NEVILLE TWP., Pa. — The Pine-Richland Rams defeated Greater Latrobe 5-2 on Wednesday at RMU Island Sports Center and advanced to the 2019 Class-AA Penguins Cup final.
After a tightly contested first two periods, the Rams opened up the scoring in the final frame, as Ian Voit found the back of the cage at 2:45 for the eventual game-winner. Minutes later, Richard Wild followed suit, firing a shot from the top of the circle that went under a Wildcat defender and beat Latrobe goaltender Gage Handwork to make it 4-1.
A Lane Ruffner bullet beat Pine-Richalnd’s Danny Stauffer at 12:23 to make it 4-2, but Will Studt fired a shot moments later that beat Handwork glove-side at 13:42 to secure the Rams’ victory.
The two teams played to a stalemate in the first frame as both Handwork and Stauffer held the fort as the teams endured a feeling-out process. Both netminders faced easy shots from the perimeter, and little net-front pressure during the period.
It was the second period when the teams woke up, as Charlie Mill received a pass in the slot and fired it past Handwork at 6:15. The Wildcats were quick to respond, and a mere 1:25 later, Cole Novak took cross-ice pass from Alexander Walker and fired it past a diving Stauffer to tie things up at 8:40. The quick strikes didn’t let up, and just 1:01 after Novak’s tally, Brandon Kashur struck the scoresheet, firing a puck past Handwork to give Pine-Richland a 2-1 lead.
Pine-Richland moves on to play the winner of Upper St. Clair and Franklin Regional in the Class-AA Penguins Cup championship at 8:30 p.m. on Monday, Mar. 18 at the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex in Cranberry Township.