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Southmoreland in-line hockey team ends tough season with playoff loss

| Wednesday, March 6, 2013, 9:01 p.m.
Jordan Zandzimier (right) fights for the puck in a game against Greensburg Central Catholic this season at Hot Shots Sports Arena. Kelly Vernon | Independent-Observer

Winning a championship in any sport is tough.

Winning back to back championships has become nearly impossible.

The Southmoreland in-line hockey team found that out the hard way this season.

Southmoreland was crowned champions of the Varsity 2 division in 2012, but the team was gutted by graduation last spring.

The Scotties were minus their two leading scorers and one of their top defensemen before breaking camp in September, and the results this season showed it.

Southmoreland started the season on a high note by winning four of its first five games, but then the wheels fell off.

Suspensions and penalties killed the Scotties from Christmas until the end of the season, and the team limped into the playoffs dropping seven of its last eight games.

Southmoreland finished the 2102-2013 with a 5-10-3 record, good for 13 points and a disappointing 13th-place finish in the Varsity 2 division.

Coach CJ King had his work cut out for him as Southmoreland played its last two games of the season with only six players dressing for the contests.

“Suspensions and other factors really caught up with us this year,” said King. “We played the last two games shorthanded, and it makes it tough to win.”

Southmoreland closed out the regular season with a 4-2 loss to North Allegheny, and seemed to be turning the corner heading into the playoffs.

North Allegheny jumped out to a 1-0 lead early in the first period, before Brenden Walter knotted the game at one two minutes later, with Jordan Sandzimier picking up the assist.

Tanner Skovira kept the Scotties in the game with some outstanding goaltending in the second period, but North Allegheny scored the next three goals to take a 4-1 lead before Jeremy Suitor closed out the scoring for the Scotties with a goal with 6:15 left in regulation.

Jeremy Shawley picked up the assist on Suitors goal. Suitor was the leading scorer for the Scotties with 18 goals and eight assists, good for 26 points.

The Scotties opened the playoffs with a 5-0 loss to Pine-Richland.

After a scoreless first period, Pine-Richland broke the game open with three goals in the second period and added a pair of goals in the third to send the Scotties packing.

With a full offseason to rebuild, the Scotties are hoping for more participation from the underclass ranks to help save the team from not being able to participate in the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Roller Hockey League next fall.

Mark King is a freelance writer.