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The High Post

The student news site of Greater Latrobe High School

The High Post

The student news site of Greater Latrobe High School

The High Post

Latrobe Ice Cats Start Season Strong

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Cats Celebrate shootout win against Franklin Regional

The Latrobe Ice Cats began their season with 5 challenging games. Three of these are on the road and two at Kirk S. Nevin, their home arena. They have shown strong resilience in the young season to get off to a hot start. With a mix of great skill and impressive team play the Cats begin their season with a record of 3-2-0 and a goal differential of even 0. The Cat’s first win came in a game on the road with a thrilling shootout final against Franklin Regional. The Cats picked up their only loss in the next game with a tough game on the road at Hempfield. The Cats showed great resilience in the following games with two dominating wins, one at home against North Hills, and one on the road at Penn Trafford. After those wins the Cats traveled to Thomas Jefferson to play the top-seeded cougars and picked up a tough loss. The season is still young for the Cats and they have a lot of confidence going into the rest of the games this year. 

 

Preston Miller celebrates game-winning shootout goal vs. Franklin Regional

The Ice Cats season opener at Palmer Imaging Arena, home of the Franklin Regional Panthers, was the big win that the Cats were looking for to open up their season. The game was very tight all the way to the finish. Every goal from Franklin Regional was answered with a tying goal from the Cats. After going down 1-0, the Cats bounced back with an unassisted power-play goal from Senior Captain Lou Amatucci to even up the score. Again after falling behind 2-1, Senior Alternate Captain, Jacob Hannah tied up the game with a great individual effort on the penalty kill to tuck home the short-handed goal. Once again Franklin Regional pulled ahead late to take a 3-2 lead. For a third time, the Cats answered with a power play goal to tie the game from junior forward Dylan Morris, assisted by freshman forward Joey Crimboli and Lou Ammatucci who picked up his second point of the night. Strong play in goal from junior goaltender Brock Pflugh kept the score tied as he stopped 33 of the 36 shots he faced that night and the game moved into overtime. More strong play from the goalies forced a scoreless overtime period and the game went into a shootout. In the shootout, Brock Pflugh stopped the first shooter from Franklin Regional and a goal in the shootout from Joey Crimboli gave the Cats an early edge. Another stop from Pflugh gave freshman defenseman Preston Miller a chance to end the game with a goal. Preston beat the goalie with a wrist shot on the glove side. The Cats pushed through for a thrilling 4-3/SO victory to open up the season. Captain Luo Amatucci spoke on the play from the first-year freshmen this year. “High school hockey is big, faster than what these kids are used to. “Joey has had a big breakout year but a lot goes unnoticed like Preston and Colton on defense.” The team is very young, so strong play from freshman in the opening game of the year is a great sign for the Cats. 

 

The next game on the road at Hempfield was a rough loss for the Cats. The Cats and Spartans share the same home arena so this was almost like a home game for Latrobe. Despite this, offense was tough to come by for Latrobe in their game against the Spartans and ultimately lost 3-0. Although the Cats outshot the Spartans 17 to 14, there were no great scoring opportunities for the Cats leading to the shutout loss. Latrobe did not hang their heads after this tough loss and they looked forward to their upcoming true home opener against North Hills with confidence. 

 

The Cats showed great resilience after their loss to Hempfield. They bounced back with a dominating win at home against North Hills with a final score of 4-1. Freshman forward Nigel Morris opened up the scoring with an unassisted goal. Joey Crimboli made the game 2-0 with an even-strength goal assisted by junior defenseman Kaleb Trice and Jacob Hannah. The Cats continued their offensive attack with a goal from Dylan Morris on the power play that made the game 3-0. Dylan’s goal was assisted by Lou Amatucci, and the Cats were now in full control of the game. North Hills picked up their first and only goal on the power play to make the score 3-1. Brock Plugh had a stellar game in net for the Cats only conceding one goal coming on the opposition’s power play. Brock’s play and the strong offense helped push the Cats to the 4-1 win as the final goal for Latrobe came from Lou Amatucci on the power play, assisted by Kaleb Trice and Jacob Hannah. A strong game from Captain Lou Amatucci after a loss is big for the team. His leadership really shows in a moment like this, Lou spoke on his role of leadership as the captain. “Being a captain is a lot of helping the younger guys adapt to the next level and the guys have done a great job on helping them ease into that process with team dinners and team bonding to help everyone feel comfortable.” The game reinstilled a new level of confidence in the team. Being able to play a game like this following a rough loss gave the Cats a good mindset knowing that they can overcome almost any obstacles in their way this year. 

 

Cats celebrate a goal from Joey Crimboli (#40) to make the game VS. Penn Trafford 2-0

The Cats continued their season in a road game at Penn Trafford. The Cats entered the game with lots of confidence following the big win against North Hills. The confidence paid off as they dominated another game with a 5-2 victory. Brock Plugh once again had an impressive night in goal stopping 18 of the 20 shots that came his way. Big nights offensively came from Joey Crimboli who had a goal and three assists. Jacob Hannah also had a strong night as he picked up two goals and an assist. Junior forward Jackson Hayburn filled up the stat sheets as well with two goals and an assist. Other points for the Wildcats that night were from Junior defensemen Rober Rossi and Bryant Dumnich who both contributed an assist and Dylan Morris also picked up an assist on Crimboli’s goal. The Cats dominating this game gave them back-to-back wins moving them to a record of 3-1 on the season. Another strong game from Pflugh in net shows more incredible play from a lot of first-year players on this young team, as it is Brocks’s first year as the starting goalie. Lou Amitucci spoke on the play of these first-year players so far this year. “A lot of first-year guys, Brock has played outstanding, and tip your cap to them. Seniors help them in some ways but a lot is them playing their game and staying focused.” This record and the recent play from the boys put them as one of the top teams in the double A division and showed they were a force to be reckoned with. The Cats had a tough one coming up though in a game against the Thomas Jefferson Cougars who are the top-seeded team in the division. 

 

The Cougars entered the game with an impressive 4-0 record and they were playing on home ice. The Cats coming in as one of the top teams in the division with their 3-1 record made this game an exciting one. The Cats were dealt a heavy blow as starting goalie Brock Pflugh was dealing with a hip injury and was unable to play. Stepping into the spotlight for the big game was Senior goaltender Sawyer Ruffner who was making his season debut. Despite the absence of Plugh, the team was able to enter the 3rd period tied at 3 with the Cougars. Two goals from Joey Crimboli, one assisted by Jacob Hannah, and a goal from Lou Amatucci assisted by Preston Miller kept the Cats in the game. Sawyer had some tough shots put against him all night due to defensive breakdowns, but he stood tall in net and was a main reason why the Cats were still in this game. In the third period, the Ice Cats seemingly outplayed the Cougars and outshot them 15-7 in the final period but got outscored 4-0 in the third and lost 7-4. Three goals on 6 shots against Sawyer looks bad on the stats sheet but all 3 goals were once again defensive breakdowns leading to breakaways and high-percentage shots for Thomas Jefferson. The Cougars finished the game by putting in an empty net goal to finish the game. Losing by four goals gave the Cats a bad look for this game but they outshot the Cougars 28-27 and were in the game until the final minutes. These boys look to build off the loss and play a better defensive game going forward. The Cats hope for a different outcome when the Cougars come to play Latrobe at Kirk S. Nevin Arena later this year. 

 

The Cats look to continue to play strong hockey through the season as it is still a very young year. The WPIHL AA division that the Cats play in is a very tough division, and it is going to take outstanding team play to take the next step toward the playoffs. The Cats Skill and defensive game fits in with this division perfectly and they are a favorite for the playoffs out of this division. 

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About the Contributor
Ryan Baughman, Staff Writer
Ryan Baughman is a junior at Greater Latrobe highschool. He is 16 years old and is part of the Highpost team at Latrobe. Ryan is a huge sports fan and is able to contribute to the highpost team with many posts about the sporting events going on at school. Ryan is also apart of the Golf team here at Latrobe and is able to write and post about matches and other news regarding the team. Ryan plans on going to a college after highschool to major in journalism and hopes to later on in life continue to write about sports for a bigger audience like he does now for the high post team. This is Ryan’s first year on the high post team and is very excited to learn the ways to write good stories and learn his place on this talented high post team. Ryan works outside of school at Giannilli’s restaurant, he started working there just a few weeks ago. Ryan enjoys golfing for fun outside of school as well and spends most of his nights at the course trying to improve for school matches. He also enjoys spending time with family and friends on the weekends and sitting down to watch college football and NFL games. His favorite teams are the Penn state Nittany Lions and the Pittsburgh Steelers. Ryan can’t wait to get this year started and share all of his work throughout the next few months. 

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