Caught with pants down, NH falls 8-2
MT. LEBANON (December 18, 2012) -- Whatever magic was in that old silk hat that the North Hills Varsity icers found last Thursday to rally past West Allegheny was nowhere to be found Monday night in Mt. Lebanon as it was Chartiers Valley who came alive to post a snowman in a frosty 8-2 rout of the Indians.
Facing yet another opponent bent on avenging a loss to the Indians last month, North Hills once again trailed early. But unlike Thursday, when the Indians twice overcame three-goal deficits to win in overtime, the boys could not find a way to contain Colts thoroughbred center Anthony Franks, who rang up five goals and two assists. Both helpers came on goals by linemate Cullen McMahon, who also put the exclamation point on the game by closing out the scoring with his own hat trick goal. Franks had been injured when North Hills rolled past the Colts 5-2 in November. The senior used his blend of size and speed Monday to create room for his deadly accurate shot.
Despite the lopsided final score, North Hills did manage to stay within striking distance through most of the first two periods and trailed only 4-2 with under five minutes remaining in the second period. But with a short bench due to injuries and suspensions and a key player even missing his hockey pants for most of the first period, the Indians (5-2) lost for only the second time this season. The most herioc effort of the night for the Indians came when Coach Dennis Fleming climbed a stack of foam bumper pads like a contestant on Wipeout to get from the bench to the locker room in order to retrieve the late-arriving pants, earning himself a cheer from the North Hills faithful.
The Indians trailed 2-0 after the first period. McMahon was set up by Franks from behind the net at 12:48 to open the scoring. Franks then capitalized shorthanded at 2:16, driving down the right side the of the ice and dangling with the puck as he cut in front of the crease and waited out North Hills netminder Alexander Washy to drop into a butterfly before lifting the puck into the top half of the net.
North Hills didn't panic and the teams traded chances until midway through the second when Franks fired a cross ice pace to McMahon who snapped a shot past Washy to make the score 3-0. But just 12 seconds later, sophomore Brett Berner gathered a loose puck and fired it behind Colts goalie Noah Stevenson to get the Indians on the board and give North Hills fans a tantalizing reminder of Thursday's comeback.
It wasn't in the cards on this night. Two minutes later, Franks notched his third goal of the game. Berner again gave North Hills a ray of hope when he stepped into a Tyler Volz rebound and blasted a slap shot past Stevenson to make the score 4-2.
But Franks' night was only beginning. He closed out the second period scoring at 3:33, again with an assist from McMahon. He continued to dominate in the third, scoring at 15:18 and 10:10.
Relieving a beleaguered Washy, who contributed some jaw-dropping saves amid the Franks-show, sophomore goaltender Max Sikorski got his first game action of the season mid-way through the third and looked sharp.
The Indians also got noteworth individual performances from defenseman Brendan Shevchik and Jeremy Warhold, who dished out punishing checks. Sophomore Mike Byrne kept his legs churning and created several chances despite playing under the weather. And Freshman call-up Jordan Gayso manned up after being dropped by a hard slapshot to the side of his skate boot, but returned after missing only a few shifts.
The Indians return to Mt. Lebanon on January 3 to take on Bishop Canevin to begin a busy January in which they play seven games. They return home to the RMU Island Sports Center January 7 against Franklin Regional.
The varsity team will co-host with the Moon Tigers a Family Skate-athon on Wednesday, December 26, from 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Airport Ice Arena to benefit the Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation. North Hills and Moon face off against each other January 25 for the PIHL Outdoor Charity Series at North Park Ice Rink.
The team encourages a strong turnout from the North Hills community at both events.