Latrobe captures 4th PIHL Class AA title
Shane Brudnok was in goal the last time Latrobe won a PIHL Class AA Penguins Cup title in 2010.
The senior stood tall in that game and stood even taller Wednesday at Consol Energy Center as Latrobe claimed its fourth title in six years in a 5-0 rout of Pine-Richland.
“This time I took a step back and took it all in and enjoyed the moment,” said Brudnok, who made 17 of his 28 saves in the third period. “At the beginning, Pine-Richland was very solid. We did whatever it took defensively and played solid. Winning another title means a lot. Getting the win and getting the shutout is amazing.”
Latrobe (19-2), which also won PIHL titles in 2008 and '09, advances to play Cherokee in the state championship game Saturday at Ice Works in Aston.
The Wildcats lost an overtime decision to Bishop Canevin in 2011 PIHL title game.
They weren't about to let that happen again.
Latrobe's defense killed off two 5-on-3 penalties in the third period and kept the high-scoring duo of Dillon Kessy and Zack Richey off the scorecard.
“Shane always plays big in big games,” said senior Josh Singley, who had an assist. “We were counting for him to do the same, and he always pulls it out for us.”
A three-goal second period sparked the Wildcats. Junior Daniel Staffen broke a scoreless tie when his shot from between the circles ricocheted off a Pine-Richland defender and past goalie Brendan Bagnato at 7:52.
“I knew it was important to get a jump on them early,” Latrobe coach John Winebrenner said. “Staffen's goal made a big difference for us.”
Freshman Dalton Hunter, who scored two goals and had an assist, and Adam Ferguson scored 41 seconds apart with eight minutes left in the period to extend the lead to 3-0.
“We were OK in the first period, but we made a couple little mistakes and they capitalized on them and we fell too far behind. We had some chances, but we couldn't get it into the net,” Pine-Richland coach Michael Bagnato said. “We needed to get a goal. We weren't getting enough shots or pressure on Shane to get any action going.”
Hunter and Brendan Johns finished the scoring in the third period.