HARMAR TWP., Pa. — Alex Aul scored the game-winning goal in the third and Baldwin added two empty-net goals to defeat Thomas Jefferson 5-2 on Tuesday at Alpha Ice Complex, securing a berth for the Fighting Highlanders in the Class-2A Penguins Cup Championship game. Keith Reed scored twice for Baldwin in the affair.
After an electric start by both squads, Ryan Kelly took a hooking minor that led to Reed firing a shot over Luke Ripepi at the 4:35 mark of the first period to give the Fighting Highlanders the lead early. Eddie Nowicki looked unbeatable early on after making two spectacular glove saves, but it was for naught as Pazo converted for the Jaguars on a Logan Picchi minor at 13:50.
Thomas Jefferson gained momentum in the second frame and as they continued to pepper Nowicki, and it paid off as Pazo found a puck at the top of the left circle and fired it high for his second of the evening. The two teams continued to ramp up the pressure, leading to larger hits and tighter checking, and with 15:45 elapsed it was Picchi who found a loose puck at the top of the crease.
Aul’s goal at 8:09 of the final frame gave the Fighting Highlanders the lead that saw goals by Reed and Trever Belak add empty-net goals late.
Ripepi saved 34-of-37 on the contest while Nowicki stopped 26-of-28.
Baldwin faces off with Franklin Regional for the 2021 Class-2A Penguins Cup at the RMU Island Sports Center at 6:30p.m. on Tuesday, April 20.