Goaltenders excel as Kittanning and Freeport skate to 1-1 tie
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Few current PIHL Class A goaltenders possess better credentials than Kittanning senior Cameron Langham, a third-year starter whose career save percentage hovers right around 90.
On Thursday night at the Belmont Complex, Langham looked across the rink at a netminder whose resume might one day resemble the Kittanning senior's.
In his first varsity start, Freeport freshman Matt Huston stood as solid as Langham, and held Kittanning (2-1-1) more than six goals below its average in a 1-1 tie. Huston finished with 30 saves for the Yellowjackets (1-0-1), while Langham had 34.
“I was a little bit tense,” Huston said. “You go into the game keeping yourself ready and confident, but no, I wasn't expecting that.”
Kittanning put 18 shots on net in the first period, but Huston held strong. Most notably, he stuck a left leg out to deny Class A's goal- and point-leader, sophomore Christian Miller, on a breakaway with 4:26 remaining.
Langham also stopped several Freeport scoring chances, including using his blocker to knock down a rising wrist shot from Tyler Sherrieb.
“I'm sure Freeport feels the same way, but we felt like we played well enough to win,” Kittanning coach Jamie King said. “We played really well in the corners, played good team defense, got a ton of shots. It's just, we didn't get rewarded for it tonight.”
Three power plays for Kittanning in the first period and two in the second for Freeport failed to break a scoreless tie. Neither team scored during an odd-man situation — the Yellowjackets were 0 for 5 on the power play and the Wildcats were 0 for 4.
“I'd liked to have seen us have a little more offense,” Freeport coach Dave Hepler said. “To me, there wasn't much flow to the game.”
Nicholas Rusak gave Freeport a 1-0 lead with 3:32 left in the second period when he positioned himself at the top of the crease, received Devin Christy's dish from behind the net and slipped a shot by Langham.
Hunter Grafton answered for Kittanning eight seconds later, though. Off the faceoff, Christian Miller found Grafton, who streaked into the offensive zone and fired a shot over Huston's shoulder.
Langham and Huston resumed their stifling ways in the third period and overtime.
“Excellent second-rebound saves and reaction saves ... you can't ask more from a goalie than what he did tonight,” Hepler said of Huston.
The last breakaway drama of the game belonged to Langham as he poked a puck away from Cole Hepler with 15 seconds left in overtime.
“It was really a goalie battle,” King said. “I'm not disappointed in really anything about our game other than the fact that we tied.”
Bill West is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.