Penn-Trafford hockey looks to finish season strong

·2 min read

Jan. 23—The Penn-Trafford hockey team was flying high after it avenged an early season loss to rival Franklin Regional on Dec. 6.

The 7-1 victory put the Warriors in a first-place tie with the Panthers in the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Hockey League Class 2A East Division. A 3-2 win three days later against Armstrong enhanced the seeding.

But things haven't gone as planned since then. The Warriors dropped a 6-2 decision at Meadville to end 2021 and after defeating Hempfield, 10-4, and Butler, 6-3, they dropped a 4-2 decision to West Division leader Thomas Jefferson.

"We just didn't play well enough (at Meadville)," Penn-Trafford coach Chris Cerutti said. "Against Thomas Jefferson, we were 0 for 7 on the power play and we gave up two power-play goals. Overall, I felt we played well. We just didn't finish our chances on the power play."

The team also lost Cam Kiste, a key player, especially on the power play, for the season to an injury. He had a goal and four assists in six games.

"Losing Cam hurt us," Cerutti said. "We were hoping for big things from him."

Penn-Trafford is 9-3 and is in third place behind Franklin Regional and Armstrong.

In the win against Hempfield, Josh Goldberg had three goals to lead the way. Ben Chen, Bennett Dupilka, Alex Sciullo, Carter Scholze, Ryan Crombie, Bryce Kropczynski and Nate Loughner also scored.

Penn-Trafford used third-period goals by Colin Paterson and Scholze to put away Butler. After a scoreless first period, the teams combined for seven goals in a wild second period.

Jack Blank got it started for the Warriors and Xavier Solomon followed two minutes later for a 2-0 lead. Kropczynski and Sciullo also scored in the second period.

Penn-Trafford was scheduled to play at Indiana on Jan. 20 and at home against Armstrong on Jan. 25 before heading on the road for games at South Fayette on Jan. 27 and at West Allegheny on Jan. 31.

"We still have a big game with Armstrong," Cerutti said. "We might not be able to challenge Franklin Regional for the top spot, but we want to be playing our best no matter what down the stretch.

"A lot of the teams we're playing the next few weeks have sub .500 records. We just have to be more consistent."

Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Paul by email at pschofield@triblive.com or via Twitter .