Pittsburgh Hockey Digest


Barnes breaks out as Peters holds off USC

Will Barnes, Peters Township

CASTLE SHANNON — Will Barnes completed a hat trick with 4:11 left in regulation to push Peters Township past a resilient Upper St. Clair squad, 5-4, in PIHL Class AAA action at the Ice Castle Monday night.

The Indians saw their 4-2 lead disappear in the third period when USC’s Elliot Stevenson scored two goals just over five minutes apart, including one of three power play goals by the Panthers.

Derek Kopach, Upper St. ClairDerek Kopach, who had a power play tally of his own and set up the first, found Stevenson right out in front. He snuck one in on the short side to tie the game with eight minutes to go in the third before the Peters captain put his team ahead for good with a snap shot from between the circles.

“Brett Lejeune pulled out his sand wedge and chipped it over three guys. Conner [Gielarowski] caught it, put it down and it got poke-checked away, but I was right behind him,” Barnes said. “I shoved it five-hole, and that was it.”

The goal, his fourth of the new season, negated a strong performance in net by Jonathan Bleier, who made 45 saves in defeat. He was particularly sharp through the first two periods, when Peters Township built a 3-1 lead and seemed to dominate offensive zone time.

Peters had just a 1-1 tie to show for that dominance until a couple of quick second period scores. Barnes smashed in his own rebound off a one-timer assisted by Nicholas Young at 6:52, then Torrey Schwartz beat Bleier on a backdoor play at 7:55.

“We just kept shooting at him, and it started to go our way,” said Barnes, who gave the Indians their two-goal lead at the ice cut with a power play goal at 12:49 of the second.

The win in spite of missing two assistant captains is nothing new to Peters Township. Veteran coach Rick Tingle tends to dress some makeshift lineups early in the season while several top players honor amateur team commitments. Barnes, for one, has also played with varsity linemates Gielarowski and Cal Raymor — who set up Barnes’ second goal — on the Pittsburgh Predators.

But it should be a confidence boost for the Indians as they head home to Iceoplex Oct. 20 to take on North Allegheny, the only other 2-0 team in Class AAA entering Tuesday.

“Most of us have been playing together for a long time, so it’s just been clicking lately,” Barnes said. “We just need to work on team defense and get that puck out.”

Jack Underwood opened the scoring for Peters at 3:42 of the first, and William Gavett also found the net for Upper St. Clair, which looks for its first win of the year against N.A. at the Baierl Complex in two weeks.

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