers (22-4) took a 19-point halftime lead against the District 6 champion Mountain Lions (13-10) at Hollidaysburg.
*Erie McDowell 65, Kiski Area 46: The Cavaliers (17-7) were outscored by 14 points in the second quarter and could not recover in falling to the District 10 champion Trojans (23-3) at Gannon University. Joe Brungo and Michael Simmons scored 10 points apiece for the Cavaliers.
*Beaver Falls 56, Central Martinsburg 44: The defending champion Tigers (19-7) jumped to a 14-point halftime lead and went on to eliminate the Dragons (16-7) at Altoona. Dan Stratton led the Tigers with 17 points.
* Seton-LaSalle 82, Penns Valley 51: Levi Masua (pictured) had 18 points, 12 rebounds, 5 blocks and 5 steals to vault the WPIAL champion Rebels (26-1) to their first PIAA victory since 2000 after coasting past the Rams (19-7) at Penn Hills.
*Greensburg C.C. 92 Bald Eagle Area 59: Brian Graytok's 25 points helped the WPIAL runner-up Centurions (23-3) amass their second-highest point total of the season in defeating the Eagles (20-6) at Hempfield.
* Aliquippa 60, Fairview 42: Jassir Jordan scored 21 points and the Quips (19-6) picked up their first PIAA win in five years by defeating the Tigers (22-4) at Gannon University.
* Summit Academy 75, Conemaugh Township 59: Propelled by a 27-point performance from Dasonte White, the Knights (17-6) advanced to the second round courtesy of the victory against the District 5 champion Indians (21-6) at Johnstown.
*West Middlesex 76, Neshannock 66: The Lancers (18-7) trailed by three points at the half and were eventually defeated by the District 10 champion Big Red (21-5) at Slippery Rock University.
Karvel Anderson didn’t necessarily need a basket, but he needed something. More importantly, his team needed something.
For the past 61 minutes, the Northeast Conference player of the year with the textbook shooting stroke was scoreless. With his team trailing Saint Francis by five at halftime of the NEC semifinals, he had no points, promoting his teammate, Lucky Jones, to turn to him in the locker room and offer some advice.
“I told my man on my left,” Jones said in the postgame press conference, motioning to Anderson, “and said ‘You’ve got to turn up.’”
In the game’s final 20 minutes, Anderson did just that when the Colonials needed him the most. And the eight-man team that has seemingly found every way to win this season pulled it off yet again.
Anderson had a game-high 21 points, all of which came in the second half, as Robert Morris came back to defeat Saint Francis, 60-57, in the NEC semifinals Saturday at the Sewall Center.
“This is something that we’re used to by now,” guard Anthony Myers-Pate said. “Adversity is a part of our team. We stepped up, we stayed together and we remained a family.”
The Colonials (21-12) will host Mount St. Mary’s Tuesday in the conference championship game, their fifth appearance in the title game in the past six seasons.
Jones added 18 points, helping keep the team afloat during a subpar offensive performance in the first half.
Entering Saturday, Robert Morris had defeated Saint Francis 13 consecutive times, a streak dating back to 2008. But even with two of those wins coming this season, the gap between the two programs wasn’t as glaring as it once was.
Early on, it showed.
A 14-0 run gave the Red Flash a 16-6 lead, a spurt aided by a nine-minute stretch in which the Colonials did not score. By halftime, it had closed the deficit, but still trailed, 20-15, marking the lowest-scoring first half of the Andy Toole era (which dates back to 2010).
Still, the team didn’t panic.
“I wouldn’t say there was a high level of confidence, but when I went in, I said ‘It doesn’t matter if it’s 5-0, 20-15, 70-65 – it’s still five points,’” Toole said. “As poorly as we played offensively, we defended well enough to give ourselves a chance and that’s exactly what you can ask for out of a situation like that.”
Once the second half began, momentum began to swing in a gym where it was previously non-existent.
The Colonials scored 15 of the first 17 points of the half to take a 30-22 lead. Six of those points came from Anderson free throws, something which opened things up for him.
“To see the ball actually go through the hoop for the first time in the tournament, it did a lot for me,” said Anderson, who also broke the program’s single-season scoring record Saturday.
Robert Morris’ advantage grew to as many as 12, but Saint Francis made a final push. An uncontested dunk from Ronnie Drinnon with 2:12 remaining capped off a 10-1 run, one that trimmed the Colonials’ lead to one.
Down by three with 15 seconds remaining, Saint Francis had a final chance to tie the game, but a 35-foot 3 from Malik Harmon went off the front rim.
For Red Flash, who won an NEC tournament game for the first time since 1995, it was a season of progress, but it was ultimately one that ended in disappointment.
“Playoff basketball’s a lot of fun until you have to get in that locker room with a bunch of guys that have battled all year and are great kids that do everything you ask on and off the court,” Saint Francis coach Rob Krimmel said. “That’s not an easy moment.”