Last Updated: Tue Nov 16, 2021 - 10:01AM
Franklin Regional jumped out to a 4-0 lead and used a pair of shorthanded goals by Matty Knizner to claim a 7-2 victory against South Fayette in a matchup of two of the top teams in PIHL Class AA on Monday at the Palmer Imaging Arena in Delmont.
With the win, the Panthers improved to 5-0-0, and they remain in second in the Class AA Eastern Division with 10 points. The Lions, meanwhile, dropped to 4-2-0, and are now tied with Meadville for second place in the Western Division, with eight points.
The host Panthers netted the opening goal on the powerplay less than four minutes into the game, as Dan Rafferty jammed in the puck following a wrap-around chance. Max Rutkowski added to the FR lead later in the first period, and Knizner registered his first shorthanded tally by roofing a backhander on a breakaway with less than five minutes left in the frame.
Staked to a 3-0 edge after the opening period, the Panthers extended their advantage on a goal by Zach Abdallah approximately three minutes into the second. Although South Fayette’s Wes Schwarzmiller notched a 5-of-3 powerplay goal to put the Lions on the board, Knizner followed shortly thereafter with another goal on the penalty kill that nearly mirrored his first marker.
Although the Lions again pulled within three goals heading into the third, FR sealed the outcome with a pair of goals in the first minute of the stanza, as captain Chase Williams scored on a magnificent breakaway move, and Zachary Zeto followed with a spinning shot 32 seconds later to make it 7-2.
Knizner led FR with a goal and two assists, while Williams, Rafferty, Roman Cicco, and Adam Hoff each provided multi-point efforts. Between the pipes, Nolan Shilling made 24 saves to earn the win.
Playing without top scorer Trent Dalessandro and All-Star Billy Kiray, the Lions did not have any players record multiple points. Both goaltenders, Graydon Sarnowski and Brandon Timmins, saw time in net, as Sarnowski yielded five goals and made 21 saves, while Timmins permitted a pair of goals and registered eight stops.
Franklin Regional will take the ice again next Monday, hosting Shaler Area at the Palmer Imaging Arena.
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