Pittsburgh Hockey Digest

PIHL

Three PIHL teams hunt for state titles

Franklin Regional goaltender Daniel Soltesz in the Penguins Cup final. -- DAVID HAGUE

A year ago, in the 2016 Pennsylvania state championships, the three winners of the Flyers Cup, representing the eastern half of the state, swept the three winners of the Penguins Cup, representing the western half of the state.

None of the games were close, with Bishop Canevin’s 7-3 loss to Central Bucks South the most competitive of the three contests.

This year, the PIHL representatives are looking for a measure of revenge and some Pennsylvania Cup hardware, as well.

“This year is all about winning the state championship,” Franklin Regional head coach Brian Kurtz said to Pittsburgh Hockey Digest after his Panthers won their second consecutive Class A Penguins Cup title on Tuesday.

Franklin was toppled, 6-0, by Bayard Rustin, which has won three straight state titles and four since 2009. Kurtz said that last year, he thought his team was just happy to be there in the state final.

“We’re a different team,” said Kurtz. “We’ve been there once so I think we’re more prepared mentally.”

The Panthers will get another shot at the Knights, who again won the Flyers Cup.

“We’ve been there once so I think we’re more prepared mentally,” Kurtz said. “This year is a different team and we’re excited about the matchup. … We played Bayard Rustin and know how good they are.”

Franklin and Bayard Rustin will start the events on Saturday at RMU’s Island Sports Center on Neville Island. They will face off at 12 p.m. The Class AA game between Plum and Downingtown East will follow at 3:30 p.m. and Peters Township will face Holy Ghost Prep for the Class AAA title at 5 p.m.

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