Ford City skates past Kittanning
TribLIVE Sports Videos
During the next five-plus months, Kittanning and Ford City's hockey teams might not play in front of a crowd as rowdy as the one they encountered Thursday night during their first preseason action of the year.
Dozens of students from Kittanning and Ford City piled into the Belmont Complex to see the Sabers and the Wildcats square off in the opening game of the Steve Bryan Memorial Belmont Cup, a tournament that honors Bryan, a 1993 Armstrong Central graduate and former player who died in an auto accident in 1998.
Ford City built up an early lead and hung on to win, 6-4, in a contest that does not count toward either team's PIHL record. But the Sabers and Wildcats — and their fan bases — understood that bragging rights hung in the balance.
“We always look forward to the big crowd,” said Ford City senior Jesse Valasek, who finished with three goals and an assist. “You don't usually get those for the games. But maybe now we will after putting on that show.”
Ford City's three other goals belonged to freshmen Luke Gross and Jacob Miller and sophomore Marcus McCall. To see underclassmen thrive in the pressure-packed environment brought a smile to the face of first-year coach Glen Kilgore, who also organized the tournament.
“It really sells (the experience) to new kids in the program,” Kilgore said of the Belmont Cup. “I was telling them that I hoped none of them had the deer-in-the-headlights look because this might be the biggest crowd they play in front of this season.”
Ford City started its dry-land training almost seven weeks ago and also organized a few practices at the Valley Sports Complex — the Belmont Complex installed its ice last week. The offseason effort allowed the offense to look sharp. Junior Eric Lindey and junior John Phelps each had two assists while senior Joe Cippel and sophomore Josh Oliver each registered one.
Senior goaltender Adam Cogley, notified he was starting 30 minutes before game-time, made 25 saves.
Junior Hunter Grafton, sophomore Christian Miller, senior Eli Johns and sophomore Jacob Snyder each scored for Kittanning, which rallied from a 3-0 deficit to tie the game, 3-all, midway through the second period. Miller's goal cut the deficit to one goal two minutes into the third, but Kittanning never came closer.
“You're playing a rivalry game, so it gets a lot of attention,” Kittanning coach Jamie King said. “Otherwise, it's just an early-season game where you sometimes take your lumps.”
Bill West is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Starkey: Kang story of the year for Pirates
- Penguins GM Rutherford ‘wouldn’t make’ Despres trade today
- Healthy defensive back Mitchell eager for 2nd season with Steelers
- Body found during search for missing man on Youghiogheny
- Steelers notebook: Blake gets outside shot in nickel
- IRS cybersecurity breach touches lives of homebuyers, others
- Judge lashes UPMC, Highmark in consent decree violation hearing
- Tenant charged in fire that destroyed Latrobe apartment house
- Plum teacher, held for trial, vows to fight witness intimidation charge
- Penn Hills teenager charged in New Kensington shooting
- Pirates use big 7th inning to sweep Marlins, stretch winning streak