This is the first meeting of the two teams in the 2019 season.
ODDS AND ENDS
Montour led all teams in scoring in 2018-19, registering a whopping 10 (!) goals per game on the campaign, including leading scorer Richard Froehlich. Froehlich’s 80 points on the season were eleven more than second-place Nicholas Frantz. Michael Felsing was good for a 27-27-54 line, third in the class. South Fayette was opposite of Montour, as Ian Kumar led the Lions with 29 points- good for a 34th-place tie. As a team, South Fayette averaged 4.39 goals per game and a ninth-place ranking. A lack of offensive output was over-compensated by stellar defense that finished first overall with a 1.44 goals-against per game. Bruce Hardman finished the season 13-1 with 5 shutouts and a .942 save percentage Montour’s 2.61 goals-against per game were good enough for sixth, as the Spartans had a goaltender-by-committee approach led by Zachary O’Malley, who finished the season 9-1 with an .864 save percentage.
The Spartans finished the season with the No.4 power-play, clicking at 36.4 percent on 33 tries- the least number of attempts of any team in the class by a large margin. South Fayette finished No. 6 with a 28.6% conversion rate. The Lions finished second on the penalty-kill at 90.5 percent, killing all but 6 of the 63 opportunities against. Montour was penalized the second-least in the class, only facing 36 disadvantages – but allowing 9 goals for a 75% success rate, the tenth best in single-A.
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN
South Fayette was only rivaled defensively by West Allegheny in the regular season, and the Indians dropped both contests to Montour. The Lions now face the best offense in Single-A in the Spartans after holding West Allegheny, the No. 2 offensive team (8.78 goals per game), to one goal on 32 shots. Montour had an answer for stingy South Park and high-octane Thomas-Jefferson, as both teams gave the Spartans fits in their matchups. A classic offense-vs-defense battle here.
Verdict: Montour has risen to the occasion every chance they’ve had to, and are going to have to once more. Bruce Hardman is what you get when you throw Josh Ferry, Ethan Isaly and Edward Kaufman in a blender. The Lions play a next level two-way game in support of their netminder. The Spartans are next-level explosive who have learned to adapt to every team they’ve faced – and leave this writer scratching his head every week. This should be an instant classic regardless of who gets the W.