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File photo: Mt Lebanon goalie pushes the puck off to Phil Polomsky

April 11, 1985

It is rare that the Mt. Lebanon hockey team gets behind early in a game. Throughout the 1984-85 season, the Blue Devils either got off to an explosive start or kept it close throughout the game before either pulling away or falling flat on their skates. In the state high school championship game on Saturday at the Face-Off Circle Ice Rink in New Hope, Mt. Lebanon did fall behind early. To be more specific, the Blue Devils were losing to Conestoga High School 2-0 midway through the first period and 5-2 with only 1:02 gone in the second period.

Mt. Lebanon eventually lost its bid for a state championship, 6-4. “Right from the start, the whole situation seemed anticlimactic. We were so excited coming off the wins over Erie Prep and Upper St. Clair, then we went down there and it seemed like a nothing game,” said Mt. Lebanon Coach Bob Nascenzi. The victories Nascenzi was referring to came in the Western Regional playoffs. Mt. Lebanon upset Erie Prep the tournament’s No. 1 seed in the first round and defeated Upper St. Clair in the semifinals. “We didn’t get motivated to play the game until it was too late,” Nascenzi said. “We go down there and it was a dingy rink that was poorly lit. I think we had more fans there than Conestoga. I expected the place to be packed. “The whole thing seemed like a pick-up game. The atmosphere had an effect on me. I’m sure it affected the kids. When we finally realized what we were there for, I thought we played well.” Mt. Lebanon simply realized too late that it was there to win a championship. With 5:49 left in the first period, Phil Polomsky scored to pull Mt. Lebanon within one goal. Phil’s twin brother Mike scored less than a minute later to tie the score, 2-2. But Conestoga’s Scott Cowan who had a hat trick scored his second and third goals of the game before the period was over to give Conestoga a 4-2 lead. “Everybody was off their game. (Goaltender) Hank Horn, the Polomskys… everybody just got started slow,” Nascenzi said. “Conestoga scoring four goals in the first period tells you there was something wrong with us early in the game. We just played our worst game of the season.” Nascenzi can’t afford a lack of intensity next year. Horn and left wing Craig Maxwell are seniors and the Polomskys, both sophomores could be leaving for prep school.
“If Mike and Phil come back, it will be tough to make our varsity team,” Nascenzi said. “We might not be as experienced as this year, but we’ll be a competitive team. We’ll have to wait and see what happens.”

Credit: The Pittsburgh Press

By John Wdowiak – For the Pittsburgh Press