Baldwin's Naylor, Alaimo, Beerman selected for PIHL all-star event
Three members of the Baldwin varsity hockey team have been selected to play in this year's PIHL all-star showcase.
Baldwin will be represented by Jake Naylor, a senior defenseman; Anthony Alaimo, a junior forward; and Ryan Beerman, a senior goaltender.
The Baldwin trio will play for the Northeast Conference Open Division all-star squad, which will oppose the Southwest Conference all-stars.
The PIHL's annual all-star showcase event will be held Feb. 10 at RMU's Island Sports Center.
Naylor is Baldwin's team captain, and leads the Highlanders both on an off the ice. He is a key player as a member of the Highlanders' top defensive line.
“Along with the other captains on the team, Jake has done a lot off the ice in the locker room to help this (year's) young squad,” Joe Powell, Baldwin's head coach, said. “Perhaps just as importantly, his play on the ice has stepped up, too.
“He has really turned into a shutdown defenseman for us. Our penalty kill, which is operating at an 87 percent (efficiency rate) is led by Jake. He plays against the other team's top line when line matching is called for.”
Offensively, Naylor has contributed four goals and seven assists to the Highlanders' cause this season.
Alaimo leads Baldwin in overall points from his winger position. He has 14 goals and 15 assists, good for a 29-point total.
“He's the perfect definition of a power forward,” Powell said. “He plays a straight line game, straight to the puck, straight to the net. You get in his way, he will run you over. Not too many defenseman are eager to go into the corner with Anthony a second time.
“What makes Anthony a fantastic hockey player is his skill, to go along with his size and attitude when playing the game. He wants to go get the puck and take it right to the net. He's not afraid to play in high traffic areas. And all-around, he has size to match his physicality and the skill that makes him a leading scorer.”
Alaimo owns one power-play goal and one short-handed goal, and has recorded hat tricks against Ringgold and Connellsville. He also was credited with three assists versus the Falcons.
“The closer to the net the better for Anthony,” Powell said. “Whether he likes it or not, he's coined the nickname ‘garbageman' because he's always in front cleaning up the garbage. This year he has really stepped up his leadership role in the locker room.”
Beerman is one of three netminders named to the Northeast Conference team. He will be joined by Indiana's Austin Moody and Ford City's Adam Cogely.
“Ryan has been our best and most consistent player all year,” Powell said. “He's giving a young team the opportunity to win every night, while stealing a few games along the way.”
Beerman owns a 9-5-1 overall record this season with two shutouts, a 2.87 goals-against average, and an .858 save percentage. He posted shutouts against Ringgold and Frazier, and allowed only one goal to Carrick, Ringgold and Connellsville.
“In the games we haven't won, Ryan certainly gave us a chance to win,” Powell said. “He's played through a knee injury this year, and makes a very compelling argument for team MVP.
“The goalie's job is to always stop pucks, but Ryan doesn't stop there. He's a big leader in the locker room, and he helps our defensemen with his puck-handling and puck-moving skills; sometimes it's like having a third defenseman on the ice.”
Baldwin split decisions in two contests last week, defeating Carrick for the second time this season, 8-2, and losing to Keystone Oaks, 3-2.
Dakota Becker, on a Kaleb Reckley assist, and Tim Cass, on a Naylor assist, netted goals against Keystone Oaks, both in the first period.
Becker, who leads the Highlanders in goals with 16, registered a hat trick versus Carrick, while Reckley finished with a two-goal performance
Defensemen Ryan Doran, Trevor Dutkewicz and Kenny Dee tacked on one goal apiece for the Highlanders.
Baldwin (9-5-1) will host Altoona (7-7) tomorrow, Friday, at 7 p.m. at Ice Castle.
Ray Fisher is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5820 or email@example.com.