Trib HSSN PIHL team of the week: West Allegheny
Sunday, February 16, 2020 | 10:09 PM
Going into the final two weeks of the PIHL regular season, there is only one remaining unbeaten team.
That team resides in Class B and is the defending champion in the Co-Op Division. Ringgold’s victory last week is not the only reason it remains undefeated.
There were two unbeaten teams prior to last week. Then West Allegheny happened.
The Indians handed Baldwin its first loss of the season Monday, which put the Indians in the thick of the playoff race.
The 4-3 win over the Highlanders pushed West Allegheny to 26 points with one game left. That’s two points ahead of last season’s Class A champ, Montour, in the Double-A Southwest Division. Montour has two games left.
It’s big because in the event of a tie for the second playoff spot in a division, there will be a play-in game.
The win over Baldwin wasn’t going to come easy. Baldwin was 15-0 and had a goal differential of plus-65 entering the game.
Baldwin struck first at 4 minutes, 48 seconds of the first period, when Keith Reed scored short-handed.
It didn’t take long for the Indians to tie the score.
About a minute later, with the teams at even strength, Shane Nolan got a pass from Jake Gyergyo and tied it 1-1. Braden Medved got the secondary assist.
It lasted almost the rest of the period before Trevor Belak scored on the power play to give Baldwin a lead heading to the second.
Jake Scholz scored at even strength for West Allegheny at 12:44 of the second before Baldwin took the lead back on the power play less than a minute later in the second.
After the ice cut, West Allegheny finished the job, as Nick Bandi scored two goals, the first at 9:51 and the second at 14:40 of the third period.
Goaltender Josh Ferry made 35 saves, and Gyergyo, Nolan, Bandi and finished with two points each.
If West Allegheny beats Franklin Regional on Monday, the Indians clinch at least a play-in game. If West Allegheny loses, its attention turns to what Montour does in its final two games.
The Spartans play Baldwin on Monday night and Penn-Trafford on Feb. 24. If Montour loses to Baldwin, all West Allegheny would need the same night is a point.
• Peters Township — The Indians were one of a few teams to win twice this week, and for that reason they enter this week in second place in Triple-A, one point ahead of Upper St. Clair. After wins against Central Catholic on Tuesday and Pine-Richland in a shootout Thursday, Peters has one game left in regular-season play.
• Latrobe — The Icecats have had the Southeast Division locked up in Double-A for a while. As part of their two wins this week, 11-0 over Quaker Valley and 6-3 versus Hempfield on Thursday, Latrobe became the first Double-A team to score more than 100 goals this season. The more impressive part might be that the Icecats have allowed 25 goals in 17 games.
• Meadville — The Bulldogs’ 3-2 win over Mars was big for their playoff push. They have 16 points with one game left, which is one behind Quaker Valley’s 17. Meadville is in second place with a two-point lead over Mars. The Planets have three games left to play.
• Plum — The 9-3 win over Shaler for the Mustangs clinched the Northeast Division title in Double-A.
• Bishop McCort — Bishop McCort won twice this week, as it defeated South Park and Greensburg Salem, putting it two points ahead for the Southeast Division title in front of Norwin. Both teams have two games remaining.
• Ringgold — The Rams win clinched the South Division in Class B, and that — coupled with the Baldwin loss to West Allegheny — leaves the Rams the only unbeaten in the PIHL.