Penn-Trafford hockey putting pieces in place for return to playoffs

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Sunday, November 1, 2020 | 11:01 AM


Penn-Trafford hockey coach Chris Cerutti has been busy this fall.

He and his wife moving to a new home and are expecting a child, and he’s trying to rebuild the school’s hockey program after missing the playoffs in 2019-20.

Penn-Trafford finished 8-9 last year in the PIHL Class AA Southeast Division, arguably the toughest with Latrobe (16-1), Hempfield (11-7) and Franklin Regional (10-7).

“I feel we have things headed in the right direction,” Cerutti said. “We’re a young team, but we have a lot of talent. We’ve played well (7-2 record) in our scrimmages, and both losses were by a goal to Latrobe and Franklin Regional.

“We finally have depth at goalie, and I’m pleased what our lines are going to look like. We don’t lose much from our top line to our fourth line.”

Penn-Trafford did graduate its top four scorers — Ryan Mickey (19 goals, 15 assists), Jack Hughes (14 goals, 9 assists), Jake Sieber (8 goals, 12 assists) and Ethan Tomborski (6 goals, 12 assists) — from last year.

The top scorer back is sophomore Nick Loughner, who scored 10 goals and had 7 assists.

Others returning include senior captain Nico Martucci, senior defenseman Brandon Grkman, junior center Ryan Crombie, senior defenseman Nathan Fetsick and junior defenseman Carter Scholze.

Also back is sophomore goalie Jackson Kerrigan, who went 3-3. Senior Conner Cunningham, who was 1-0, is also back.

“The kids are getting a lot more ice time now,” Cerutti said. “This program is going to be good for a long time. The team voted Nico as the captain. He’s a very good defensive center.

“Brandon is very solid and is a leader. He’s good on the power play. Carter is a stay-at-home defenseman, and Nate is more of an offensive defenseman.”

Martucci had three goals and nine assists, Grkman five goals and an assist, Fetsick four goals and three assists and Crombie five goals and 10 assists.

Penn-Trafford opens the season Nov. 5 against Mars at Cranberry.

Cerutti said he’s encouraging his team to focus on beginning the season strong.

“We can’t let those early games get away from us,” he said. “That’s why we played so many preseason games. We want them to be ready the first game.

“Our success in the preseason has helped the confidence of the team. We hope they maintain it and not get too overconfident.”

One line that Cerutti is expecting a lot from is his top trio of sophomore Colin Paterson, sophomore Xavier Solomon and sophomore Damian Dynys.

He said a lot of players are playing in other leagues and are improving their games.

“These guys are working hard,” Cerutti said. “I’m excited to see how they do.”

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

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