CRANBERRY TWP., Pa. — Trevor Belak scored two goals and Eddie Nowicki stood tall in the Baldwin crease as the Fighting Highlanders defeated the Haverford Fords 4-1 at the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex on Saturday afternoon, capturing the associations first state championship.
Belak’s shot from the top of the right circle at 6:24 on the power-play gave the Fighting Highlanders the initial lead on the power-play. The two teams continued to ramp up the intensity and as the plays began to break down Picchi found a Nelson Buys rebound at Jai Jani’s shoulder height and smacked it in on the second effort to give Baldwin a two-goal lead. The remainder of the frame saw several cross-checks and shots along the boards that indicated heightened emotions.
Belak added his second of the contest at 4:01 of the third period to extend the Fighting Highlanders lead to 3-0. Haverford’s Mike McGeoch was able to break Nowicki’s no-no at the 9:46 mark when a Jagur McClelland shot careened off his skate and in. Keith Reed scored an empty net goal at 16:59 that caused the Baldwin Bench to prematurely celebrate the victory.
Nowicki was given the opportunity by his defense to have the majority of his shots against visible, and was generally untested throughout the contest. When required, the junior stepped up and gave Baldwin the chance to maintain their momentum. A particular situation occurred in the third where the Fords found the puck at the top right of the crease with Nowicki making two pad saves in the same sliding split. He finished with 27 saves on the afternoon.