Bayard Rustin came into the PA Cup Class A Championship game as the defending 2-time titlists while Franklin Regional was making its first appearance in the championship after winning the Penguins Cup title for the first time. The experience advantage for the Golden Knights eventually wore down the Panthers as Bayard Rustin shut out Franklin Regional 6-0, capturing its 3rd straight PA Cup Title.
Both teams had great scoring opportunities in the game’s opening minute, but Golden Knights goaltender Jason Grande and his counterpart Dan Soltesz from Franklin Regional were up to the task early. The Panthers had the game’s first power play opportunity, but were denied by the Golden Knights. Santino Decesare was sent to the penalty box for hooking shortly after Bayard Rustin killed the Panthers man advantage and it didn’t take long for the Golden Knights to net the game’s first goal. Just ten seconds after the penalty, freshman Matt Owens would leave his mark on the game, scoring his first goal of the game unassisted at (8:55) to give Bayard Rustin a 1-0 lead. Senior Brett Christie, Bayard Rustin’s leading scorer through the Flyers Cup Playoffs, made the game 2-0 at the (13:45) mark of the first period, scoring his first goal of the afternoon and 7th of the playoffs.
Franklin Regional had its best chance of the game early in the second period, getting an early flurry around the Bayard Rustin net and actually getting a loose puck behind Grande in the crease, which eventually was cleared out of harm’s way and led to one of the games turning points. Owens took the ensuing clear and skated the other way on a breakaway. His shot beat Soltesz to make the score (3-0) just (1:52) into the second period. The Golden Knights would seal the three-peat with 3 third period goals. Christie scored his second goal of the game depositing a Tommy Sloan rebound past Soltesz on a power play at (5:46) after Soltesz made a pair of stops in front. Senior forward Hayden Karnick, who had a strong third period, built the lead to 5-0 snapping a hard wrist shot past Soltesz at (8:55) of the period. Bayard Rustin finished out the scoring on a perfectly executed 2-on-1 break with (2:20) remaining in the game. Christie picked up a blocked shot at his own blue line and skated down the right wing, eventually feeding a cross ice pass to Owens who completed the hat trick with a shot inside the near post. The hat trick for Owens, completed the hat trick of PA Cups for the Golden Knights, and the goals marked the first three tallies on the season for the Bayard Rustin freshman.
Grande, a junior, stopped all 22 shots in net for Bayard Rustin, earning the shutout and his third straight win in the PA Cup Finals. Christie will graduate with four PA Cup goals on his resume during the last three seasons, while the junior Sloan and senior Eric Flynn recorded points in their second consecutive State Championship. With the win, Bayard Rustin finishes the season at (20-3-2) and the Golden Knights become the first Class A team to win three straight PA Cups since Serra Catholic (2000-2002) and the first team to three-peat since Latrobe in (2008-2010) in Class AA. Franklin Regional ends the season at (19-7).
Franklin Regional: 0 0 0 = 0
Bayard Rustin: 2 1 3 = 6
Franklin Regional: 6 12 4 = 22
Bayard Rustin: 9 11 8 = 28
Franklin Regional: 0-for-7
Bayard Rustin: 2-for-4
BR: Matt Owens 1st (1) – Eric Flynn (8:55) PPG
BR: Brett Christie 1st (7) – Derek Semetti, Tommy Sloan (13:45)
BR: Owens 2nd (2) – Unassisted (1:52)
BR: Christie 2nd (8) – Sloan, Hayden Karnick (5:46) PPG
BR: Karnick (2) – Sloan (8:55)
BR: Owens 3rd (3) – Christie (14:20)
BR: Matt Widdis (Interference) 5:44
FR: Santino Decesare (Roughing) 8:45
BR: Flynn (High Sticking) 8:56
BR: Sloan (Roughing) 2:59
FR: Cameron Huffman (High Sticking) 5:01
BR: Connor Lapps (Slashing) 8:39
BR: Flynn (Roughing) 10:37
FR: Justin Gismondi (Cross Checking) 4:51
FR: Jamie Mauro (Tripping) 14:58
BR: Kyle Mullin (Cross Checking) 15:57
BR: Joel Sheriko (Hooking) 16:14
Franklin Regional: Dan Soltesz (28 Shots – 22 Saves)
Bayard Rustin: Jason Grande (22 Shots – 22 Saves
Management Science Associates 3 Stars of the Game
3) Tommy Sloan (Bayard Rustin) – 3 Assists
2) Brett Christie (Bayard Rustin) – (Bayard Rustin) – 2 Goals. 1 Assist
1) Matt Owens (Bayard Rustin) – Hat Trick