Penn-Trafford hockey looking to end slide
TribLIVE Sports Videos
The Penn-Trafford hockey team finds itself in a bit of a scoring — and winning — drought.
Since clinching a PIHL Class AAA playoff berth with a 4-3 victory over Pittsburgh Central Catholic on Feb. 4, the Warriors (11-8) had lost four straight games heading into Tuesday night's game against Peters Township. Penn-Trafford dropped 3-2 decisions to Norwin and North Allegheny, lost, 7-4, to Canon-McMillan and fell, 8-1, to Butler in its most recent game last week.
“This is a pretty big test for our team,” Penn-Trafford coach Brian Lehneke said. “We're going to really find out what we're made of going into the end of the season and into the playoffs. We're struggling scoring goals, and we just need to focus on the things we were doing at the beginning of the season, the first half of the season, as we continue on.”
One of the Warriors' biggest problems in their recent slide, Lehneke said, was their inability to score. Penn-Trafford ranks second in Class AAA with 102 goals, but the Warriors are averaging just over two goals per game during their losing streak.
“Their goalie's shutting us down, the other team's getting in front of our shots (and) we're missing a lot of opportunities that we didn't before,” Lehneke said. “It does happen. That Norwin game, I think we had about 12 shots go over the goalie's shoulder right over the crossbar. A couple more inches, and we score four. It's just a matter of inches that we're missing in two of those games.”
Lehneke said a common problem during losing streaks is players' tendency to “push too hard,” trying to turn things around. He said he would caution his own squad against doing that.
“We've got to get back to what we were doing right in the beginning of the year, and that's the simple things: not pushing the envelope too much, not trying too hard, not trying to do everything yourself,” Lehneke said. “We've got to do more teamwork. When we move the puck, we're as good a team as anybody. That's what we've got to get back to.”
While the losing streak dropped Penn-Trafford into a tie for first place in Section 3-AAA with Butler and a tie for fifth place in the overall Class AAA standings, the Warriors still have the potential to host a first-round playoff game. Twelve teams make the playoffs, with eight hosting at least one playoff game.
“The teams are so tight, and there's a few teams that need to play a couple games still,” Lehneke said. “It's hard to say. I think we can catch a home game for the playoffs. But honestly, we've played very good on the road, and we've also played good at home. I'm not really concerned about that.”
The Warriors had a chance to right things in their regular-season finale, which ended past the deadline for this week's edition. Peters Township was tied for the No. 1 seed in Class AAA entering Tuesday's game.
“It's not the end of the world if we lose, obviously, but (in terms of) getting back on a winning streak I'd say it's pretty important,” Lehneke said. “Especially right before the playoffs, it'd be a huge win. Peters Township's fighting for the top seed, so I'm sure they're going to come out hard.”
Doug Gulasy is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at 412-388-5830, via email at email@example.com or via Twitter @dgulasy_Trib.
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.
- Distracted Steelers show nothing in loss to Eagles
- Rossi: Time with Penguins taught Bylsma importance of stability
- Western Pa. competitors find success at national triathlon event in Milwaukee
- Steelers notebook: Keisel dresses, but doesn’t play
- NFL could delay punishment
- Google Maps opens business doors to online views for shoppers
- LaBar: Hulk Hogan wants to fight Brock Lesnar?
- West Mifflin prepares for first day of school
- Will soft foes mean fast start to the season for Pitt football team?
- Youngwood shelter removes 44 dogs, 9 cats from shuttered Fayette SPCA
- New Kensington slaying victims identified