Ford City hockey avenges playoff loss, routs Greensburg Salem
Members of Ford City's hockey team still grimace when they speak about last season's upset loss to Greensburg Salem in the PIHL Open Class Chiefs division semifinals.
On Thursday night, they made sure Greensburg Salem experienced its own share of misery.
Six first-period goals set the tone for Ford City's 10-3 home blowout of the Golden Lions (1-1) at Belmont Complex.
The win failed to change the fact that Greensburg Salem dealt Ford City two of its three losses last winter — the second was a last-minute comeback that stunned the top-seeded Sabers in the playoffs. But the Sabers (2-0) found solace in the dominance.
“The kids had this circled on the schedule as soon as we got it,” Ford City coach Glen Kilgore said. “First home game. Team that knocked us out of the playoffs. There was definitely a big chip on their shoulder.”
Senior forward Jesse Valasek started the scoring just 17 seconds into the game when he capitalized on a Greensburg Salem turnover in the Golden Lions' defensive zone.
Jacob Miller put Ford City up, 2-0, slightly more than a minute later when he scored on an odd-man rush.
Eric Lindey, Luke Gross and Joe Cippel each added goals in the opening 13 minutes of the game.
“I think it was just the fire in our bellies,” Cippel said. “We wanted to beat them so badly, because you spend the entire offseason just thinking about your last game. It's nice to have your home opener against them go like that. It sends a message.”
Late in the first period, Valasek stole the puck during a five-on-three penalty kill and scored a breakaway shorthanded goal.
“That was about as bad a start as you can imagine,” said Greensburg Salem assistant Shawn Austad, who served as coach in Michael Steinhauser's absence. “We anticipated that they'd obviously want to knock us off early in the season because we knocked them out of the playoffs. … And they did a pretty good job of that.”
Senior Jonathan Finger ended the shutout just 15 seconds after Valasek's short-handed goal with a wrist shot from the wing.
Valasek, who had six points last week in the season opener, finished Thursday's game with three goals and two assists for a team-high five points. Gross (two goals, one assist), Josh Oliver (one goal, two assists) and Cippel (one goal, two assists) also had multi-point nights.
Ford City goaltender Adam Cogley finished with 30 saves.
Finger and junior Alex Kraisinger continued to prove their worth as first-year Golden Lions. Finger, a student at Ligonier Valley, finished with two goals to increase his season total to six. Kraisinger, a student at Mt. Pleasant, scored to give him three goals in two games.
Bill West is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at email@example.com or 724-543-1303.