Kiski Area goes down to wire with top Class A team as playoff race heats up

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Wednesday, January 3, 2018 | 10:37 PM


Kiski Area was on the cusp of an upset victory in PIHL Class A.

The Cavaliers had undefeated Bishop McCort on the ropes with a 2-1 lead after two periods of Tuesday's game at the Cambria County War Memorial.

But the Crimson Crushers didn't wilt under the pressure and scored twice in the third period to produce a 3-2 victory.

It was a tough loss for the Cavaliers — their second in a row — as they battle for playoff positioning in Class A with the likes of Deer Lakes, Norwin, South Park and Fox Chapel.

Kiski is 6-6 overall (12 points) and tied for 10th place in the standings. The top 12 teams qualify for the playoffs.

Deer Lakes, which returns to action Monday against Sewickley Academy, also has 12 points after 11 games (6-5). Fox Chapel (5-6-1, 11 points), which defeated Kiski 5-4 on Dec. 21, also is in the mix, and the Foxes host Greensburg Central Catholic on Tuesday at Alpha in Harmarville.

Norwin has played one more game than Kiski and has 12 points with a 6-7 record.

South Park is 6-6 with 12 points.

Kiski's Austin Lapiana continues to lead all of Class A in points (38) and goals (25). He is three points and three goals ahead of West Allegheny's Kellen Almady and Meadville's Nick Frantz.

Also in the top 10 in points in Class A are Fox Chapel's Shane Krhovsky (12 goals, 14 assists) and Chase Villani (14 goals, 11 assists) in seventh and eighth, respectively; Kiski Area's James Ayres (10 goals, 15 assists) in ninth; and Deer Lakes' Ryan Murdock (19 goals, five assists) in 10th.

Delayed start to 2018

The Plum hockey team hoped to begin the stretch run of its 2017-18 season Tuesday evening, but its game against Peters Township was postponed because of an equipment failure at the Printscape Arena (formerly Iceoplex) earlier in the day.

The Mustangs, a new member of the Class AAA division this season, are 2-8 (four points) after 10 games but are still in the playoff hunt. Eight of the 10 teams make the playoffs in AAA, and Plum is only four points behind eighth-place Canon-McMillan (4-7, eight points).

Peters Township has nine victories and one shootout loss in 10 games and leads AAA with 19 points. Cathedral Prep is in second with 17 points (8-3-1).

Plum hosts Butler on Monday at 9 p.m. at Valley Sports Complex.

Michael Love is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at mlove@tribweb.com or via Twitter @Mlove_Trib.

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