With the loss of its top four scorers from the 2012-13 season, Moon Area was counting on senior Dustin Egenlauf to provide much of the offense this season.
The only problem was, Egenlauf had to miss the first five games of the season for what he said were school-related issues.
The Tigers lost all five games.
"It was tough not being out there," Egenlauf said. "I was motivated when I got back [to the team] to try and get us out of the hole."
Moon has won five of 10 games since Egenlauf's return. A senior forward, he has contributing a team-best 14 goals and 27 points. His play merited selection to the PIHL Class AA All-Star Game next month.
Egenlauf has five multi-goal games, including two hat tricks in 10 contests, but he takes just as much pride in his performance against Franklin Regional on Dec. 20, when he didn't score any goals but had five assists in a 9-1 win.
"I'm a pass-first kind of guy," Egenlauf said. "I have a playmaker style. I try to get everyone involved."
Egenlauf is on a line with Alex Ottaviani and Jake Fortwangler. This trio has been together throughout their high school careers and has combined for 22 of the team's 57 goals this season.
"It definitely helps that we've been together so long," Egenlauf said. "We know what we want to do -- work down low and cycle the puck."
Egenlauf and teammates have been clicking especially well lately.
The line had four of the team's five goals (with Egenlauf having a hat trick) in a 6-5 overtime loss to Chartiers Valley Jan. 9. In Moon's next game, Egenlauf had two goals and an assist while Fortwangler had a goal and Ottaviani had two helpers in a 6-5 upset of Hampton.
Egenlauf said those two results have given the team some confidence as the Tigers fight for a playoff spot.
"We took the positives from the Chartiers Valley game and used the same attitude against Hampton," Egenlauf said. "If we carry that same mind-set, we can play with anyone in the league."
Moon (5-10) entered the week tied for eighth place in the league with North Hills (5-9), who has played one fewer game. Montour (3-10-2) and West Allegheny (4-10) sit just two points behind.
The top eight teams make it to the Class AA Penguins Cup playoffs and Egenlauf doesn't want to leave with any regrets.
"For me this is my last season of high school hockey," Egenlauf said. "Right now, we're tied for the last playoff spot and I've got to do what I can do and try and push this team forward."