Trib HSSN PIHL Team of the Week: Nov. 11, 2019

Sunday, November 10, 2019 | 5:18 PM

Last season’s semifinal loss to Pine-Richland left a sour taste in the mouths of the Latroce Icecats.

Those who returned haven’t forgotten that feeling. In fact, coach Josh Werner said, those guys are using it as a chip on their shoulders and motivation to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

Latrobe is off to a good start.

A 7-1 win Monday against Mars moved the Icecats to 5-0 on the season. They have 34 goals and given up only five.

“We knew playing Mars would be a tight game like it always is,” Werner said. “We knew we had to play our game and be disciplined and play good in the D-zone. We felt pretty confident after the first that we could get to their goalie, but we capitalized on our opportunities and that’s something we have been talking about.”

Alex Walker scored the Icecats’ first goal at 7 minutes, 34 seconds of the first period. Latrobe added goals by Alex Schall and JS Florek later in the period to lead by three after one.

The Icecats ended up scoring the first seven goals of the game, as Colten McCutchen, Josh Coffee, Walker and Ean LaMolinara lit the lamp. Mars scored its only goal with less than a minute left in the game.

Latrobe killed all three of its penalties and outshot Mars, 27-16, on goal.

Greg Irons made 15 saves on the 16 shots, continuing the run of strong goaltending the Icecats have received this season.

“Another thing as a team we’ve been talking about is consistency,” Werner said. “We’re preaching that on the bench. This group of kids is motivated.”

Vinny Amatucci and Irons continue to play well, which, Werner said, has been big because of the big saves the two have made.

“The scoresheet doesn’t necessarily show the big saves those guys have made to keep us ahead and keep the score what it is,” said Werner. “They’re playing well.”

Not only has Latrobe received good goaltending, but, just like last season, the Icecats have gotten scoring contributions up and down the lineup.

Sixteen players have at least a point, with five scoring seven or more. Alex Walker leads the way with five goals and 10 assists. Cole Ferri has seven of each stat (14 points). Those two lead the team and were two of the top scorers last season.

“A team is dangerous when it has contributions from the whole team,” Werner said. “It all starts at practice with how hard these kids work. Everyone is doing a nice job of contributing.”

The Wildcats are four points ahead of the other three teams in the Class AA Southeast Division: Franklin Regional, Penn-Trafford and Hempfield. Those teams have six points each.

Each game has a magnified importance this season, especially in-division contests, as only the top two teams from each Class AA division will make the playoffs.

The Icecats are out of divison in the upcoming schedule, but Werner said each game remains important as the team tries to reach its goals and avoid that same feeling of last year’s semifinal loss.

Latrobe returns to the ice Tuesday at Shaler. Puck drop is scheduled for 8:20 p.m. at Alpha Ice Complex.

Honorable Mentions:

South Fayette: The Lions picked up a 10-7 win over Hampton in a back-and-forth affair

Penn-Trafford: The Warriors were one of a few teams to pick up two wins last week. P-T defeated Moon, 9-4, on Tuesday before besting Armstrong, 8-5, on Thursday night

Wheeling Park: It was two wins for one of the two teams from West Virginia. Wheeling Park beat Chartiers Valley and Blackhawk last week

North Catholic: A 6-0 win against Beaver kept the Trojans unbeaten in their return to the PIHL

Carrick: Carrick was another with two wins this past week: an 8-1 win over Elizabeth Forward and a 4-1 win versus Connellsville in Class B

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