Pittsburgh Hockey Digest

PIHL

Luke Washabaugh’s Hat-Trick Propels North Allegheny to Title

HARMAR TWP., Pa — Luke Washabaugh and Sam Mitchell put on a clinic at the 2021 St. Margaret Fall Face-off Finals, with junior Trey Gallo’s shootout goal being the difference as North Allegheny defeated Mt. Lebanon 5-4 in a rematch of the 2021 PIHL Class-3A Penguins Cup finals at Alpha Ice Complex on Monday night. It was the eighth St. Margaret title for the Tigers.

The Blue Devils controlled most of the two periods, but in the end were unable to stop the resilient Tigers attack as Washabaugh’s hat-trick and Kyle Holmes late game blast brought North Allegheny to at least a shootout.

“I’m very happy with the way we performed all week,” Mike Bagnato said postgame. “I’m glad we won, more than anything else I’m glad how we won. All through the week we showed a lot of hard work, resiliency. We came out in the third period, the bounces were going a couple different ways and it was a tough physical game, and we weren’t always on the right end of it. We did a good job hanging in there and  not letting it get to us.”

North Allegheny opened up the scoring as leading scorer Connor Chi directed a pass off Washabaugh’s stick that beat Austin Martin on the power-play at 5:58, but the momentum continued to swing back towards the Blue Devils. Chi’s tripping minor later in the period opened up the door for Sam Mitchell to get a marker of his own beating Murphy at 13:56, and a quick strike by Jackson Klasnick gave Mt. Lebanon the lead at 14:22.

The two teams ramped up the contact in the second as the Tigers tried to even the score but were met by a ferocious Blue Devils challenge that eventually led to a Ryan Patrick power-play goal at 10:39. North Allegheny eventually regained the lead in shots as an individual effort by Washabaugh brought the Tigers within one, as the senior wheeled behind the net and threw a puck high behind the junior netminder to make it 3-2.

“We had a really good first two periods,” Washabaugh said. “Not the result we were looking for, I’m really proud of our team, we came out and fought hard in the third period.”

Both squads came out of the locker room flying in the third with Washabaugh capitalizing on a power-play to tie the game at 4:18, followed by Mitchell’s second at 6:17 and Holmes getting the second equalizer at 7:25.

Gallo and Chi scored in the shootout to close out the contest.

THEY SAID IT

Mike Bagnato

Luke Washabaugh

TODHUNTER’S VIEW

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