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Greensburg CC hockey moves up in class, casts eye toward future

| Monday, Oct. 9, 2017, 6:33 p.m.

Greensburg Central Catholic continues to grow its hockey program.

The Centurions returned to the PIHL varsity level last season. This year, they moved from Division 2 to Class A. While that jump means new opponents and tougher competition, it also puts the team in a position to compete for a Penguins Cup and a state championship. Division 2 has a separate playoff tournament and no state title matchup.

“They are all pretty excited and optimistic,” new coach Vinnie Scalamogna said. “We have 11 seniors. They've been playing together since they were very, very young. This is kind of the culmination of all those years of friendship and being teammates. They are looking forward to seeing how the season plays out.

“I like to think it's going well. I think the kids have responded very well. They like the style of coaching. They like the practices and the challenge. Whether the score shows it or not, the kids are really displaying what they've learned in practice. We want to see the players develop, and we're seeing that just in the short time we've been together.”

The Centurions return a bulk of their team that went 2-15-1 last year.

Forwards Stephen Kendrish, Ethan Bailey and Nick Ruggieri and captain Cam Ganter are some of GCC's returning experienced players.

“They are highly skilled players and lead by example. They get out there and get the job done. They are motivators on the bench, too,” Scalamogna said. “Cam is a solid defenseman and our captain. He knows exactly how to lead.”

Up front, Ruggieri led the team with 12 goals and 19 points last year. Kendrish (7 goals, 14 points) was next, and Bailey had two goals and six points.

“Whenever we want to get a nice punch, we'll put the three of them together. They play quite well together,” Scalamogna said.

On defense, Kyle D'Alessio and Ganter usually are paired, same with David Kratzenberg and Adam Stasko. Josh Carfang will move back from forward, when needed. Andy Gorr returns in goal.

“He is a phenomenal young man in goal. He is very focused,” Scalamogna said. “He is a typical goalie before the game. He's a happy-go-lucky guy and has a good time. As soon as the puck drops, he's all business. He's doing everything we ask of him.”

The squad has one freshman in forward Madysen Myers.

“They have taken her under their wing and made her a part of the team. She fits right in,” Scalamogna said. “That's a testament to these guys. They are a nice group of guys, but as soon as they walk out of the room, they push that button and they are hockey players and a team.”

Though the lineup is loaded with older players, the Centurions hope to keep building the program.

“While we're trying to make a wonderful experience for the seniors, like any team, we have to look forward to the future,” Scalamogna said. “We do a lot of joint activities and off-ice practice sessions with the younger players. We bring the older players in with the middle school players to help teach and mentor them and help give back to the game.”

Joe Sager is a freelance writer.

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