Latrobe faces Parkland in quest for 4th Pennsylvania Cup hockey title

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Latrobe will be playing for its fourth state hockey title in the past six years when it takes on Parkland at 1:30 p.m. today at the Ice Works arena in Aston, Delaware County.

Parkland was the runner-up in the Class AA Flyers Cup tournament, losing to Cherokee High School of Marlton, N.J., a town about 15 miles east of Philadelphia. But as a New Jersey school, Cherokee isn't eligible to compete in the Pennsylvania championship, so Parkland, in Allentown, will represent the eastern side of the state.

Parkland (20-1-1) suffered its only loss of the season to Cherokee, 6-3, in the Flyers Cup final.

Parkland, which entered the Flyers Cup as the No. 11 seed, won the Lehigh Valley Scholastic Hockey League title for the fourth year in a row, but had never won a Flyers Cup match before this season.

But the Trojans knocked off No. 6 Abington, 3-1; No. 3 Downington East, 3-0; and No. 2 North Penn, 2-1, to advance to the final before falling to Cherokee.

Goaltender Robert Stock has been outstanding for the Trojans throughout the playoffs, stopping 108 of 116 shots with a 2.03 goals-against average.

Brett McHale leads Parkland with six points (three goals, three assists) in the playoffs.

Latrobe coach John Winebrenner said he is familiar with several of Parkland's players through amateur hockey.

Winebrenner coaches the Westmoreland U18 Midget AA team and said that many of Parkland's players compete on Lehigh Valley's amateur squad.

"I know they've got a lot of talent," Winebrenner said.

Latrobe (19-3) will be trying for its fourth state hockey title.

The Wildcats won three consecutive Class AA titles from 2008-10.

Three players on this season's team -- goaltender Shane Brudnok, Josh Singley and Robert Vasinko -- played on the 2010 team as freshmen.

Brudnok, who has two shutouts in three games in this postseason, wants to depart on top.

"To go out like that would just be great," Brudnok said.

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