PIHL Class AA Preview
The 2011-12 high school hockey season is back, starting Oct. 24. Changes have been made. Blades have been sharpened. Exceptional players have moved on to make way for new talent, eager to begin the season. No matter whether you are a new player, a retired vet, a fan or a supportive parent, this upcoming season is sure to deliver an emotional rollercoaster filled with surprises.
Much like the players, we have circled the following games on our calendar…
The Bishop Canevin Crusaders, the reigning St. Margaret’s and AA Penguins Cup champs, will host the West Allegheny Indians on February 16th at the Mt. Lebanon Recreation Center. The two teams played each other twice last season, resulting in two wins for Bishop Canevin, the first on December 20th with a final score of 5-2, and the second on December 30th with a final score of 3-2.
Of the Crusaders’ five leading scorers, Randy Unger (16-18-34 in 16 GP), Peter Karney (7-17-24 in 18 GP) and Matthew Walsh (23-29-52 in 20 GP) return for the 2011-12 season. Unger recorded two goals in the December 20th game while Walsh had an assist and then added another assist on December 30th before scoring the game-winning goal in overtime.
Bishop Canevin has lost Frank Vance (16-29-45 in 18 GP) and Michael Mannsman (10-12-22 in 19 GP) to graduation.
Vance had two three points while Mannsman recorded one goal vs. West A. Helping these players out were Marc Slommiany (2-6-8 in 18 GP), with a goal on the 20th and an assist on the 30th, Garrett Godlewski (7-2-9 in 18 GP), with a goal on the 30th and Chadd Lounder (3-2-5 in 20 GP) with one assist on the 20th. All three will be back to meet up with the Indians this February.
Senior Jon Levitt will return for West Allegheny this season. Levitt was a force and scoring leader in the division last season, ending the season with a record of 14-7-21 in 17 GP. Levitt scored a short-handed goal for the Indians last December 30th. Other players who will be back for another go at the Crusaders are Chris Allison (4-9-13 in 19 GP), who had an assist each game, Jared DiSanti (6-9-15 in 19 GP), who scored a goal and an assist, Jake Druga (9-6-15 in 19 GP), with one goal v. BC and Zach Hayes (1-8-9 in 19 GP) who added an assist.
Chartiers Valley vs. Greater Latrobe
Do not miss the battle between Chartiers Valley and Greater Latrobe as the Colts take on the Wildcats at Chartiers Valley’s Mt. Lebanon Rec. Center on October 27th. This is the first game of the season for both teams.
Chartiers Valley finished last season third in the division with a record of 16-4-0 and 32 points. Latrobe was right behind in fourth place (14-4-1) with 29 points.
The Colts are the team to beat, even though they lost three of their top four leading scorers, Bob Tracy (20-27-47 in 18 GP), David Levy (14-13-27 in 20 GP), and Bryan Waldon (16-10-26 in 18 GP). Chartiers Valley still has Justin Sabilla, the highest ranked scoring leader who ended his 2010-11 season with a record 34-29-63 in 19 GP. Sabilla had three assists against Latrobe during their last meeting. Levy scored twice, Tracy had two assists and Waldon scored once.
Another returning player, Brian Pustay (3-12-15 in 20 GP) scored a goal for the Colts last February.
While the Colts still have Sabilla, the Wildcats have taken a hit losing their top-scorer Zachary Laduke who was tied with Sabilla at 63 points last season. Latrobe will be looking to its other two leaders Joshua Singley (18-29-47 in 19 GP) and Christopher Johnson (11-23-34 in 18 GP) to carry the team to a victory. Singley scored the Wildcats’ only goal of the game assisted by Johnson and Laduke.
Chartiers Valley: Pustay, Cullen McMahon (1-11-12 in 20 GP) and Robert Ferrari (6-5-11 in 20 GP)
Greater Latrobe: Jacob Koluder (6-9-15 in 19 GP), Brandon Harris (6-9-15 in 17 GP) and Adam Ferguson (4-8-12 in 17 GP).
Montour vs. Erie Cathedral Prep
The Montour Spartans will play host to the Erie Cathedral Prep Ramblers December 5th at the RMU Island Sports Center. The Spartans finished their 2011-12 season with a record of 9-6-2 and 20 points, just ahead of Erie (8-10-2 with 18 points).
Both teams met twice last season, first at Montour’s home opener on October 18th, and then again on February 28th, at Erie’s Mercyhurst College Ice Rink. Both games ended up as wins for Montour, the first 8-4 and the second 4-3.
Montour’s three leading scorers, Zarhary Milnarcik (17-17-34 in 16 GP), Kurt Kurelis (12-9-21 in 17 GP) and Zachary Schwartz (2-14-16 in 17 GP) are all gone, but the majority of last season’s players remain.
Several Montour veterans are returning - Austin Kronz (3-6-9 in 16 GP) had an assist in October and a goal in February, Josh Castelveter (5-4-9 in 17 GP) had two assists on Oct. 18 and a goal on Feb. 28, Vincent Cataldo (3-5-8 in 17 GP) scored in October, Michael Bittner (1-2-3 in 17 GP) assisted Castelveter in February and Travis Clark (4-3-7 in 17 GP) had two assists in the second game. All will be playing this upcoming season with the Spartans.
Of Erie’s four leading goal-scorers, three will continue on this season: James Bufalino (20-16-36 in 20 GP), Christopher Coombs (19-16-35 in 19 GP) and Josh Ordos (9-9-18 in 20 GP). Bufalino scored a goal and an assist on Oc. 18, Coombs added three goals and three assists over the two games, Dan Trageser (2-3-5 in 19 GP) scored in October, and Peter Zaphiris (2-9-11 in 17 GP) had an assist in the October game.
Players to watch:
Montour: Vincent Cataldo (3-5-8 in 17 GP), Clark and Nick Randazzo (1-3-4 in 17 GP)
Erie Cathedral Prep: Brandon Gotkin (6-9-15 in 17 GP), Zaphiris, and Cameron Zbreznj (2-4-6 in 9 GP)