NEVILLE Twp., Pa. — The Baldwin Highlanders used solid goaltending from Eddie Nowicki and timely shot blocking to secure their fourth Penguins Cup, as they defeated the Franklin Regional Panthers 2-0 Tuesday at Clearview Arena at the RMU Island Sports Center.
Carson Kress added all the insurance that was needed just six minutes into the third period after the teams battled through a 1-0 game for for the first two.
Defense was the name of the game between the Highlanders and the Panthers. After several key chances in the first period on either side, the score was knotted at naught. A 2-on-1 rush by Franklin Regional ended with a shot going wide. A similar rush by Baldwin resulted in a glove save by Panther netminder Gunner Fulton. His counterpart for the Highlanders, Eddie Nowicki, was equally as impressive. Head coach Justin Glock joked following the game that Nowicki’s teammates were giving him a hard time for allowing two goals to Thomas Jefferson in the 5-2 semifinal win. Nowicki responded “Well, I’ll try to get a shut out next game.” And that’s precisely what he did.
Zach Borman shoved a puck in the net for Baldwin just over 10 minutes into the first period to start the scoring. Despite several power plays on both sides, including a 5-on-3 for the Highlanders, that’s where the score stood after two periods. A Roman Cicco interference penalty and a Luke Beatty cross checking call put Baldwin on a two-man advantage. But Franklin Regional’s penalty killing was outstanding as the Panthers turned everything away to keep it a 1-0 deficit. But Kress’ insurance goal in the third period sealed the deal.
Nowicki turned in a 33-save shutout in the win. Gunner Fulton saved 31 of 33 in the loss.
Baldwin will move on to the Pennsylvania state championship at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Apr. 24 at the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex. They’ll face the winner of Downingtown West and Haverford, which began at 8:15 p.m. Tuesday.
TODHUNTER THE GREAT