Pittsburgh Hockey Digest


Thomas Jefferson Thrills in First Penguins Cup Victory since 2000

Image by Jared Todhunter

CRANBERRY TWP., PA — Scotty Allan scored the golden goal just :46 into the overtime period and the Thomas-Jefferson Jaguars came out on top in a wild Penguins Cup Class-2A final at the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex, defeating Franklin Regional 6-5 on Tuesday night.

It is the first Penguins cup for the Jaguars since Zeiler’s junior year at Thomas Jefferson in 2000.

Head Coach John Zeiler returned to the program with three Penguins Cup Championships as a player, and after a stint at Elizabeth-Forward he earned his fourth ring as a coach. He wasn’t shy about which one was his favorite.

“The one as a coach.” Zeiler said. “I’ve never had this feeling as a coach, it’s a dream for me to come back and be a part of this program. To show these kids what it’s like and to give them an opportunity in that situation.”

The Panthers held a 5-1 lead at the end of the second period, only to watch it whittle away as a Chase Williams misconduct proved costly :17 into the third with the Jaguars scoring four goals to tie the contest before its expiration.

Zach Abdallah gave the Panthers the lead with a power-play goal on a skate redirect at 2:19 of the first period, and the two teams increased the level of physicality.

Max Rutkowski opened up the second period with a bullet, firing the puck over Billy Siemon at 1:17 after picking a puck at the blue line clean and scoring the second Panthers goal from the top of the circle. Ryder McGurik’s gutsy redirect :53 seconds later cut the Franklin Regional lead back to one before a scrum in the crease led to Abdallah’s delay of game crease infraction that gave Colby Bilski the chance to tie the contest up.

Bilski’s miss led to an immediate reaction from the Panthers, who seemed to amp up their physicality to match the Jaguars and throwing Thomas-Jefferson off their game. Matty Knizner’s pickup of a bouncing puck and subsequent goal restored a two-goal lead for Franklin Regional before a Luke Beatty snipe and Ben Yurko power-play goal gave the Panthers a four-goal lead at the end of the second.

The Jaguars took advantage of a false sense of security by the Panthers as Franklin committed four consecutive penalties to begin the frame, led by a two minute minor and a ten-minute misconduct by Chase Williams with Thomas-Jefferson scoring two consecutive five-on-three penalties. The first was a Rayman gutsy effort play in front, the second a Bilski set play off a face-off from the left circle. Lance Smith cut the lead to one at 7:49 before Sidun tied the game at 4:47.


Thomas plays the winner of the Flyers Cup Class-2A final between Pennridge and Castle Rock South on Saturday at Ice Line in West Chester, PA.


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