Trib HSSN PIHL Team of the Week: Thomas Jefferson
Monday, March 4, 2019 | 12:21 AM
During the regular season, the Thomas Jefferson Jaguars lost just three games — two of which came to South Fayette — by a combined five goals.
Going into the postseason, the Jaguars knew they had to be on alert. After all, Thomas Jefferson made a run to the semifinals a few seasons ago and knew letting down their guard could result in an early exit from this season’s tournament.
The Jaguars, who entered the Class A Penguins Cup Playoffs as the second seed from the South/East Division, took on the North Division’s seventh seed, Freeport in Thursday’s first round.
Thomas Jefferson talked about not overlooking the Yellow Jackets, a team that can go 18 skaters deep, and emphasized the importance of a good start. The Jaguars responded with a 14-2 win to advance to the quarterfinals.
As a result, the Jaguars are this week’s Trib High School Sports Network PIHL Team of the Week.
“We started a little bit slow, but once they tied the game, the kids bared down,” coach Bill Crousey said. “It was nice to see that our guys didn’t panic, and it was just business as usual. We just needed to do what we do and knew things would take care of themselves if we did.”
All three lines were rolling for the Jaguars.
After Hunter Fairman scored the first goal 1 minute, 55 seconds in, Freeport tied it 15 seconds later. That’s when the floodgates open. Eight seconds after Freeport’s equalizer, senior Hayden Hintemeyer scored to give the Jaguars a lead they would never relinquish. After the first period, Thomas Jefferson led 7-1. It was ahead 13-2 after two periods, and.
Goalie Luciano Ripepi stopped 12 of 14 shots but made some big saves while the game was still within reach.
Several players had multipoint efforts, highlighted by Edward Pazo’s three-goal, two-assist night. John Piscittelli had two goals and two assists, and William Obrien and Hintemeyer had three points each.
“The key was to have everyone rolling like they were. Defensively, we did some good things, and Luke made some big saves when it was still in range,” Crousey said. “Everybody was on the same page, and I think we’re ready to move forward.”
So move forward Thomas Jefferson will. The Jaguars will play in Monday’s quarterfinals against the North’s No. 3 seed, Meadville.
The Bulldogs boast Single-A’s second-best points scorer and leading goal scorer, Nick Frantz, who is among the classification’s best players.
Crousey said his team has to be ready.
“Luke has to play well, I think is the biggest thing, in net,” said Crousey. “They’re really good, and their top guys play a lot. They don’t change the way they play no matter what. Hopefully we play well. It’ll be a 51-minute game.”
Faceoff is scheduled for 9:15 at RMU Island Sports Center. A broadcast of the game will be available at tribhssn.triblive.com.
PIHL Honorable Mentions (Week Of Feb. 25):
• Elsewhere in Single-A, Montour won its first-round game 14-1 over Greensburg Salem on Monday, and West Allegheny shut out Chartiers Valley 4-0. Meadville defeated Norwin, 10-2, on Thursday.
• In Triple-A, Canon-McMillan defeated Butler in a play-in game, and Baldwin topped Moon 3-0 in a Double-A No. 4 vs. No. 5 intraconference play-in contest.
• No playoff games were played in Division 2.
More High School Hockey• Balance of hockey power in South Hills shifts to Thomas Jefferson, Baldwin
• Gordon, McEnroe lead the way for Sewickley Academy hockey
• Shaler hockey shifts focus to development after missing playoffs
• Franklin Regional notebook: Dibert, Solomon have state title aspirations
• PIHL standings through Feb. 28, 2021