Major goals ahead for Pine-Richland hockey team
The Pine-Richland hockey team finished in the bottom half of the PIHL Class AAA standings last season, in large part because it finished second to last in goals in its classification.
But coach Jim Black said scoring shouldn't be a problem this year.
“I think the thing that I picked up right away with this group is that we can put the puck in the back of the net,” Black said. “We got a few kids that came back that didn't play last year but decided to come out this year.
“The thing that I really like about our team this year is that we have some goal-scorers that can get the puck around and find the net.”
The results are evident. In the St. Margaret Foundation Fall Face-Off Hockey Tournament, Pine-Richland took first out of 16 teams by topping Latrobe, 6-4, on Sept. 18 at Alpha Ice Complex in Harmar.
“We use that tournament as a warm-up to see what we have and what the kids' strengths and weaknesses are so that we know what we need to work on for the start of the season,” Black said.
“But any time you can win a tournament, it's good. It allowed the boys to gain some confidence. I like the composition of the team so far and the different types of players that we have. I'm looking forward to the start of the season.”
Will Studt, last season's points and goals leader for the Rams, returns. Senior captain Antonio Binotto, defenseman Brendan Garrity and forward Jake Matelan also are expected to play major roles.
“I like our team, and the reason I like our team is that we have so many different types of players. As a coach, it gives you the opportunity to put different line combinations together and different types of players together,” Black said.
“Hopefully we continue to grow, and we find that winning balance and combination with the lines.”
Pine-Richland will begin its season against North Hills at 7 p.m. Monday on their home ice at the Baierl Complex.
Kevin Lohman is a freelance writer.