Pittsburgh Hockey Digest


Bethel Park outlasts Central Catholic in wild finish

Jeffrey Bele (17) scored four goals, including a natural hat trick, Monday night against Central Catholic to advance the Blackhawks in the playoffs. — ED MAJOR II

CASTLE SHANNON, Pa. — Jeffrey Bele scored four goals and Bethel Park survived a wild third period to outlast Central Catholic, 6-3 and advance to the PIHL Class-AAA Penguins Cup semifinals.

The game was a close one early on and was tied after two periods, with Vinny Vituccio scoring for the Hawks late in the first and Ronan Junker for the Vikings early in the second.

Although Bethel Park had a 25-11 advantage in shots over the first two frames, the game was evenly matched, with the physicality to back it up. Neither side was afraid to dish out hits, and the referees let them go. Penalties were few and far between.

Junker got his second of the game just under two and a half minutes into the final period to give Central Catholic a 2-1 lead, but Bele answered 57 seconds later to keep the contest tied. Bele got his second a few minutes later to give Bethel Park the 3-2 lead and then again at 10:03 of the third for the natural hat trick and the 4-2 lead.

Christian Caparelli brought the Vikings within a goal, but a goal by Sean Maerkle and a fourth goal – an empty netter – by Bele sealed the 6-3 win for the Blackhawks.

Bethel Park will face North Allegheny in the semifinal on March 14 at 9:00 p.m. at RMU Island Sports Center.


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