And, Mars completes their run through D2 with a 15-10 win.
Quick recap of our keys to success for North Allegheny to either keep the close or win the game:
- North Allegheny face off man Alec Vissotski needs to win 55-60% over Jesse Dodd and whoever else Mt. Lebanon uses on at the face off. No small task for Vissotski as Dodd effectively neutralized Pine Richland’s Jake Freedlander in the semi finals.
- Stars need to be the best players for the Tigers. Gavin Hagen, Dillon Dugan, Wes Powell are the house hold names. North Allegheny managed to beat Shady Side without a goal from the trio. That cannot happen tonight.
- Win secondary defensive match ups. Everyone is so concerned about Brian Ward and rightfully so but in the quarter finals and semi finals Dan Lee and Connor Brumfield each had 8+ point games. Throw in goals from Nate Bashaw and Owen Chamberlain and you have an recipe for a 10 goal game.
- North Allegheny goalie Ean Kuska makes 15+ saves. North Allegheny will need Kuska to stay as hot as he was against Shady Side. (Navy goalie John Connors made 21 saves against Brown and the Mids lost 11-10. That kind of hot.)
North Allegheny literally nailed every one.
Alec Vissotski was exceptional from the face off X. Mt. Lebanon was forced to use Nick Tomassi as the draw man and asked him to just stand up with Vissotski to get the ball back over the clamp.
Wes Powell scored two goals in the first quarter to help North Allegheny to a 3-1 lead they would never relinquish. Absolutely certain a North Allegheny player landed a Yinzer Backhand. Fairly certain it was Gavin Hagen.
A backer zone of sorts kept Mt. Lebanon shooters on the outside until late in the game. While Connor Brumfield went off for 4 goals, Brian Ward only scored once, and Dan Lee was held off the score sheet. Unofficially Owen Chamberlain scored twice.
Kuska made every save he was supposed to make plus an insane foot save in the second half on Brian Ward.
Hats off to a Mt. Lebanon senior class that completed a wonderful four year run through the WPIAL.
Good luck to both squads in states.
The Fighting Planets finished what the started by going undefeated against D2 competition. Hampton weathered a 7-3 deficit and battled back in the second half to make the score 11-10. A final surge from Mars put the game out of reach. Congratulations to the Mars seniors who were the first group of athletes all the way through the youth program.
Photo: Trib Live