Plum hockey hopes to rebound from tough start to season
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Through four games, the Plum varsity ice hockey team finds itself in unfamiliar waters.
The Mustangs are 0-3-1 and are coming off a tough 4-2 loss to rival Gateway on Nov. 8.
Plum head coach Dave Stonebraker said he's confident his team can turn things around, and it will take focus and determination from both the coaches and players.
“We have stressed to the players they have to put behind them what has happened, and we have to be accountable in every practice and in every shift of every game moving forward,” Stonebraker said.
“I expect this group to do that and react in a positive fashion to the challenge we have ahead of us. I see this team coming out better for what they've been through. This season is not close to being over.”
Plum will have a chance to put one in the win column Thursday, when it takes on Class AA power Latrobe at Kirk S. Nevin Arena in Greensburg. The opening faceoff is set for 9:15 p.m.
Latrobe entered the week 2-0, and it outscored its first two opponents — Moon and Kiski Area — by a combined 11-2.
The Wildcats were to play Franklin Regional on Monday, and the game was to end past the early deadline for this week's edition.
“We, as a team, know what needs to change,” Stonebraker said.
“We've accepted that responsibility and know we are not playing the type of game we need to play. The coaching staff is not afraid to make changes to reach outcomes we know we can achieve as a club.”
Plum and Gateway met three times last year in the Mustangs' first season in Class AA.
Plum won all three games in close fashion, and the Mustangs wanted to continue that victory trend.
But Gateway had other ideas, and the Gators, which entered the game 0-2, jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the second period.
“We didn't operate at the game speed this team is capable of,” Stonebraker said.
“We allowed the pace and style of the game to be dictated to us. We didn't have one positive shift until about seven minutes to go in the second period. We were a team that was reacting to whatever was thrown at us.”
Plum responded early in the third period with two goals by junior Joe Randazzo within the first 6:19 to cut the Gators' lead to 3-2. The goals were his sixth and seventh of the season.
“We had a very pointed conversation in the locker room between the second and third periods, and to the players' credit, they came out in the third period with a fire in their gut and played better,” Stonebraker said.
“We have to have that fire in our bellies from the beginning of the game and at the beginning of each shift if we are going to win games.”
Plum pulled goaltender James Borriello with under a minute to play, and Gateway senior Cam Cacolice put one in the empty net with 20 seconds left to seal the win for the Gators.
Borriello, a sophomore, got the call in net against Gateway, and he stopped 29 shots.
Senior Taylor Cestra played the first three games for the Mustangs.
“James put in a very good effort (against Gateway) to keep the score where it was,” Stonebraker said. “The final goal wasn't his fault.
“Taylor has played outstanding this season, considering she was peppered with a lot of shots over the first three games of the season.”
Gateway junior Tyler Perhac made 38 saves on 40 Plum shots.
“Tyler took over that game and was the best player on the ice, in my opinion,” Stonebraker said.
Michael Love is a staff writer with Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412- 388-5825 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.