Pittsburgh Hockey Digest


ITR: Franklin Regional @ Penn-Trafford

DELMONT, PA. – The postseason is drawing closer. Every game is more meaningful than the last. That statement could not be truer when the Penn-Trafford Warriors lost to shared ice rivals, Franklin Regional Panthers, 6-4 on Monday night.

Braiden O’Connor (5-9, SV%: 0.819) got the start in net for the Warriors. The Panthers had Daniel Soltesz (7-6-2, SV%: 0.889) between the pipes.

The Warriors got on the board first when Benjamin Leslie set up Jack Hughes (5:12) with a pass in front of the Panthers net for a wide open look at goal. With a few heavy hits from both teams and a Panthers goal by Kevin Cakanac (9:56), the game was living up to the rivalry.

Both teams came out flying in the second. It was the Warriors who broke the tie, :34 seconds into the period, when Gavin Patrick forced the puck between Soltesz pads during a scrum in front of the net.

The Panthers would not be outdone as they pressed on the gas pedal and saw 3 goals in the next 6 minutes and 14 seconds. Shane Prucnal (2:03) flew past the lone Warriors defender to beat O’Connor off the backhand for an unassisted goal. Zachary Zeto scored twice, the first just 1:13 after Prucnal’s goal and the second on the only powerplay of the game (6:48).

Trent Lunden increased the Panthers lead at 4:14 in the third period.

Penn-Trafford show some resilience, pulling within one of the Panthers, with goals from Nathaniel Fetsick (7:45) and Jack Hughes (14:18). While the Warriors were buzzing in the Panthers zone and an empty net, Kevin Cakanac sent the puck toward the goal to seal the deal for the Panthers with :37 seconds left in the game.

The Panthers ended the night going 1 for 1 on the powerplay and Soltesz stopped 33 of 37 shots on goal.

The Warriors did not have a powerplay and O’Connor stopped 31 of 36 shots on goal.

The teams split the season series. (Penn-Trafford won the first meeting 6-3 on October 22nd)

With this win, the Panthers pulled within 2 points of 3rd place Hempfield, who lost to Upper St. Clair, and a step closer to securing a playoff spot.  Next, they will host Plum on Monday, February 4th, at Center Ice Arena.

The Warriors still sit outside of a playoff spot, 3 points behind Baldwin, who lost to Moon. While they still have a chance of making the playoffs with a few wins, and some scoreboard watching, to close the season. It will not be an easy task as they face Upper St. Clair on Tuesday, February 5th, and Greater Latrobe on Monday, February 11th, both games at Center Ice.


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