• David Nicoletti

LMHL Championship Rematch From 2021 Results In Bishop McCort Repeating As Back-To-Back Champs

A hard fought physical contest at 1ST SUMMIT ARENA in Downtown Johnstown between the #1 seeded Westmont Hilltoppers (16-3-0), and the #3 seeded Bishop McCort Crushers (16-4-0) in the LMHL Championship, a rematch from 2021, resulted in goaltender Nikita Volski stopping all 35 shots for the Crushers. Helping them lead McCort to a 7-0 victory over Westmont, becoming back-to-back LMHL champions.

From the drop of the puck to the game's first whistle, McCort started the game by skating three forwards, and one defensemen. Doing so in honor of their fallen Crusher, Maverick Baker, who passed away on February 11th of this year. A period in which was full of penalties, and both goaltenders playing solid play in net, it was McCort ending the first 17 minutes on top. A power-play goal early in the contest from Vitaliy Ulianov (F) sent both teams into the second period with the Crushers on top 1-0.

A Westmont slashing penalty early in the second resulted in the Crushers capitalizing on the man-up once again. Another goal from the freshman Ulianov made the score 2-0 McCort with plenty of time remaining in the period. Even though the Hilltoppers took over in shots after two, 31-13, the Crushers added one more by junior forward Brennan Karalfa. This sent both teams to the locker room with Bishop McCort up 3-0, as the final 17 minutes were upon us.

Westmont would give it everything they had in the game's final period, but McCort was not going anywhere. Four more goals (Ulianov, Karalfa, and Matthew Ribblett [2- both on PP]), and a running clock, resulted in the Bishop McCort Crushers taking it home. Brining the Ann Harris Smith Cup back to Osborne Street at a final score of 7-0. Final shots on goal were 35-20 for the Westmont Hilltoppers.

A 9-2 middle school championship win for McCort prior to the game against Hollidaysburg made it more sweeter. Capping off an emotional roller-coaster of a season for the Crushers, remaining as the team on top once again. Not only going out and winning it for each other, but for Baker as well. Now that is what winning and coming on top is all about.

During the postgame medal handouts, Maverick's name was called last. His little brother, Sawyer, honoring his brother by accepting his LMHL medal on behalf. The trophy presentation afterwards saw Sawyer being the first to hoist the Ann Harris Smith Cup. With the whole Bishop McCort Crushers team behind him and by his side. Proving all together, that hockey is more than just a game.

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