Hockey club team makes PIHL semi-finals

The local team scored first as Noah Vith (No. 74) got loose for a breakaway goal in the PIHL semi-finals against Penn Trafford. Photo by Tom Steiner for The Citizen

By JIM RUMBLE

The Avonworth/Ambridge ice hockey team participated in the PIHL Tier 3 J.V. playoffs and squared off with top-seeded Penn-Trafford in a semifinal game played at the Castle Arena in Castle Shannon this past Monday.

With the outcome still up in the air through the first two periods, Penn Trafford(16-1 in the regular season) added four goals in the final period on their way to a 6-3 victory.

Avonworth/Ambridge (9-5-2 in the regular season) took the early lead when Noah Vith got loose for a breakaway goal and a 1-0 lead at the 9:27 mark of the first period.

The lead didn’t last as Penn-Trafford countered with a goal just 31 seconds later that would send the teams to the end of the period in a 1-1 tie.

Penn-Trafford went ahead with a goal scored in front of goalie Matt Lesnick at the 5:53 mark in the second period but Avonworth/Ambridge tied the game when Jacob Best scored, assisted by Ethan Eberhart and Matt Springer with less than 10 seconds remaining for a 2-2 tie heading into the third period.

Penn-Trafford scored two goals in the first 45 seconds of the third period, but Marty Knuth Jr., assisted by Springer and Andy Chrvala, countered with a goal for Avonworth/Ambridge just 10 seconds later to put the score at 4-3 Penn-Trafford.

Penn-Trafford sealed the game with two more goals, including an empty netter, to win 6-3 and advance to the finals.

Lesnick was able to turn away 34 of 39 shots he faced on the night.

Avonworth/Ambridge defeated Norwin and North Catholic in earlier rounds before advancing to the semifinals.

The Avonworth Hockey Club co-ops with the Ambridge Hockey Club to provide this opportunity for students in both districts. The Avonworth Hockey Club has been in existence for five years and offers hockey development and competition for students K-12. For more info go to www.avonworthhockey.org.