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Haeffner, Conti catapult Duchesne hockey into third Wickenheiser Cup championship game berth in program history

Duchesne sophomore forward Troy Haeffner recorded his first hat trick of the season to help the Pioneers beat Parkway West 7-3 on Friday, March 1, 2019, at Rec-Plex in St. Peters. Duchesne will face Lafayette on March 13, 2019, for the Wickenheiser Cup Championship. [Kevin Boschert photo]

Duchesne sophomore forward Troy Haeffner had a career night when it counted and Vincent Conti continued his out of this world winter in the biggest test of the season to date for the Pioneers.

Haeffner erupted for his first hat trick of the season and Conti added two goals, helping power the Pioneers to a 7-3 win over Parkway West in the second and clinching game of the Mid-States Wickenheiser Cup semifinals Mar. 1 at Rec-Plex in St. Peters.

Duchesne (19-5-3), which took the first game of the series 6-3 on Feb. 21 will face Lafayette for the Wickenheiser Cup championship on Wednesday at Enterprise Center. The championship game berth is the third in program history for Duchesne.

“It’s the way of working with the team that we always have good chemistry out there together,” Haeffner said. “It’s not really just me, it’s our team and how we work together and if we’re working tonight, then we’re all going to have a good game and that’s what happened.”

Haeffner got the Pioneers going late in the first period with a power-play goal.

“It was huge, it was a great momentum booster and that’s what got everything started,” Haeffner said.

That led to a goal from Derek Cagle. Haeffner’s second goal of the night made it 3-0 just before the end of the first period.

Duchesne coach Joe Rupp was pleased to see Haeffner step up in the semifinal clincher.

“It was a great game played by Troy,” Rupp said. “He gets out there on our power play a bit and Troy got one on the net early and he didn’t stop from there. He had three goals and two assists and he really helped out the team and did what we expected of him.”

Duchesne senior forward Vincent Conti fires a shot past Parkway West goalie Luke Leahy for his second goal of the night in the third period Pioneers Mid-States Wickenheiser Cup semifinal series Game two win at Rec-Plex in St. Peters on March 1, 2019. [Kevin Boschert photo]

Trevor Begley added a goal at the end of the first period. Haeffner scored his final goal of the night midway through the second period to make it a commanding 5-0 Pioneers lead.

Conti, who has scored a whopping 51 goals this season, had another productive night with two goals.

He was more than glad to share the big stage with Haeffner.

“It’s great,” Conti said of Haeffner’s big night. “I love Troy, he one of our best young players and just seeing him so happy and having a really good game, it’s great.”

Conti’s second goal of the game came in the final five minutes as Duchesne goalie Jack Boschert made 23 saves and would not let the Longhorns get closer than four goals down the stretch.

The atmosphere around Duchesne has been electric since the semifinal win with a daily countdown from students marking the hours and minutes until the championship game Wednesday night.

Conti is excited about the chance the team has to finish its goal of winning the Wickenheiser Cup to honor the memory of Coach Rupp’s late father, former coach Dan Rupp, who passed away from cancer on Jan. 9, 2018.

“It’s amazing and a dream come true, honestly I’ve always wanted to play in the Wickenheiser Cup growing up as a young kid and growing up and playing for my team is a dream come true,” said Conti.

In order to beat Lafayette and bring home the Wicknheiser Cup, the Pioneers will need to continue to be productive with the puck and solid on defense and in the goal.

“Strong play, strong goaltending and we just need to keep putting the puck in the net as we have been,” Rupp said.







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