Serra beats Deer Lakes at Ice Garden
The new steel insulated roof and updated lighting system loom quite noticeably, giving a different look to the now 45-year-old Rostraver Ice Garden.
With refurbished sections of concrete lining large sections of the seating area, the changes also extend outward from the rink's playing surface.
For the Rostraver Ice Garden's most historically successful tenants, however, the look was much the same as ever for the Serra Catholic hockey team Thursday in a non-section contest with Deer Lakes.
Travis Marzina and Tyler Speis tallied hat tricks and Bill Lesnak added two goals to lead the Eagles to an 8-3 victory over the Lancers.
"It's the same as always," fifth-year Serra coach Brian Boehm said. "It was a tough road here. There were a lot of question marks during the summer whether we were ever going to be in here again, but they got it done and it's a good sheet of ice. It was fast for us tonight. It is nice to be home."
Following heavy snowfalls last winter, a 100-by-200-foot section of the rink's wooden roof fell onto the ice surface during an intermission of a youth hockey tournament Feb. 14. With the Rostraver Ice Garden closed for repairs, Serra, along with the Thomas Jefferson, Elizabeth Forward and Ringgold hockey programs, were forced to scramble to find replacement rinks to close out their seasons.
The Eagles played the remainder of their 2009 home schedule at the Bladerunners Ice Complex in Bethel Park. Each of the Rostraver Ice Garden's previous high school teams returned to the rink for this season, except for TJ, which will play its home games at Bethel Park.
"I was tired of traveling," Marzina, a junior left winger, said. "I missed being out here. It's so much nicer to come out here after school and know it was our rink. They fixed it up really nice. They did a really good job with this place."
Including their eight-goal showing against Deer Lakes (0-3), the Eagles (2-1) are now 2-0 at the Rostraver Ice Garden this season, outscoring their competition, 18-3.
"It doesn't seem too different," Speis, who also added two assists Thursday, said. "It's just a little brighter, but other than that it's pretty good to be back."
Just 35 seconds into the game, Lesnak scored his first goal and Serra took a 2-0 lead when Marzina added
a goal with 6:16 left in the first period.
Although Deer Lakes senior Joe Smith beat Eagles goaltender Garrett Hudson top-shelf with a wrist shot 1:21 into the second period, Speis, Marzina and Lesnak then responded with consecutive goals to put the Serra lead at a comfortable 5-1 margin with 6:04 left in the second period.
The key for the Eagles during their second-period scoring run was in their ability to get traffic in front of Lancers goalie Mike Lockerman, who stopped 49 of Serra's 57 shots.
"We have to do that," Boehm said. "We're not going to run teams up and down the ice anymore. We can't allow goalies to take us out of games and this kid from Deer Lakes played outstanding."
Over the final five minutes of the second period, though, Serra allowed the Lancers to gain momentum and get back into the game.
With 5:16 left in the period, Smith scored his second goal of the game on Deer Lakes' third shot of the contest. After Speis then answered with his second goal, Matt Theys added a power play goal with 28 seconds left to send the Lancers into the third period with a 6-3 deficit.
"It wasn't our best effort definitely," Eagles defender R.J. Kendi said. "We shouldn't have let them see any shots. We should have played our systems and just kept them in their zone and kept working the pucks and getting shots on net."
In the third period, the Eagles did just that. Marzina and Speis scored in the final period to round out Serra's scoring.
"This is in my five years the most disciplined team I've had," Boehm said. "I think they just know what to expect."