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Greater Latrobe Three-Peats as State Champs

by Caitlin Kasunich / Pittsburgh Penguins
The Greater Latrobe Wildcats picked up their third consecutive Class AA state championship title after defeating the Flyers Cup winner Downingtown East Cougars, 3-2, in Thursday’s Pennsylvania State High School Championship game held at Mellon Arena.

In a close contest last Saturday, the Wildcats overcame West Allegheny, 7-5, to win their third straight Penguins Cup championship. Senior forward Jayson Angus, who had two goals and one assist in the state championship game, said that the team felt both anxious and excited at the start of the contest.

“You may have a couple of jitters through the first couple of shifts,” he said. “But once you get your feet moving, you’re alright. You just concentrate on playing, and you have so much adrenaline going through you. It’s just a blast.”

The Wildcats made their mark just 3:02 into the first period. After receiving a pass from freshman forward Joshua Singley, Angus skated over the blue line and took a shot from the crease that sailed past the shoulder of Downingtown senior goaltender Ryan Lord. Greater Latrobe quickly took the lead, 1-0.

It’s a great feeling. This is the first one that we’ve had in Mellon Arena. It’s a great feeling to know that that is the last time that I’m going to be on the ice. It’s a good way to go out - Jayson Angus
During four-on-four play at 9:27 into the period, Angus continued to speed through traffic to send the puck to Josh Harris at the point, who slapped a one-timer that junior forward Zach LaDuke tipped past Lord. Already up by two markers, the Wildcats were able to hold off the Cougars for the remainder of the first.

After failing to take advantage of four power plays throughout the second period, Downingtown finally made one count at 11:42 into the period when junior forward Ryan Urban sent a pass to senior forward Shane Sturgis from the bottom of the far circle. Sturgis then sent a wrist shot past Wildcats freshman goaltender Shane Brudnok to record the team’s first tally into the game.

The Cougars continued to assert their presence at 4:50 into the third period when Sturgis passed the puck to senior forward Jason DeFazio from the left point, who sent a shot from the far circle into the net to notch the team’s second power-play goal of the game. The competition was tied, 2-2.

But Greater Latrobe’s hunger for a third championship sparked another goal at 8:32 into the period when Angus picked up his second marker of the game. Angus received a pass from LaDuke at the crease and tapped the puck into the net to score the game-winning goal.

“That is what I have been taught by all of my coaches – just go hard to the net and good things happen,” Angus said. “There’s an example of it right there. I saw the puck cross the goal line, and I was just so pumped that it went in, and it put us up.”

Greater Latrobe celebrates their third consecutive state title.
Despite calling a timeout at 6:28 and pulling the goaltender at 1:18, Downingtown was unable to revive itself later on in the game, and the Wildcats ended up beating the Cougars, 3-2, when the final buzzer sounded.

LaDuke said that winning three consecutive state championship titles has always been in the back of his mind throughout the season.

“Obviously, we knew that we wanted to get the win,” he said. “Being here three years in a row has been incredible. I wanted nothing more than to get the win. It was great to get a goal and an assist along with it.”

Angus added that he will always remember skating around the ice with the Cup in Mellon Arena during the building’s final year in operation.

“It’s a great feeling,” he said. “This is the first one that we’ve had in Mellon Arena. It’s a great feeling to know that that is the last time that I’m going to be on the ice. It’s a good way to go out.”

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