Cal U hockey team to play at Consol Energy Center
By Jeremy Sellew
Published: Sunday, November 27, 2011
Tuesday, Dec. 6 --• it's another hockey night in Pittsburgh, only the black and gold won't be playing.
It's a Cal U Hockey Night in Pittsburgh.
For the second straight year the California University of Pennsylvania Vulcans' hockey teams will be playing at the Consol Energy Center, the home of the Pittsburgh Penguins and the university's official educational partner.
The Vulcans' three club hockey teams consist of the College Hockey East team, the College Hockey Association team, and the women's team.
Their home rink is Bethel Park Bladerunners, though the teams do practice at the Rostraver Ice Garden.
The day is full of events kicking off with the CHA Cal II Vulcans (7-1-0) taking on Carnegie Mellon University (7-0-2). The Vulcans trail CMU by two points atop the division standings.
The CHA team was created in 2004, and is a slightly less competitive team, not requiring as much of a time commitment, according to the team's website.
At 5 p.m., the Cal U women (3-3) will take on Slippery Rock.
During the women's game, a Cal alumni reception will take place in the the area's Cal U Conference Center.
A player from the Pittsburgh Penguins will be on hand from 5:30-7 p.m. to sign autographs. There will be a Penguins Ice Crew appearance, giveaways, entertainment, and more.
Following the women's game, there is an open-skate scheduled on the CEC ice surface, when 250 lucky fans will get the opportunity to skate as long as they bring their own skates.
In the main event at 8 p.m. the CHE Cal I team will take on Robert Morris University (3-2). The Vulcans defeated the Colonials in last year's game at the CEC.
The Cal I Vulcans are 8-0, leading their division by eight points over second place Fredonia State University.
While there is a large Pittsburgh influence on all three Cal rosters, the Mid-Mon Valley is well represented on the men's teams.
Playing on the CHA (Cal II) team are Chad Gwynn, a sophomore, and Corey Briggs, a freshman. Both are from Elizabeth.
Sean Whiten, a junior, is from Stockdale, just a short ride from the campus.
The CHE, Cal I team is represented by five players from the area.
Josh Werner, a New Eagle resident and graduate of Serra Catholic High School, is an alternate captain of the team.
"We're very young, everyone is gelling together real nice," Werner said of his team. "The underclassmen are playing such an important role and the upperclassmen have done a good job of mentoring them.
"They're playing a more important role earlier than we thought."
He has four goals and nine assists totaling 13 points on the season in 11 games played.
Kevin Claybaugh, a freshman from Belle Vernon, who played scholastically at Ringgold, also tallied 13 points (5 goals, 8 assists) so far this season.
Cory Beam, a junior from Finleyville, and Jeremy Pell and Dustin Briggs, both from Elizabeth, round out the Mid-Mon Valley contingent on the team.
Werner is relishing the opportunity to play at the arena one more time.
"It's exciting. It's the one day out of the year you really feel like you're in the NHL," Werner said.
Josh Carter, the team's equipment manager gives the Vulcans the feel of entering an NHL locker room. Carter's uncle is an equipment manager for the Anaheim Ducks.
"He really does a great job of setting us up," Werner said. "You walk in the locker room and it looks like an NHL locker room.
"Our jerseys are hung, skates being sharpened. It's exciting."
The events that Cal and the Penguins set up that day are second to none for Werner and his family.
"My parents take the day off and get to spend the whole day down there," Werner said. "They love going there and really look forward to it as much as I do."
Students, faculty, staff, alumni and guests can ride a fan bus from the campus to the event. Buses will be leaving the Natali Student Center 1:30, 4, and 6:30 p.m.
Tickets for the event are $8 for all ages. Students are free with a valid CalCard.
Tickets can be purchased in the Natali Student Center at the Information Desk, at ticketmaster.com, or at the Trib Total Media Box Office at the Consol Energy Center.
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