Wes Waldschmidt made the ultimate sacrifice – and got the ultimate reward.
A forward by trade and North Allegheny’s leading scorer, he chose to shift to defense to help bolster the Tigers in the middle of the season.
It worked well as his goal in the second overtime Sunday gave North Allegheny a 2-1 win over Bethel Park for the PIHL Penguins Cup Class AAA championship.
Waldschmidt’s shot from just inside the blue line shot snuck past screened Bethel Park goaltender Pete Cosentino with 1:33 remaining in the second overtime.
“My coach just told me to get the puck toward the net and I just got a good bounce,” he said. “I [use the screen] a lot. He just couldn’t see it, I guess.”
The championship is the Tigers’ first in program history.
Bethel Park struck first in the contest as Tyler Trocano chipped a loose puck into the net 12:18 left in the third period. Bryan Brown and David Spadacene assisted on the play.
Josh Herbert tied the contest at 1-all with 1:33 remaining when he lifted a wrister past Cosentino. Donald Lewis and Matt Lancaster earned the assists.
The game was scoreless through the first 10-minute overtime period before Waldschmidt delivered the game-winning goal off a Herbert assist.
North Allegheny goaltender Max Richards denied several quality Bethel Park scoring chances to earn the win in goal.
“It was crazy,” he said. “That’s the game you ask for all season.”
The Tigers will take on Holy Ghost Prep for the Pennsylvania Cup championship in two weeks in Philadelphia.