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2023-2024 Game Summaries

NA Edged by Pine-Richland In Penguins Cup Championship, 3-2

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Photo Gallery by J.J. LaBella

In the regular season, Pine-Richland narrowly defeated North Allegheny twice in a pair of one-goal games. Dueling for a third time in the Penguins Cup Class AAA championship, the Rams once again edged the Tigers, 3-2, to win their fifth PIHL title and first since 2019.

Neighborhood rivals North Allegheny and Pine-Richland have battled plenty times over the years with a championship at stake in a variety of sports. However, when it came to the Penguins Cup ice hockey playoffs, Tuesday’s title tilt was the first playoff meeting between the two schools since 1975.

After a scoreless first period, Pine-Richland broke the ice for the game’s first goal just 42 seconds into the second period. Boasting the best power play unit in Class AAA in the regular season, the Rams capitalized on their first man-advantage of the night on a marker by senior captain Zachary Howard for a 1-0 lead. The goal occurred when senior Benjamin Baileys sent a puck toward the net from the left point and deflected twice, the second carom coming off the body of Howard, and into the NA net.

At the 4:46 mark of the second period, it was another power play and another bad bounce that led to Pine-Richland’s next goal. A wrist shot by sophomore Cullen Campbell deflected off the shoulder of North Allegheny keeper Camden Junker and ricocheted off the cross bar, settling in the goal crease. Freshman Carson Verszyla alerted jammed the lonely puck into the back of the net to give Pine-Richland a 2-0 advantage.

The Rams’ two-goal lead remained intact until the Tigers were awarded a power play of their own in the opening minute of the third period. At the 1:42 mark of the third, senior Evan Kerber, who led North Allegheny in the regular season with five power play goals, struck again for his first goal of the playoffs. The marker by Kerber trimmed the deficit to 2-1 and was assisted by senior captain Ryan Jackman and junior Travis Lamark.

Pine-Richland regained its two-goal lead at the 5:50 mark of the third period when freshman Colten Andrighetti netted his first goal of the postseason to increase the score to 3-1, Rams.

In the waning minutes, North Allegheny pulled Junker for an extra skater and the move paid off courtesy of a goal by sophomore Gianni Lochiatto with just 1:04 left to cut the deficit to 3-2. Lochiatto’s goal, his second of the playoffs, was assisted by sophomore Luke Walkauskas and junior Marc Joyson.

The Tigers continued to apply pressure on the Rams net down to the final seconds but Pine-Richland staved off NA’s rally for a 3-2 victory.

Junker made 30 saves for North Allegheny and Pine-Richland goalie Brett Sudac stopped 27 pucks to earn the victory.

The North Allegheny senior class of Kerber, Jackman, Aidan Anthony, Andrew Long, Logan Cerqua, Evan Perrotte and Alex Dorsch were recognized as the Wright Automotive Players of the Game for their outstanding careers over the last four years.

Congratulations to head coach Andrew Seiss and the entire North Allegheny ice hockey team for another memorable season in 2023-2024.

Ice Hockey Summary vs. Pine-Richland, 3-19-24

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NA Advances To Penguins Cup Championship, Defeats Seneca Valley, 4-2

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The North Allegheny ice hockey team advanced to the Penguins Cup Class AAA championship with a 4-2 win over the Seneca Valley Raiders on Monday night at the RMU Island Sports Center in the PIHL semifinals. The Tigers jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first period and staved off a furious rally by the Raiders to advance to the Penguins Cup title game for the first time since winning their fourth PIHL crown in 2021. In the championship next week, the Tigers will face neighborhood rival Pine-Richland, who defeated two-time reigning champion Peters Township, 4-2.

North Allegheny stormed out of the gates in the first period and cashed in on several turnovers by Seneca Valley. At the 3:15 mark of the first period, sophomore Ed Scherer scored on a feed from behind the net by fellow sophomore Luke Walkauskas for an immediate 1-0 lead. At the 11:59 mark, a steal by Walkauskas led to a goal of his own and a 2-0 lead for the Tigers. In similar fashion, junior defenseman Gianni Lochiatto capitalized on a Seneca Valley turnover and scored on a sharp-angled shot from the left wing circle and increased the NA advantage to 3-0 with just 48 seconds remaining in the opening stanza.

Seneca Valley, who split regular season meetings with North Allegheny in the regular season, didn’t go away quietly and started to rally in the second period. At the 7:37 mark, Jacob Gilbert jammed home a rebound on a shot from Ian Uram and the Raiders cracked the scoreboard, trailing 3-1.

The persistent pressure from the Raiders continued in the third period and eventually paid off for another goal early in the stanza. Sophomore Marshall Hewitt closed the gap to 3-2, Tigers, with a goal just 2:49 into the period. Seneca Valley outshot North Allegheny, 33-20, but couldn’t find the equalizer against junior goalie Camden Junker, who made 31 saves to earn his second straight playoff victory.

Desperate to avoid elimination late in the third period, the Raiders pulled goaltender Cenzo Ditullio in the waning minutes. Epitomizing the game for the Tigers on the final shot of the night, sophomore Marc Joyson stole the puck on the forecheck and tallied an empty net goal with 24 seconds remaining to put the punctuation on a 4-2 victory for the Tigers.

Ditullio made 16 saves on the night for Seneca Valley, including a pair of crucial stops in the third period that kept the Raiders within striking distance down the stretch.

Earning a goal and an assist in the first period, Walkauskas got the Tigers off to a quick start and earned Wright Automotive Player of the Game honors.

North Allegheny advances to the Penguins Cup Championship to face Pine-Richland at 6:15 p.m. on Tuesday, March 19 at the UPMC Mario Lemieux Complex in Cranberry.

Ice Hockey Summary vs. Seneca Valley, 3-11-24

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Tigers Vanquish Vikings In PIHL Quarterfinals, 3-1

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The North Allegheny ice hockey team punched its ticket to the Penguins Cup Class AAA semifinals for the 10th consecutive season with a 3-1 victory over the Central Catholic Vikings on Monday night from the Baierl Ice Complex in Warrendale. Senior forward Ryan Jackman had a hand in all three goals for the Tigers, scoring two and assisting on another, to earn Wright Automotive Player of the Game honors.  NA has now won four in a row in the head-to-head series and 13 of the last 14 games with the Vikings.

Facing Central Catholic in a postseason game for the first time since beating the Vikings 7-0 in the PIHL quarterfinals in 2015, North Allegheny netted the game’s first goal at the 8:54 mark of the opening stanza when Jackman tallied his first goal of the night for a 1-0 lead. The goal came on the power play and was assisted by Travis Lamark.

Seventh-seeded Central Catholic hung tough with second-seeded North Allegheny and tied the game at 1-1 at the 8:08 mark of the second period courtesy of a goal from Judah Brophy.

The deadlock was short-lived, however, as the Tigers swung the momentum back in their favor with back-to-back goals in the second period that came just eight seconds apart. At the 11:27 mark, Jackman struck for his second goal of the night, assisted by Tyler Bianchin, to vault NA back in front, 2-1. Then just eight seconds later, junior Marc Joyson expanded the lead to 3-1 on a goal that was assisted by Jackman and Alex Costa.

From that point on, the North Allegheny defense suffocated Central Catholic and took the life out of the Vikings’ offense and any hopes of a comeback. Junior goalie Camden Junker got the start and made 27 saves in a strong performance in between the pipes. Central Catholic goalie Ben Balla played well and made 30 saves in a losing effort.

With the quarterfinal round win over Central Catholic, North Allegheny advances to the Penguins Cup semifinals to face Seneca Valley on Monday, March 11, at the RMU Island Sports Center at 9:15 p.m.

Ice Hockey Summary vs. Central Catholic, 3-4-24

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No Win For Baldwin In Regular Season Finale With NA, 4-1

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Entering the night with a chance to move up a spot or two in the Class AAA standings, the North Allegheny ice hockey team won its regular season finale with Baldwin on Thursday by a 4-1 decision at the Baierl Ice Complex in Warrendale. With the out of town scoreboard also impacting the upper tier of the standings, North Allegheny bumped up to second place heading into the PIHL playoffs next week.

The Tigers manufactured a 1-0 lead almost immediately when sophomore Luke Walkauskas netted a power play goal just 1:59 into the contest. The Walkauskas marker was assisted by junior Travis Lamark. Senior Evan Kerber made it 2-0, North Allegheny, with his team leading 16th goal of the season at the 12:09 mark of the opening stanza. Senior captain Ryan Jackman and senior Logan Cerqua earned the helpers on the Kerber tally.

With only one win on the season, Baldwin hung tough in the second period thanks to the play of goalie Austin Landosky, who made 52 saves on the night. However, Landosky eventually buckled under NA’s barrage with just 19 seconds left in the period when sophomore Ravi Desai found the back of the net with his fifth goal of the campaign and the lead swelled to 3-0. Junior Gianni Lochiatto and senior Aidan Anthony were credited with the assists on Desai’s goal.

The Tigers put the finishing touches on the victory with Kerber’s second goal of the night at the 9:56 mark of the third period, increasing the NA advantage to 4-0. Kerber’s power play goal gave him 17 on the season, assisted by Walkauskas and Desai. For his two-goal performance, Kerber was named the Wright Automotive Player of the Game.

Baldwin broke the shutout at the 10:48 mark of the third period on a goal by Trevor Brain, bringing the score to its eventual final, 4-1, North Allegheny.

In net, junior Camden Junker drew the start and saved all nine shots that he faced. Senior Andrew Long checked in for the third period and made five saves.

With the win, North Allegheny improves to 14-4-2 on the season, while Baldwin’s season ends with a 1-17-2 record. The Tigers will open the Penguins Cup playoffs at home on Monday night against the Central Catholic Vikings at 9:00 p.m.. The game will be broadcast live by the North Allegheny Sports Network.

Ice Hockey Summary vs. Baldwin, 2-29-24

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NA Rallies To Defeat Bethel Park, 3-2

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Trailing by one goal in the third period for the second consecutive game, North Allegheny once again used back-to-back in the final stanza to earn a comeback win. The Tigers win their third straight game with a 3-2 triumph over Bethel Park at the Spencer Family YMCA on Thursday night. The victory keeps North Allegheny in a tie for second place with Peters Township with 28 points. NA is just two points out of first place with one game remaining in the regular season.

The scoring started in the first period when senior Evan Kerber netted a power play goal for a 1-0 lead just 2:49 into the game. The goal was assisted by Luke Walkauskas and Ryan Jackman.

In the second period, Bethel Park tied the game on a goal by Tyler Kelligren at the 2:22 mark and seized the lead at the 8:14 mark of the period on a power play goal by Mason Devett-Raeder.

With Black Hawks holding a 2-1 lead, the Tigers bounced back with a clutch third period. At the 4:54 mark, senior Aidan Anthony knotted the score at 2-2 with a game-tying tally, assisted by Ravi Desai and Walkauskas. North Allegheny surged ahead at the 7:23 mark for a 3-2 lead courtesy of sophomore Alex Costa, assisted by Desai.

NA’s one goal lead stood over the final nine minutes of play thanks to the goaltender of junior Camden Junker, who made 18 saves to earn the win. Bethel Park’s Reilly Gusky totaled 26 saves in a losing effort.

With the win, North Allegheny improves to 13-4-2, while Bethel Park slips to 9-8-1 and sits in eighth place in the Class AAA standings. The Tigers will host Baldwin on Feb. 29 at the Baierl Ice Complex in their regular season finale.

Ice Hockey Summary vs. Bethel Park, 2-22-24

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