Thomas Jefferson rallies past Franklin Regional to win Class 2A Penguins Cup title in OT
Tuesday, March 22, 2022 | 9:09 PM
Scotty Allan picked a great time to score his first goal of the playoffs.
Allan scored 46 seconds into overtime, and Thomas Jefferson rallied for the second time in the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Hockey League playoffs to defeat Franklin Regional 6-5, in the Class 2A Penguins Cup championship game Tuesday at UMPC Lemieux Sports Complex.
The Jaguars (21-1) rallied from a 5-1 deficit after two periods, scoring four goals in the third period to tie the score. They rallied from a couple of three-goal deficits to defeat Hempfield in the quarterfinals.
Thomas Jefferson will face Pennridge, which defeated Council Rock South, at 2 p.m. Saturday at IceLine in West Chester.
It was the fourth Penguins Cup title for Thomas Jefferson, the first since 2000, when coach John Zeiler was a player.
Down 5-1, Thomas Jefferson scored two power-play goals early in the third period and scoring again with 9 minutes, 11 seconds left to trim the lead to 5-4.
Thomas Jefferson’s rally was aided by Franklin Regional’s undisciplined play to start the third period. The Panthers were whistled for four penalties in the first three minutes.
“They did a good job taking the game to us in the first two periods,” Zeiler said. “We did a better job getting to our game in the third period. We were moving our feet, and they were drawing penalties.”
The first power-play goal during the comeback was scored by Ty Rayman at 14:50. The next one was by Colby Bilski with 13:58 left.
Lance Smith’s even-strength goal trimmed the lead to one.
TJ tied the score 5-5 with 4:47 left on a goal by Pavel Sidun.
“The penalty by Chase (Williams) turned the momentum,” Franklin Regional coach John Winebrenner said. “We did everything right for the first two periods and had them where we wanted. You just can’t take those penalties. Once you lose momentum, it’s tough to get it back.”
Franklin Regional (18-3-1) grabbed a 1-0 lead when Zach Abdallah tipped in a shot past Thomas Jefferson goaltender Billy Siemon on the power play 2:19 into the game. Luke Beatty and Luke Lavrish assisted.
The lead went to 2-0 early in the second period (1:17) when Max Rutkowski blocked a pass and beat Siemon on a breakaway.
“We knew it would be a hard-fought game to the end,” Winebrenner said. “The penalties cost us the game.”
Thomas Jefferson quickly responded when Ryder McGuirk put the puck behind Franklin Regional goalie Alex Rauber at 2:10.
The Jaguars continued to pressure Rauber and received a penalty shot when Abdallah was called for covering the puck in the crease. But Rauber denied Bilski.
“It could have been a different game if Colby would have scored,” Zeiler said. “But they took it to us with their physical play.
“I’ve never been part of a team with such drive and dedication and no give. When we won the state championship back in the day, you weren’t coming back from a 5-1 deficit. This team has so much character, and it’s a family. That’s the culture we have created.”
It was all Franklin Regional after Rauber made the save, and it dominated the rest of the second period, scoring three times to build a 5-1 lead.
Matty Knizner got things started on a goal with 11:16 left, and Beatty connected on a slapper from near the blue line to make it 4-1 with 10:15 left.
The Panthers made it 5-1 with 4 minutes left in the period on their second power-play goal, which was scored by Ben Yurko.
“This is a dream,” Zeiler said. “I believed we were going to win this hockey game. I told them, ‘we got this boys.’”
Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Paul by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter .
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