Ford City's hockey team flexed its first-place muscle with a home win over Hollidaysburg on Wednesday night at the Belmont Complex in West Kittanning.
The Sabers (16-1-1) defeated Hollidaysburg (13-6), the second-place team in the Open Class Chiefs Division, 7-4, with the help of a hat trick by junior Kevin Valasek and steady performances in net from sophomore Adam Cogley (14 saves) and senior Tyler Skerkavich (13 saves).
Ford City needed a third-period surge to clinch the game. It went ahead, 3-0, in the first period but allowed three goals in the second period and watched Hollidaysburg tie the score, 4-4, early in the third.
"I was nervous," coach Doug Anthony said. "We played a sloppy game. There was a total of about one good period tonight. But they kept their composure."
The Sabers were called for 10 penalties — four came in the second period — while Hollidaysburg earned only four trips to the box.
Valasek finished with three goals and one assist, while his younger brother, Jesse, a sophomore, had a goal and two assists. Senior David Lowry also had a three-point night (one goal, two assists), freshman John Phelps had two assists, and senior Alex Gladysiewski logged a goal and an assist.
Ford City is guaranteed the top spot in the Chiefs Division half of the Open Class tournament, which begins Feb. 27.
"It feels good to have that (top seed) secured and out of the way," Anthony said.
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