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Kosick leads Hampton

| Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2012, 8:53 p.m.
Pine Creek
Louis Raggiunti | Pine Creek Journal Hampton forward Zach Kosick moves the puck through Gateway's defense with ease.

When a coach inherits a team, his hope is to have at least one player who embodies the physical and mental traits it takes to run the system he installs.

Anthony Scolieri Hampton's hockey coach, inherited some talented players, but junior forward Zach Kosick is a guy he knows he can go to in the clutch.

“Zach has been here since my first year as an assistant,” Scolieri said. “He was a freshman and has confident hands and a good shot.

“This season, I used him in a shootout at the St. Margaret's tournament. That may be his best strength.”

Kosick is a big, strong player who can shield defenders away from the puck while using his long reach to maneuver the puck to where he needs it to be.

“He wins the puck battles by using his skill and his teammates to set himself up,” Scolieri said. “Zach is adept at cycling, which makes him a well-rounded player.”

The diversity has served Kosick well as the Talbots make the jump from Class A to AA. The jump had the team wondering how it would stack up at first, but after a handful of convincing wins, Kosick and his teammates realize they just have to adjust to the opponent.

“I realized I had to step up my play,” Kosick said.

“We lost some good players, so I had to work hard to prove I could step up to help carry this team. I help my teammates, and they help me. I work as hard as I can to show I can play.

“It's always good to move up. I like showing we can stand out while flying under the radar.”

Kosick said at first he thought the bump in class would be really tough, but having some success has been encouraging.

For his efforts, the junior dons an “A” on his jersey as an alternate captain.

“Guys look up to him,” Scolieri said. “He plays the game the right way and his leadership skills get better every day.”

Scolieri is the third coach of Kosick's high school career. Changing coaches that often can have an ill effect on a player, but Kosick said Scolieri has been around the program and the two have worked together for a couple of years, so the change was smooth.

“Anthony is like a great friend,” Kosick said. “His practices focus on new systems and allow us to get familiar with other skaters.”

Hampton seems to have the right coach and right group of players. The early success in scoring has led to wins, and now the focus will be on increasing defensive awareness to prepare for the playoffs.

“We need to work on the defensive mindset,” Kosick said.

“We have given up odd-man rushes. Normally I try to score, but I am now trying to get back and pick up any trailer and do well on the back checks.”

The Talbots may be the underdogs by bumping up in class, but the team has been successful in recent years. Hampton played for the Penguins Cup championship two years ago and was one game away from getting back to Consol Energy center last season.

“That's the goal … Consol,” Kosick said.

“We may be the underdogs, but we can still play at a high level.”

Jerry Clark is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-779-6979 or jeclark@tribweb.com.

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