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Mustangs to mix it up with West A

| Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Plum Advance Leader
Junior defenseman Zach Kuhn pushes the puck up the ice during Plum’s Penguins Pond game against North Hills on Jan. 10, 2013. Michael Love | Plum Advance Leader

As days and weeks tick by, the opportunities to make waves get fewer and fewer for teams battling for playoff positioning in PIHL Class AA.

Plum is right in the mix for one of the 10 AA slots, and the Mustangs are hoping to add two points to their total Thursday against defending Penguins Cup AA champion West Allegheny at the Airport Ice Arena.

The first puck drops at 8:30 p.m.

Plum has played several close games recently, including a 5-3 loss to Hampton on Jan. 14 that dropped the Mustangs to 4-7-1 (nine points).

The game was tied heading into the third period, and Hampton scored a shorthanded goal, as well as one on the power play, to pull out the victory.

The Mustangs, who got two goals in that game from senior Andrew Pagano, currently sit in 10th place in the AA standings, and a lot can happen over the final month of the season.

Plum trails West Allegheny (4-7-2) by one point in the standings, while North Hills and Moon are tied with 14 points.

North Hills and Moon are playing each other Friday night on the outdoor rink at North Park.

Gateway and Kiski Area, who both own a win over Plum, each have eight points and are nipping at the Mustangs' heels.

The Gators host Erie Cathedral Prep on Thursday, while Kiski Area plays Chartiers Valley on Monday.

West Allegheny lost 10 players from the 2011-12 championship team.

Matt Grebosky, who had 14 goals and 10 assists for the Indians last year, returned and is third on the team in scoring this season with nine goals and 10 assists.

Jess Ligas leads West Allegheny in goals (18), and he is second in assists (13).

He has six multi-goal games this season, including two hat tricks.

Sean Weber has a team-best 16 assists, and he also has put 10 goals into the back of the opponents' net.

West Allegheny is 2-2-1 in its past five games, and the Indians routed Kiski Area, 9-2, in its last game on Jan. 17.

The Indians led Gateway, 4-1, in the second period of their game at the Penguins Pond on Jan. 7, but the Gators rallied for six straight goals to earn the 7-4 victory.

Plum takes on Erie Cathedral Prep on Monday, as the Ramblers make the long trek to the Pittsburgh Ice Arena for an 8:20 p.m. start.

Michael Love is a staff writer with Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5825 or at mlove@tribweb.com.

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