JOHNSTOWN, Pa. – The Bishop McCort Catholic High Faculty hockey team correctly defended its Laurel Mountain Hockey League title on Thursday night time at 1st Summit Arena @ Cambria County War Memorial.
But a 7- victory in excess of rival Westmont Hilltop had even increased significance to the Crimson Crushers program.
Coach John Bradley, his personnel and gamers focused the sport, played in entrance of an approximated 1,200 enthusiasts, to the memory of a previous teammate, Maverick Baker, who died in February.
Matt Ribblett experienced 2 objectives and 4 assists as @crushersports gained LMHL title 7- more than Westmont in a match the Crushers focused to the memory of teammate Maverick Baker. pic.twitter.com/oVNc09KAct
— Michael Mastovich (@masty81) March 25, 2022
“It feels astounding to hold that trophy and wonderful to acquire for Maverick,” reported Crimson Crushers junior Matthew Ribblett, who scored two ambitions and experienced four helps. “I was so close to him. We performed audio in the locker area. It was remarkable. All for Mav.”
Baker’s jersey was held prominently in the middle of an on-ice celebration, and Baker’s younger brother was between the first to hoist the Ann Harris Smith Cup previously mentioned his head.
Bishop McCort Catholic goaltender Nikita Volski had a 35-help save shutout, turning away quite a few high quality Hilltoppers makes an attempt in the early likely to keep his team in it in spite of Westmont Hilltop’s 35-20 edge in pictures on target.
Volski designed stops that frequently experienced the massive college student portion of fans cheering.
“It was so remarkable with the group,” explained Ribblett, who could not participate in in the 2021 championship game from Westmont due to sickness. “Missing very last year and then this yr is just remarkable. The crowd was good. Our pupil area was incredible.”
The Hilltoppers had loads of prospects in the to start with period of time. Westmont outshot Bishop McCort 16-5 and experienced 4 power-engage in makes an attempt, together with a 5-on-3 that lasted 1:14.
Crimson Crushers goaltender Volski turned absent just about every shot he confronted.
Meanwhile, Bishop McCort’s Ilia Zhdanov scored on his team’s lone energy-participate in option of the first interval, ripping a shot off a rebound into the net 4:18 into the interval.
“That was really massive. We desired the very first goal,” Ribblett claimed. “We just kept going immediately after that. We stored pounding away.”
In the 2nd, Vitaliy Ulianov transformed on a electricity enjoy to give Bishop McCort at 2- edge, and Brennan Karalfa capped a breakaway with a objective at 12:40.
Ribblett assisted on all a few ambitions in the first two periods.
Volski compiled 31 will save as the Hilltoppers outshot the Crimson Crushers 31-13 in the initially 34 minutes.
Ulianov labored no cost to rating his next target of the match 5:08 into the final period of time.
Ribblett transformed on a electricity participate in for a five-intention guide, and Karalfa capped an additional hurry with his second of the activity to make it 6- with 4:11 remaining. Ribblett shut the scoring on the electric power perform with 3:31 exhibiting.
“We had been ready to make it function,” Ribblett reported. “I like enjoying down small in front of the internet. Which is what I do. I like enjoying down very low. That’s my activity. That is how I scored and obtained people assists.
“It feels excellent. I had COVID previous year, so I was not right here for the video game,” Ribblett additional.
“It feels awesome.”
Before the match, each groups watched on the large-screen scoreboard a tribute to Baker, whose loved ones dropped the ceremonial very first puck.
The video board also showcased a pregame concept from Matt Smith, whose late mother is honored by way of the presentation of the cup every single season at the championship sport.
Pittsburgh Penguins devices supervisor Dana Heinze, a Westmont Hilltop graduate and former member of the Johnstown Chiefs workers, wished every staff great luck all through one more online video.
Westmont Hilltop sophomore Sanila Likelihood then executed a going rendition of the “Star Spangled Banner” as the significant crowd responded.
On the ice, Bishop McCort ongoing the observe of beginning just about every game with only four skaters on the ice for the first shift in honor of missing Baker.
Westmont Hilltop and Bishop McCort every experienced pupils fill virtually an entire section at the arena. Soon after the video game, users of both squads joined Bradley in a prayer at centre ice.
Mike Mastovich is a sporting activities reporter and columnist for The Tribune-Democrat. He can be arrived at at 814-532-5083. Adhere to him on Twitter @Masty81.