T-D HS Hockey

Westmont Hilltop takes down spunky Bishop McCort

By: Mike Mastovich

The Westmont Hilltop hockey team has played the role of a closer each time the Hilltoppers faced city rival Bishop McCort this PIHL season.
Westmont scored six third-period goals to break open a tie game and defeat the Crushers 7-1 at Cambria County War Memorial Arena on Wednesday.
“We kept after it,” Westmont coach Art McQuillan said. “You’re tempted to get a bit frustrated, but it easily could have been 5- or 6-1 when we took the ice cut after the second. But they kept after it and filled the net with pucks in the third period.”
Westmont (12-5-2) was a heavy favorite over McCort (2-14-0). Yet, all three games have been battles despite a pair of lopsided finals.
Neither team had scored through two periods during the second meeting, a 2-1 Westmont Hilltop win.
Westmont had led 2-1 entering the third period of a game the Hilltoppers eventually won 6-1 in the series opener.
The Hilltoppers have scored 12 third-period goals against McCort.
“The last few times we played them it was 0-0 going into the third and 2-1,” McCort coach John Bradley said. “We can skate with them. We’ve just got to keep working.”
After a scoreless first period, Bishop McCort took the lead on Connor Bunn’s unassisted goal 9:09 into the second. During a scramble around the net, Bunn picked up a loose puck on the near post, pulled it back and flipped the disc into the empty net with goalie Sebastian Ragno trying to get back from behind the cage on the far post.
“It took sort of a fluke bounce,” McQuillan said. “Good teams have to overcome a bad bounce or a bad call or when something doesn’t go your way.”
Westmont didn’t need much time to tie the game when it created a 3-on-0 rush.
Bishop McCort goaltender Boston Bradley stopped Lewis Buchkovich’s initial shot, but Stephen DeMarco put in the rebound at 13:05.
“We knew we were carrying the play to them,” said Coach McQuillan, whose team had a 40-15 shots advantage.
Westmont Hilltop took the lead on Adam McQuillan’s rebound goal following Brandon Leech’s shot at 4:56 of the third. Westmont padded the margin after Ian Campbell scored just over three minutes later to make it 3-1.
“We played hard,” coach Bradley said. “We’re still in that phase where we’re learning. When something goes bad, we’ve got to learn to get past that and not dwell on it. It was a good effort. We worked hard. A couple bounces when they scored, and that kind of turns things around.”
Westmont netted four goals in 2 minutes, 54 seconds. Michael Lamison, Lewis Buchkovich, Brandon Leech and Campbell each scored.
“Boston Bradley has nothing to hang his head about,” Coach McQuillan said after the Crushers goalie had 33 saves. “He put on a one-man show for a while. The second period we hit three posts. But he was on his game and on his angles. He didn’t make it easy on us.”

Mike Mastovich is a sports writer for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/masty81.

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