T-D HS Hockey

Westmont Hilltop goaltender Sebastian Ragno, shown in this Jan. 27 file photo, was honored by the PIHL for his play during January.

Ragno lauded with PIHL nod

By: Shawn Curtis

With the Westmont Hilltop hockey team reaching the final portion of its schedule, one of the key cogs in helping the Hilltoppers race to the top of the PIHL’s Class A Section 3 standings was recognized as a Highmark Player of the Month for January.
Goaltender Sebastian Ragno, who is at or near the top in Class A in a multitude of statistical categories, received the honor last week.
“We’re a defensive-minded team to start with,” Westmont Hilltop coach Art McQuillan said. “He covers a lot of net and he’s playing with a lot of confidence. With the postseason coming up, everything from a defensive standpoint gets more focus. Teams tighten up in the playoffs and we’re already playing that style. He’s our backbone. It’s well-deserved. He’s worked on his game over the last several years. We’re proud of him.” 
During the month, Ragno was 4-1 in PIHL games, having allowed five goals during that stretch with a shutout in the Hilltoppers’ win over South Fayette on Jan. 15.
Add in a pair of wins during last week’s Tomahawks Cup at Cambria County War Memorial Arena, and Ragno’s January was awfully good.
Not that the senior netminder wasn’t aware of the help in front – and behind – him.
“It was a really big help from the team,” Ragno said. “It was nice of (McQuillan) to nominate me. It was great for us to finally get recognized and hopefully we can turn that into a team championship later in the year.”
Ragno will be recognized at Consol Energy Center when the Pittsburgh Penguins host the New York Rangers on Friday.
Before Monday’s 4-1 win at Deer Lakes, Ragno held a 10-4-2 record in PIHL play with a 1.73 goals-against average and a .920 save percentage.
“We’re at the top of our section with Bishop McCort and Serra Catholic and third or fourth in the whole league,” Ragno said. “Hopefully we’ll move up a bit before the playoffs and get a good seed there.”

Shawn Curtis is the sports editor of The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/shawncurtis430.