Frazier falls to Indiana in hockey program's debut game
A new chapter in Frazier High School sports began Thursday evening, as the Commodores took to the ice for their first-ever PIHL hockey game.
“It's a heck of an opportunity for our guys who might not get it otherwise,” Frazier coach Matt Olbrys said.
Frazier's first game went down as a loss, a 6-1 setback to Indiana, but that did little to diminish the fact the Commodores had made a bit of school history.
“It would have been nice to win, but for our first game, I'm pretty sure it went pretty well,” captain Nicholas Farrell said.
Frazier, which will play its home games at the Rostraver Ice Garden, was presented with a huge challenge in its inaugural game, battling an Indiana squad that finished 18-6 last season and won the PIHL Chiefs Cup championship.
But the Commodores certainly didn't look out of place, especially in the early going.
In a penalty-filled first period, each team had chances, but both goalies stood tall. Frazier's Sean Bednar (28 saves) and Indiana's Austin Moody (18 saves) kept the game scoreless through the first 16 minutes. But in the final minute of the first, Indiana broke the tie when Jess Bartholow ripped a shot past Bednar to make it, 1-0. Still, the Commodores were easily within striking distance.
“We had a heck of a first period,” Olbrys said. “If we play like that for all three periods, we have no problems.”
Unfortunately for the Commodores, they couldn't maintain any sort of offensive pressure for the majority of the final two periods.
Indiana, on the other hand, kept generating chances and was rewarded with three second-period goals. Cole Shaffer, Thomas Petro and Austin Jasper each scored to give the Indians (1-0) a 4-0 lead.
In the third period, Frazier recorded its first-ever PIHL goal thanks to a tremendous individual effort by Brian Gregg. While killing a penalty, Gregg stole the puck at his own blue line and raced in on a breakaway. Moody made the save and deflected the puck into the corner. But a determined Gregg gathered the puck, beat a defender out of the corner, cut to the slot and slid a shot underneath Moody for an unassisted shorthanded goal.
But the excitement of Gregg's goal didn't last long, as Petro and Patrick Hunter responded with goals in quick succession to complete the scoring. Petro and Bartholow each finished with three points, and Hunter added three assists for a four-point night.
While Indiana skated away with the win, Frazier was left with a sense of accomplishment as well. The goal of forming the team had been a process that started in March.
“When we first started, nobody knew how to work together,” said Farrell, noting the team also features players from Uniontown, South Allegheny and Belle Vernon high schools. “But we just had to step up and we did start working together, and I feel like we've gotten a lot better from the first time we were together. And to play like this is amazing.”
Jason Black is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at email@example.com or 724-626-3534.