After sweeping defending champion Norwin, Kiski Area hockey team continues rise in standings

Monday, January 23, 2023 | 11:54 AM

The Kiski Area hockey team already was trending in the right direction, but after the heist pulled off against Norwin on Jan. 10, the group should galvanize even more.

The Cavaliers trailed 3-2 late in the third period but received a power play and took full advantage. Ethan Bombalski scored right in front of the net with 6 seconds remaining to send the game to overtime, and Kyle Guido cashed in on a breakaway in the extra frame to steal a 4-3 win.

The win completed a season sweep of the defending PIHL Class A Penguins Cup champion Knights and moved Kiski into sole possession of third place in the Blue Division standings at 10-3.

“I think that it will bring us even closer as a team,” Kiski forward Ethan George said.

“It shows that we can overcome anything. That will definitely help our chemistry out and make us play even harder for each other.”

Guido’s heroics in overtime came at the end of a shift of 3-on-3 play that lasted more than two minutes. Moments before heading to the bench for change, the puck skipped to him, and he was all alone from the center line in. He willed his way toward the goal and shot the puck past Norwin goalie Owen Burmeister.

“I was gassed, but I had to get the game-winner,” Guido said. “I just tried to get a shot off and end the game. It was awesome.”

Guido also played a pivotal role in the tying goal.

From the top of the zone he whipped the puck near the goal that Bombalski found for a tap-in. The plan came to fruition during a timeout right before the power play started.

“We just talked about keeping puck possession and shots on net,” Guido said. “We tried looking back door, because it had been open all game.”

Guido, George and Bombalski will represent Kiski at the PIHL All-Star games, which will take place Jan. 29 at RMU Island Sports Center.

George is third in Class A with 23 goals. He already has topped his season total of 21 last year in only 13 games. He also has seven assists.

“I’ve been just shooting it any time I get it,” George said. “My teammates have been giving me good passes. I’m thankful they’ve been setting me up, and (that) I’ve been shooting the way I’ve been.”

Guido has 10 goals and 16 assists, and Bombalski has 10 goals and 11 assists. Bombalski has two hat tricks and a two-goal game, with five of his goals coming against Norwin.

Another reason for Kiski Area’s success is it has been one of the better defensive teams in Class A. The Cavaliers are tied for fourth in goals against at 28 and only six behind Quaker Valley, which leads the classification with 22 goals allowed.

The Cavaliers have five shutouts, including four in a row in October and early November. Sophomore goalie Jacob Walker is 6-0 with a 1.66 goals-against average and a .910 save percentage.

Kiski missed the postseason last year but is in prime position to make amends. The players have enjoyed the turnaround and plan to finish the job together.

“It’s just hard work, really,” George said. “All of us are gritty and believe in each other. We pick each other up. We just want to work hard and win together. That’s what’s really great about this team. We’ve all been together for two or three years. We see each other in school and have had the opportunity to sit and talk and get closer there, too.”

Jerin Steele is a freelance writer


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