East Xtra: High-scoring line boosts Penn-Trafford
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Heading into its game against Hempfield Jan. 10, Penn-Trafford was 0-10 and had scored just 17 goals.
But in that game, coach Brian Lehneke moved sophomore forward Jordan Eisenstat onto a line with juniors Jonah Graffius and Jake Miller.
Since then, the trio has been virtually unstoppable.
"Even since the Hempfield game, we've never looked back," Penn-Trafford coach Brian Lehneke said.
Eisenstat, Graffius and Miller have scored 24 of the team's 34 goals in the six games since being paired together. In that span, the Warriors have won three games, including a win against playoff-bound Norwin.
"Ever since we've started playing together, we've just started to score more," Miller said. "We all move the puck really well and are able to break out well."
The line switch was made out of necessity. Graffius and Miller had been paired with Pat Cortazzo for much of the season, but Cortazzo was injured prior to the game against Hempfield.
So Eisenstat was moved up to the top line against the Spartans, and the move immediately paid dividends.
The trio scored all seven goals in a 7-5 win against Hempfield, with Eisenstat finding the back of the net four times.
The Warriors followed that game by giving Canon-McMillan, a top-five team, all it could handle. The two squads entered the final period tied at 3 before the Big Macs pulled away for a 6-3 win. Eisenstat and Graffius each had a goal in that game.
Eisenstat added two more goals in an 8-3 loss to Bethel Park before the Warriors got back in the win column against Norwin.
The Knights, who entered the game 8-7, had no answer for the Warriors' top line, which scored seven of the team's nine goals in a 9-6 win. Miller and Graffius each had a hat trick.
The Warriors followed it up with an 11-1 win against overmatched McDowell Friday in Erie, as Graffius had his second consecutive hat trick.
With the three recent victories, Penn-Trafford entered this week just two points behind Mt. Lebanon for the final playoff spot in PIHL Class AAA.
Miller said more offensive performances such as the one against Norwin could push the team into the postseason.
"We need to continue to play like we did against Norwin," Miller said. "We do need to play some better defense. We're putting the puck in the net, but we have to allow fewer goals."
First Published February 7, 2013 12:00 am