Pittsburgh Hockey Digest

PIHL

North Hills advances after hard-fought battle with Westmont Hilltop

NEVILLE TWP., Pa. —  An opportunistic offensive attack and Tyler Rodney’s two third-period goals pushed the North Hills Indians to the second round of the Class-A Penguins Cup playoffs with a 6-3 win over a determined Westmont Hilltop side on Thursday night.

From the drop of the puck, the Westmont carried the energy and created chances but was unable to convert, leaving the door open for their opponent. Connor Stutz got the Indians off and running with a wrister from between the circles that beat Westmont goalie Darren Replogle at 3:46 of the opening frame.

The Hilltoppers drew even as leading scorer Hunter Partsch scored the first of his two goals on the night, snapping a shot underneath the crossbar that got past Indians netminder Ethan Isaly to knot the game at a goal apiece at 8:12. Partch added a shortnanded talley in the third frame for his 26th goal of the season.

Goals from Sam Kowalski and Theodore Kiger in the first two minutes of the second period gave the Indians some breathing room. However, the Hiltoppers turned the momentum for the rest of the period, putting 21 pucks on Isaly in an offensive onslaught that produced just one goal as Logan Webb lit the lamp with a power play goal at 4:01 of the middle frame. Rodney then went to work in the first 10 minutes of the third period, beating Repolgle from close range twice to restore the two goal cushion for the Indians.

Westmont would not go away quietly, as it ramped up the offensive attack, pouring on another 14 shots. But a strong effort from the Indians power play and some key saves from Isaly turned back the comeback attempt for the Hilltoppers.

The win put North Hills in a matchup with the winner of the South Fayette-Blackhawk contest in the PIHL Class-A quarterfinals round. That contest will occur on Tuesday at Printscape Arena.

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