The student news site of Greater Latrobe High School

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

Ice Cats Embrace New Look This Season

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Jacob Hannah (#68) and linemates celebrate goal

The 2022-2023 season for the Latrobe Ice Cats came to an end in the Penguin Cup semifinals with a loss to South Fayette. The scoreboard was not the only loss for the team, as thirteen seniors had just played their final game for the Latrobe Wildcats. Everyone knew this day was coming. With such a senior lead team it was just a matter of time until those guys were lost. This would lead to a tough offseason for the Cats. Finding the right guys to replace every one of those seniors was a big task, but the coaching staff did just that. The coaches were able to gather a group of eight first-year players, and three freshmen, who have all stepped into their roles on this team perfectly. These guys have helped power the Ice Cats to an impressive 9-2 start, which is good enough for the current top seed in the AA division. 

 

One of the players who has stepped into a huge role is junior goalie Brock Pflugh. Brock has been pushed into the starting goalie position in his first season on varsity. Brock has had many aspects in his game that he worked on to make the jump to the varsity level. 

 

One of the big things he worked on was communication. Brock said, “Since the beginning of the season I’ve realized that for us to be successful defensively, it’s crucial for me to communicate better with my teammates on the ice. Goalies are the only players on the ice who have a full view of it at all times, so it’s very important for me to help guide my teammates into making the right plays based off what im seeing.” 

 

Brock has had an extremely solid season to this date posting an 9-1 record, a .909 save percentage, and a 1.86 goals-against average. Brock has had some very strong moments this season where he has kept the team in games. 

Ice Cats celebrate shootout win in season opener vs Franklin Regional

In the first game of the season, Brock’s great play pushed the Cats to a 4-3 shootout victory. Brock made some incredible saves down the stretch of this game and stopped all three shootout attempts to give the Cats the win. That shootout win was Brock’s first start at the varsity level, and posting a performance like that gave him and the rest of the team tons of confidence heading into the season. 

 

This game set higher standards for their season. Brock said, “The season opener against Franklin Regional was such a huge game for us. Before that game, we were not viewed as much of a contender for a Pens Cup or even playoffs, but that game turned some heads and really helped us believe in ourselves. It really boosted my confidence in myself and our team as a whole.”  

 

Brock is a big part of the team’s early success, and as it is his first season at the varsity level, he continues to improve every game. 

 

Another first-year player who has done more than anyone could’ve expected this season is freshman forward Joey Crimboli. Joey has posted a team-high 19 points this season on 13 goals and 6 assists. Joey’s 13 goals has put him 4th among all AA players and leads all freshman in AA. 

 

This breakout season from Joey has been a huge part of the team’s success so far this season. The teams hot start has helped everyone on the team. Joey said, “I think by the hot start we had as a whole group we can now step into mid-year with a sort of edge on all of our opponents and more determination than them to stay with the hot start.”  Crimboli has been very consistent all year, posting a point in 9 of their 11 games this season. 

Joey Cimboli(#40) sends pass to line mate Jacob Hannah (#68)

Everyone on the team has made playing varsity as a freshman for Joey easier. He said, “I owe everything with making things easier to my teammates and coaches. All of them have helped me through the year and gotten me to the level I need to be at.” Joey’s great play this year has worked him onto the top line with junior forward Jackson Hayburn and senior forward Jacob Hannah. Joey has also been placed on the top power play unit with some of the best players on the team. This has helped him adapt to the next level of play. Joey said, “Being on those lines help me to adapt in the form of being able to play with the older more experienced players that can help me, and show me the way throughout the season.”Crimboli’s early success was a surprise to most as it is only his freshman season, but as the season goes on his excellent play is almost expected now. He hopes to stay at a high level all year and help the team make their mark this season.

 

A lot of seniors have taken the next step into big roles as leaders on the team this year. One of the biggest roles being the captains of the team.  The captaincy  was taken over this year by senior defenseman Louie Amatucci. The two alternate Captains for this season are senior forwards Jacob Hannah and Nik Guidos. Louie and his fellow captains have played a big part in making the change from JV to varsity much smoother for all these first-year players and freshmen. 

 

Goalie Brock Pflugh said, “ All of our captains, Louie, Jacob, and Nik, have done a great job creating a welcoming environment for the first year varsity players. They know how to keep the new and young players motivated which is super huge for our team. They are playing a big role in our success.”  Jacob and Louie have taken a big role on the ice as well running the top power play, playing on the top defensive pairing, and top line. They have shown incredible leadership on and off the ice all year. Jacob is second on the team in points this year with 5 goals and 13 assists, and Louie has had big plays in key moments all season. None bigger than his overtime-winning goal against Norwin to move the Cats to their 9-2 record, and put them at the top of the division. 

 

The Ice Cats also are playing with a new head coach this season. Coach Adam Ferguson, an Ice Cat alum, is in his first season as the head coach for Latrobe. Ferguson has been a big part of the Cats 9-2 start. He has done an incredible job getting his young group ready for the tasks at hand this year. Coach Ferguson has set up a healthy system full of speed and skill. The Cats look for lots of breakaways and odd-man rushes in this system. Quick shifts are another big part of the team to keep the players fast and strong in the late moments of the game. This has shown to be successful for the Ice Cats as they are 2-0 this season in games past regulation, with an overtime and a shootout win. 

 

Ferguson has pieced together a great power-play unit with a combination of size and skill. The Ice Cats’ power play likes to battle in front of the net and create screened shots from the point. That power play system has worked very well for the Cats as they have scored in 7 of their 11 games this season while up a man. The season is still young and coach Furguson has many challenges ahead in their upcoming schedule, but his staff, Jeff Rossi, Blake Rossi, Josh Werner, and Chris Mendillo, have handled adversity very well in this young season. The Cats look to continue this play down the stretch and move into the playoffs as a top seed. 

 

The Ice Cats have a tough upcoming schedule, playing some big rivals and top teams in the division. The coaching staff and players look to continue their strong season, continue to play with confidence, and continue to prove themselves to other teams that they are a top dog in the AA division. Every player looks to continue playing their role on the team and in Ferguson’s system. The success from the team can’t be put on just one player as it has been a true group effort this season. Coaching and big plays in key moments have been the biggest part of the team’s record so far. If the boys continue this play, and continue to get better every game, they will be a favorite for the Penguins Cup and even the State Championship.

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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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