MECHANICSBURG — Jesse Troutman would not be denied.
The Red Land senior pried the puck loose along the boards early in the third period of Thursday's Central Pennsylvania Interscholastic Hockey League playoff game at Twin Ponds West and slid between a pair of Warwick defenders before back-handing a shot to the top shelf for his third goal of the game.
Troutman's hat trick paced West Shore — with players from Red Land and Cedar Cliff — to a 4-0 win over the Warriors and into the March 1 Viola Division championship game at Hersheypark Arena. Red Land's Billy Keeney sealed the title-game berth with a 26-save shutout.
"I'm good along the boards," Troutman said."I'm not really a fancy guy. I've had my moments, but I'm more of an along-the-boards, win-the-battles kind of guy."
GOAL, West Shore. It's a hatty for Jesse Troutman. He wins the battle along the boards and goes upstairs with 14:52 left. West Shore leads Warwick 4-0. pic.twitter.com/0vsIikyX76— Tim Gross (@TimGrossLNP) February 22, 2019
Troutman chased down a puck along the boards before flinging a shot past Warwick goaltender Logan Hann (29 saves) to open the scoring 2:32 into the first period. Forty-five seconds into the second frame, he absorbed a hit at center ice before carrying the puck in and doubling the lead with a shot from just inside the blue line.
"Tonight, he was the best kid on the ice," West Shore coach Chris Moore said of Troutman. "He's been our top scorer all year, our offensive catalyst. He came up big tonight."
Mike Daily added another second-period goal for West Shore, and Huy Nguyen assisted on all three of Troutman's goals.
At the other end of the ice, Keeney stymied the Warriors (15-4-1-0) came up empty against Keeney, who also blanked them with 22 saves in the regular-season finale Feb. 4.
Billy Keeney stopped all six shots he faced so far for West Shore, none better than this chance on a Brady Zimmerman breakaway 6 minutes in pic.twitter.com/NFTr1luCVx— Tim Gross (@TimGrossLNP) February 22, 2019
"It seemed like every pass went awry," said Warwick coach Tim Emenheiser, whose Warriors face either Hempfield or Penn Manor in an elimination game Monday for the other championship-game berth. "We didn't get a lot of shots, but when we did, the rebound seemed to go the other way. Guys would go to their backhand, where they wouldn't get much on (shots). With a lot of that, you've got to make stuff happen by moving your legs and being in the right position."
Also in the Viola Division playoffs
Penn Manor 4, MSM United 3 (OT): The Comets (15-6-0-0), with players from Penn Manor, Lancaster Catholic, Lancaster Country Day and Solanco, stayed alive and advanced in the elimination bracket when Lancaster Catholic's Liam Besecker poked in the game-winning goal 1:16 into the overtime period. Besecker led the Comets with two goals while Penn Manor's Neel Mahapatra made 10 saves in goal.
The United (7-9-1-3) forced overtime when a Bailey Kreitz goal tied the game, 3-3, 5:25 into the third period. Goaltender Vaughn Hennessey made 25 saves in the team's season-ending loss.
The Comets advance to face Hempfield in an elimination game scheduled for 7:15 p.m. Friday at Lancaster Ice Rink.