Chase Williams leading Franklin Regional to strong start

Saturday, November 6, 2021 | 11:01 AM

When the Franklin Regional hockey team needs a spark, senior center Chase Williams usually provides it.

Williams has three goals and seven assists in four games, all wins for the Panthers in Pennsylvania Interscholastic Hockey League play.

“He leads by example,” Franklin Regional coach John Winebrenner said. “He works hard, and he does it shift after shift.

“He has leadership qualities. When the team needs picked up, he provides. He works hard at both ends of the ice.”

Williams is the team captain and would rather talk about the team than himself.

He averages three points per game while centering the top line with wingers Zach Abdallah and sophomore Max Rutkowski.

“Zach and I have played for a couple seasons,” Williams said. “Max has really improved, and we work well together. I’m excited to see how things go.”

Williams scored 14 goals and had 21 assists (18 in regular season) to help the Panthers reach the 2020 PIHL Class 2A finals where they lost a 2-0 decision to Baldwin. The Panthers got hot late in the season and made a run to the finals.

This season, Franklin Regional and Penn-Trafford are the early-season leaders in the division. The Panthers won the first meeting, and the teams played for a second time Nov. 8.

Penn-Trafford is really good,” Williams said. “It’s a good rivalry. The fans get into the games. The first meeting was a good one.”

Williams scored two goals to help Franklin Regional build a 5-1 lead en route to a 6-4 victory.

“It was a huge win for us,” Williams said. “There is most definitely a chance we’ll meet for the Penguin Cup.”

With 10 starters returning, including their top seven forwards, the Panthers have their eye on the title that eluded them.

“I hope we continue to play well,” Winebrenner said. “We’re playing well.”

Williams said he isn’t sure what his future in hockey entails. He’s going to let the season play out and see how things progress with the high school and travel seasons.

Williams’ coach, however, said he definitely can play at the next level.

“He has the ability and skill to play in college or juniors,” Winebrenner said. “He has what it takes.”

Williams said he’s always trying to improve his game.

He feels his strengths are that he keeps his head up, he’s confident handling the puck and he’s a good skater.

And with Williams leading the way, the Panthers are looking forward to an exciting season.

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


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