Team Blue rolls to 9-4 win in PIHL Class AAA all-star game

Sunday, January 27, 2019 | 8:30 PM

A long drive through bad weather didn’t hinder J.C. Bele, Wyatt George and Ryan Luppe on Sunday night.

After voyaging through three states in the morning and afternoon, the trio scored two goals apiece to help Team Blue post a 9-4 win over Team Gold at the PIHL Class AAA all-star game at Robert Morris University Island Sports Center.

The game marked the second of the day for those three players and a handful of others involved in the all-star game who skated for the Pittsburgh Predators amateur team Sunday morning in a tournament at Notre Dame.

“It was a trek, to say the least,” Bele said. “The weather was bad getting out of Indiana. As soon as we did that, it was smooth sailing. I got home at 3:30 p.m. and made my way out here by 3:45 p.m.

“It’s always fun playing in a game like this because you’re out there playing with guys from your amateur team and your high school team. It was just fun going out and competing.”

Bele, a Bethel Park senior, opened the scoring when he cashed on a wrister for Team Blue with 9 minutes, 32 seconds left in the first period. Bethel Park’s Vincent Vituccio tied the score with a Team Gold goal with 6:44 on the clock.

George, a Mt. Lebanon senior, scored two goals in 25 seconds to give Team Blue a 3-1 lead early in the second.

“Coming back here, putting on some wet gear and trying to compete at a high level again, it’s tough,” George said. “Playing with a lot of these guys this morning and then putting on different colors and battling against some of them and kids from around the league is fun. It’s so much fun playing with all the different kids around the league and seeing how much compete they have and coming together and building some chemistry with some different guys.”

Bele netted his second goal with 1:15 left in the second for a 4-1 advantage.

“It’s always fun to put it in the back of the net,” Bele said. “It’s nice to start with the lead. It makes playing a little easier.”

Luppe, a Peters Township senior, made it a 5-1 lead 2:00 into third, but Canon-McMillan’s Logan Ford struck back for Team Gold 28 seconds later to trim it to 5-2. Butler’s Ronan Miller deflected a shot into the net for a 6-2 Team Blue lead with 11:50 to play.

Peters Township’s Jeremy Anthos cut Team Gold’s lead in half when he scored with 6:24 remaining. Luppe netted his second with 5:29 to play for a 7-3 Team Blue advantage. North Allegheny’s Aaron Miller made it 8-3 just 41 seconds later. Ronan Miller tallied his second goal with 1:07 to go. Mt. Lebanon’s Luke Husak capped the scoring for Team Gold with 57.5 seconds remaining.

Joe Sager is a freelance writer.

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