Ford City flies past Ligonier Valley in PIHL playoffs
It only took eight seconds for Ford City’s scoring barrage to get under way.
Jesse Valasek’s early goal was the first of six opening-period scores, as the Sabers blasted Ligonier Valley, 9-0, in a PIHL Open Class Chiefs Cup first-round game before a sizeable crowd at West Kittanning’s Belmont Complex.
It was the 16th victory in a row for top-seeded Ford City (18-2-1). The Sabers, who will move on to quarterfinal action Tuesday at Center Ice in Delmont, have outscored the opposition, 148-39, this season.
“They were all hyped up during the morning skate today, and we certainly wanted to score quickly,” Ford City coach Doug Anthony said.
Kevin Valasek took the opening face-off and fired a shot off the boards behind the Mounties’ net, and brother Jesse Valasek was there to register the opening goal.
“It was kind of funny,” Kevin Valasek said. “We were in the locker room longer than we wanted to (be) because the Zamboni had some problems, but we were ready to go, and I told the boys this was a big game and it’s only one of four we need to win.”
Kevin Valasek scored the first of his three goals with 12:15 to go in the opening period. Almost five minutes later, Eric Lindey broke through two Ligonier defenders and slid a shot just inside the left pipe.
Kevin Valasek scored again with 4:27 to go in the first, weaving through the Ligonier Valley zone and blistering a shot past beleaguered Mounties goaltender Anthony Schepis.
Senior defenseman Jeremiah Rowe added two goals, as Ford City used its speed to build up a 6-0 advantage.
“Our team speed is our best asset,” Anthony said. “Speed and moving the puck quickly up the ice and strong passing is what does it.”
About the toughest thing anyone from Ford City had to do last night was when Kevin Valasek scored his third goal of the game with 9:28 to go in the second period. The Ford City student section had difficulty throwing their hats on the ice because meshing around the rink rises almost to the ceiling.
“It’s a great feeling,” Kevin Valasek said. “You work so hard. I’m a senior here and this was my last game here at the Belmont Complex, and to go out with three goals was really nice.”
That goal made it 7-0 and started the PIHL’s continuous clock rule.
Ligonier Valley (5-16) didn’t get a shot on goal in the second period until there was 4:34 showing on the clock.
Kevin Valasek has 28 goals and 63 points; Jesse checks in with 56 points.