CASTLE SHANNON, pa — The Baldwin Highlanders had a chance to clinch a postseason spot Monday night, as long as they got help from rival Upper St Clair Tuesday night. If Upper St Clair defeats Penn-Trafford, Baldwin would clinch a playoff spot by beating Hempfield. Unfortunately, the Highlanders found themselves on the wrong end of a 4-1 final for the second week in a row. A week after dropping a crucial game to the Moon Tigers, Baldwin fell to the Spartans, albeit in a much closer game.
In a game where there was a single roughing minor penalty, Baldwin and Hempfield gave the fans at Ice Castle a showing that was fit for a game with playoff implications. Despite being scoreless after one, there was no shortage of chances on either side. Still, Cole Shannon stood tall for the Highlanders and his opponent, Joseph Behler, was six foot wide and bulletproof for the Spartans.
The deadlock was broken early into the second period when Jared Gerger put one in from Shannon’s right side. Gerger picked the top right corner of the net and let it rip, giving his team an early advantage. Most of the second period then went the way of the first, a deadlock with Channon standing on his head to keep the deficit at one. Unfortunately, two quick goals just 10 seconds apart by Aiden Edwards and Gerger’s second would prove too much for Baldwin to overcome. Caden Spehar added to the Spartan’s lead 12:33 into the third period before Baldwin broke the shutout hopes of Behler off the stick of Dylan Belak.
Although Hempfield can’t gain the top seed in the Southeast (Upper St Clair owns the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Spartans, with a 2-0 record against them this season), the Spartans could still push past Greater Latrobe to take the No. 2 seed. Baldwin still holds a three point advantage for the final Southeast playoff spot with Penn-Trafford still yet to play this week.
MAJOR FOCUS: BALDWIN FALLS AGAIN, BUT STILL HOLDS PLAYOFF SPOT (FULL GALLERY)