Before the Storm

‘The Save’

Storm Years

Players Tributes

Fans Tributes


Frank Pietrangelo

Frank Pietrangelo - Before The Storm : 1970 - 1998

“I started playing when I was six. I was a forward. I couldn’t skate very well and spent most of my time in the goal crease and the puck would go the other way. I spent so much time in the net I decided to be a goaltender.

I was fortunate because from being young my team did well and I seemed to be a good goaltender compared to other goaltenders my own age. When I was 15 I got invited to a junior team then I started to get offered scholarships and that was the first time I realised I had talent. I was actually offered 23 scholarships” - Frank Pietrangelo, taken from an interview in Manchester Storm game programme dated 9 November 1998.

Frank went onto the University of Minnesota and played there for four seasons from 1982/83 to 1985/86, posting a 51-23-4 record over the four years with a goals against average (GAA) of around 3.5 each year. While at University, Frank was drafted by Pittsburgh Penguins with their 4th choice (64th overall) in the 1983 entry draft.

When he finished university, Pittsburgh were happy with their current goaltending position but did not want to sell Frank and so he had a trial with their IHL farm team, the Muskegon Lumberjacks. Frank himself claims that the year he spent with Muskegon in 1986/87, posting a 23-11-0 regular season and 15-10-4 playoffs, was a turning point in his career:

“That was probably my biggest turning point, Rick lee was my coach...... He really turned me into a professional goaltender. He taught me a lot.” - Frank Pietrangelo, Manchester Storm programme 9/11/1998

Following his successful season with Muskegon, the Penguins signed Frank and he split the next three seasons, 1987/88 to 1989/90 between the Penguins and Lumberjacks. In 1988/89, he posted a 8-1-0 post season with a 3.07 GAA to help the Muskegon Lumberjacks win the Turner Cup Championship.

In the 1990/91 season, Frank finally got to spend the full season as backup netminder with the Penguins in the NHL, posting a 10-11-1 regular season and a 4-1-0 playoffs. It was during the 1990/91 playoffs that Frank made a name for himself throughout hockey. In the first round of the playoffs, with the Penguins trailing New Jersey 3-2 in the series and Tom Barrasso injured, Frank started both games six and seven. During the first period of game six, with the Penguins leading 2-1, Frank pulled off a save against Peter Stastny of the Devils that was so amazing it has been dubbed “The Save” in hockey circles. The Penguins went on to win both games, 4-3 and 4-0 respectively, on the way to their first ever Stanley Cup..

Frank talks about getting to play games 6 and 7 - Realplayer clip

Frank Pietrangelo - Pittsburgh Penguins

The 1991/92 season was vastly different from the Stanley Cup winning exploits of 1990/91. After making 25 appearances for the Penguins in 1990/91, Frank made only 5 appearances in 1991/92 (with a 2-1-0 record) before the Penguins decided to trade him. On 10 March 1992, Frank was traded to the Hartford Whalers for their 3rd (Sven Butenschon) and 7th (Serge Aubin) round choices in the 1994 Entry draft. Frank finished the 1991/92 season with a 3-1-1 regular season and 3-4-0 playoffs for the Whalers.

In 1992/93 Frank had his busiest NHL season making a total of 30 regular season appearances for the Whalers - staying with them all season. However, the Whalers were a struggling team and Frank posted a 4-15-1 record with a GAA of 4.85.

The next season was to end up being Frank’s last in the NHL. He split 1993/94 between Hartford and their American Hockey League farm team, the Springfield Indians. He made 19 appearances for the Whalers and 23 for the Indians that year for a combined regular season record of 14-21-3 and a playoff record of 2-4 for the Indians.

Frank Pietrangelo - Hartford Whalers

On 28 July 1994, Frank was signed as a free agent by the New York Islanders. Following training camp with the Islanders he was sent down to their IHL farm team the Minnesota Moose. Frank had a 3-8-1 record with the Moose in 1994/95 but broke his finger and had back to back knee surgeries - for the first time in his hockey career he had major injuries. At the age of 30 he thought it was the end of the road and retired from the game.

Two years later, following a call from a friend in Italy, Frank reappeared on the hockey scene and joined HC Forst Bolzano in Italy for the 1996/97  season. His first season in Europe turned out to be a successful one as he backstopped the team to the championship. Following his success in Italy Frank wanted to play in, what is widely recognised as one of the top European leagues, the German elite league, the DEL.

So, for the 1997/98 season he signed for Adler Kaufbeuren. However, the club ran into financial trouble and Frank returned to Italy, joining Assiago for the remainder of the season.

 With 3 young children to consider, Frank then decided he wanted to play in England and so signed with Kurt Kleinendorst’s Manchester Storm for the 1998/99 season.

Check out images of Frank during his early career in the ‘Before The Storm ‘ galleries in the Images section