No. 1 Pine-Richland hockey defeats No. 2 Latrobe in shootout

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Thursday, February 7, 2019 | 10:30 PM


The top two PIHL teams in the TribLive High School Sports Network’s power rankings got together Thursday night at Nevin Arena for a heated hockey game with a thrilling finish.

It was one of those contests that made you feel nobody really lost.

“Just proud of our guys doing what we had to do to get a ‘W,’ ” Pine-Richland coach Jordan Yoklic said.

Alexander Rihn’s goal during a shootout gave No. 1 Pine-Richland a 4-3 victory over No. 2 Latrobe. The Rams forced overtime on a goal by Nicholas Lindauer at 15 minutes, 26 seconds of the third period.

“Tough one to lose. We had our opportunities to put it away,” Latrobe coach Josh Werner said. “It was just a really good individual effort by their guy (Lindauer) to tie it there.

“You really can’t fault anyone for that. We practice those kinds of situations all the time. He used his defenseman as a screen and was able to put the puck in the net.”

Latrobe, which entered the day tied for the top spot in the Class 2A Southeast Division, earned a point to clinch a home playoff game in the first round.

The Wildcats trailed Northwest Division-leading Pine-Richland, 2-1, heading to the third period.

But they took a 3-2 lead on goals by Lane Ruffner at 3:37 and Jarred Stein at 10:13.

Neither team scored in overtime, sending the game to a shootout.

Latrobe scored first on a goal by Cole Novak, but that was the extent of the offense for the Wildcats, who couldn’t solve Pine-Richland goaltender Daniel Stauffer, who finished with 22 saves.

Pine-Richland tied the shootout on a goal Brandon Kashur before Rihn beat Latrobe goaltender Gage Handwork to end the marathon. Handwork stopped 32 shots.

“It’s not any easy place to play down here,” Yoklic said. “Latrobe is a good team, toward the top of their own division. They have the same goal as we do. At the end of the day, you’re fighting for every inch of the ice.

“Both teams played well.”

Latrobe, which lost forward Greg Ferri in the first quarter with a shoulder injury and also was playing without forward Dom Hart, who broke his ankle in practice this week, jumped in front 1-0 in the first period on a goal by Alexander Walker.

The lead stood until Rihn scored a pair of goals 12 seconds apart in the second to put Pine-Richland ahead 2-1.

The Rams’ only blemish on their season record (16-0-0-1) is an overtime loss to Hampton on Jan. 28. Pine-Richland will face Mars on Monday before closing the regular season against Quaker Valley on Feb. 21, with both games at Baierl Ice Complex.

Meanwhile, Latrobe (13-3-0-1) plays Penn-Trafford on Monday at Center Ice Arena and Hempfield on Feb. 18 at Nevin Arena in the Wildcats’ final tuneups before the playoffs.

Dave Mackall is a freelance writer.

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