TJ’s Bilski nets hat trick, FR’s Knizner scores OT winner in Penguins Cup semifinals

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Tuesday, March 15, 2022 | 11:25 PM


Thomas Jefferson scored four second-period goals, including a hat trick by Colby Bilski, and skated past Penn-Trafford, 6-2, in the PIHL Cup Class 2A semifinals Tuesday at the Robert Morris University Island Sports Center. .

The victory puts the Jaguars in the Penguins Cup championship game against Franklin Regional on March 22 at the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex in Cranberry.

The No. 1-seeded Jaguars dominated play from the start, outshooting the short-handed Warriors, 40-12. Penn-Trafford played without four starters, including top defenseman Cam Kiste and leading scorer Nate Loughner.

Thomas Jefferson took a 1-0 lead 39 seconds into the game on a goal by Pavel Sidun.

The Jaguars kept constant pressure on Warriors goalie Jackson Kerrigan, who stopped 17 shots in the first period.

Penn-Trafford tied the score 1-1 late in the period when Josh Goldberg outhustled the Thomas Jefferson defense and beat goalie Billy Siemon with a sweet move with 1:21 left. Penn-Trafford had only two shots on goal in the first period.

Then came TJ’s eruption.

“This is a special group,” Thomas Jefferson coach John Zeiler said. “They remind me of the 1999 team I played for. They play for each other.

“They play with an even keel. They are very consistent. There are no highs or lows.”

Nick Stock started things with a hustle goal as he outraced the Penn-Trafford defense and flipped a shot over Kerrigan.

Bilski then tallied three consecutive goals. He scored short-handed, on the power play and at even strength.

In the third period, Bennett Dupilka scored to make it 5-2, but Andrew Oliver added an empty-netter to finish the scoring.

“We made some mistakes that cost us,” Penn-Trafford coach Chris Cerutti said. “We’ll be back. We’re looking forward to next season. With the injuries we had, we were playing with house money.”

Thomas Jefferson will play Franklin Regional.

FR’s Knizner wins it

Matty Knizner scored at 9:52 of overtime as No. 2 Franklin Regional rallied to defeat South Fayette, 3-2, in the PIHL semifinals at Robert Morris University Island Sports Center.

South Fayette, which lost a 7-2 decision to Franklin Regional early this season, took a 1-0 lead 17 seconds into the game on a goal by Dylan Timmins.

The Lions carried that lead into the third period before Chase Williams tied the score on a power play goal 1:17 into the period.

South Fayette reclaimed the lead with 8:34 left on a goal by Wes Schwarzmiller.

Williams tied the score on a penalty shot with 1:45 left.

Paul Schofield is a TribLive reporter covering high school and college sports and local golf. He joined the Trib in 1995 after spending 15 years at the Daily Courier in Connellsville, where he served as sports editor for 14 years. He can be reached at pschofield@triblive.com.

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