Revenge sweet for Fox Chapel hockey team in Penguins Cup playoffs

Saturday, March 18, 2023 | 11:01 AM

Fox Chapel’s hockey team knew the setting was the same, but the Foxes found the magic to produce a different result March 15 at RMU Island Sports Complex.

Fox Chapel, which lost to Norwin in the PIHL Class A Penguins Cup semifinals last season, avenged that loss and advanced to the finals for the first time in over 20 years. The Foxes, who have never won the Penguins Cup, knocked off Norwin, 7-3, to earn a shot at Kiski in the championship game on March 20.

“This goes back to five years ago with the leadership group we had,” Fox Chapel coach Cam Raidna said. “The first leaders are the reason that we are here and how they built the culture. When you have kids that just want someone to care about them and want to listen, they do a great job of understanding we are there for them. We’ve built those relationships.”

Fox Chapel (20-2) beat Kiski in both regular season meetings by a combined score of 15-4.

The Foxes did have to pull together to beat Norwin. Fox Chapel opened the game with a 3-0 lead behind goals from Sam Smith, Laim Wiseman and Alex Macek, but the Knights scored the next two.

After two periods, Fox Chapel led 3-2 and needed some energy.

“We had to regroup at the intermission,” Raidna said. “We needed to understand what got us there in the first place. We needed to stay out of the penalty box and get the puck deep into their zone.”

The Foxes didn’t take long to turn things around. Mason Heininger scored 1 minute, 55 seconds into the third period to double the lead. Two more goals from Wiseman and another from Heininger helped to salt away the victory.

Wiseman’s second goal — he finished with a hat trick — was a short-handed one that extended the lead to 6-3.

“The short-handed goal from Liam Wiseman in the third period was a turning point,” Raidna said. “Scoring a goal in the early third period helped us regain our confidence.”

While Fox Chapel’s ambitions are much higher, the Foxes were happy to get some revenge for last season’s loss to Norwin.

“Ninety percent of last year’s team is on this team,” Raidna said. “That was definitely a goal, but it isn’t the end goal. This meant a lot to them. I’m happy for them and their hard work.”


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