Penn-Trafford hockey looking to add to the win column
The Penn-Trafford hockey team started the 2015 portion of its schedule right. The Warriors traveled to the Pegula Ice Arena to take on State College on Jan. 5, hungry for their first win.
Thanks to goals from Jordan Eisenstat, Matt Stumpf, Matt Simkovic and Nathan Mickey, Penn-Trafford escaped the ranks of the winless and skated away with a 4-3 win.
“The kids have been working hard all year,” Penn-Trafford coach Brian Lehneke said. “It is great to get that off our backs.”
The win improved the Warriors to 1-13-1 on the season.
A year after the team finished 14-9 and reached the Class AAA Penguins Cup semifinals, the Warriors have struggled to find consistency. Penn-Trafford was hit hard by graduation, losing three of its top four point producers.
Mixing the young team with players being injured or missing games due to amateur team commitments has led to the team seeing mixed results.
“I feel we are a better team than our record shows,” Lehneke said. “We have not played a game with our whole team. When it happens, we will see the results. We are young but we have a good bit of talent.”
The Warriors have been searching for a way to improve their offensive production. James Gojkovich and Eisenstat each have 11 points to lead the team. Mickey has four goals and six assists. Defenseman Jacob Graffius has contributed one goal and six assists.
“(Gojkovich) and (Mickey) are sophomores who hustle every game,” Lehneke said. “Mark Anthony does as well. His stats are a bit below them but he does so much for us. He has a heck of a shot.”
Penn-Trafford has benefited from the strong play of goalie Eric Phelps. The senior has made 546 saves – a Class AAA best which is 100 more than Christopher Rosselot of State College who is second with 437. Phelps save percentage is 86, which ranks seventh in AAA amongst goalies who have 10 or more starts.
“He is keeping us in every game,” Lehneke said. “We couldn't ask anymore from him. He has been seeing 40, 50 and maybe even 60 shots a game. He has been tremendous.”
To help relieve some of the assault Phelps has been under, Lehneke said the team has been focusing on puck control.
“We want to keep the puck away from the other team,” Lehneke said.
The Warriors return to the ice next week when they host Seneca Valley on Friday at 6:15.