by Jonathan Weaver
It was busy night for hockey action within Armstrong County high schools, and an important one for the Kittanning Wildcats.
In second place within varsity’s Class AAA-Section 3, the Wildcats needed a win over third-place Deer Lakes to remain as a team to beat before the playoffs.
The score was tied 1-1 at the Belmont Complex going into the second period, but Kittanning exploded and scored five goals – four of which in the first eight minutes.
Kittanning’s Christian Miller scored his second of the game less than a minute in. Miller assisted on Kittanning’s next goal by David Contrael and then scored again eight minutes into the game to give him a hat trick for the evening.
In all, Miller recorded six points on the score sheet, assisting with teammate Cody Toy twice later in the game – once when the team was short-handed.
Goalie Cameron Langham saved 17 of the 19 shots he faced, and Kittanning remained in second place after a 7-2 victory.
Kittanning now has a 12-4-1 record.
Their next opportunity for first place comes February 7 versus Bishop-McCort.
The first place Freeport varsity Yellow Jackets were also in-action at the Belmont, but remain at the top of the standings today after a 2-1 victory over Section 4’s Westmont Hilltop – who were also leading the standings.
Westmont Hilltop was leading 1-0 after two periods, but Brandon Zack scored two in the third – before being penalized two minutes for roughing – to give Freeport the win.
Freeport extends their record to 12-3-1.
Freeport will also play February 7 at the Belmont Complex versus Quaker Valley.
Both Kittanning and Freeport varsity squads meet head-to-head at 6:15PM February 14 at the Belmont Complex in East Franklin Township for a battle that might mean the Section 3 lead going into the PIHL playoffs.
In Varsity Open play, the Ford City Sabers blew out Frazier at the Rostraver Ice Garden 13-0.
Jesse Valasek scored a hat trick and had four assists, Joshua Oliver recorded six assists and Luke Gross had two goals and an assist.
Gross was credited with the game-winning goal less than two minutes into the game.
Goalie Chance Mcclaine only had to stop six shots on net to ice the victory.