Franklin Regional, Penn-Trafford eye hockey rematch

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Saturday, November 13, 2021 | 11:01 AM


Franklin Regional and Penn-Trafford, arguably two of the top teams in Class 2A in the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Hockey League, were scheduled for a first-place showdown Nov. 8.

It was a rematch of game played earlier in the season that Franklin Regional (4-0) won 6-4.

But the game was postponed and rescheduled for Dec. 6 because of covid concerns surrounding the Penn-Trafford program. Penn-Trafford is now scheduled to return to action Nov. 15 against Shaler.

Both teams are 2-0 since the first meeting on Oct. 11.

In that game, Franklin Regional raced out to a 5-1 lead through two periods but needed to hold off a late rally by the Warriors.

“We learned a lot since that game,” Penn-Trafford coach Chris Cerutti said. “I think they actually started learning during that game. The loss showed them that we play better as a team than individuals. There was a big crowd that game, and I felt we were trying to do too much as individuals.”

Since that loss, Penn-Trafford (3-1) has blanked Latrobe, 4-0, and overwhelmed Mars, 8-1. Nate Loughner and Bennett Dupilka each had two goals against Mars.

Cerutti said goaltender Jackson Kerrigan took the Franklin Regional loss hard because he felt he didn’t play well enough.

“Jackson is a leader and captain,” Cerutti said. “He keeps the team focused.”

Since the first meeting with Penn-Trafford, the Panthers have posted two impressive wins, 6-1 against Latrobe and 10-1 against West Allegheny. Matt Knizner had a hat trick and Zach Zeto had two goals for the Panthers against West Allegheny.

Franklin Regional coach John Winebrenner said his team also has made improvements since the first meeting.

“We’re playing better defense, and we’re not taking as many penalties,” Winebrenner said. “We’re not allowing as many shots. Both goaltenders (Nolan Schilling and Alex Rauber) are playing well.

“Before we can worry about Penn-Trafford, we have a big game against South Fayette on Nov. 15. They’re a very good team.”

Franklin Regional and Penn-Trafford also met in a preseason tournament and split two games.

Winebrenner said Penn-Trafford is very good, but he didn’t have his entire team available. He’s eager to see if his team continues to grow.

Both coaches are also eager to see how much their teams have improved since the first meeting.

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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