Pine-Richland forward finding his scoring touch
Through the first seven games of the PIHL hockey season, Pine-Richland forward Dillon Kessy netted three goals, but he was more of a distributor, as he tallied 14 assists.
During the past nine games, Kessy has lit the lamp at an alarming rate, as he scored 21 goals and still maintained his role as a distributor with 10 assists.
His totals for his senior season have surpassed his high school career totals, and the senior is not finished as he hopes to help his team get back to the Penguin Cup finals.
Looking at the top line for the Rams through 16 games, the top line of Zach Richey (24 goals, 20 assists) Ryan Cole (7 goals, 20 assists) and Kessy (24 goals, 24 assists) is always a threat to score.
“Dillon is a deceiving player because of his speed and finesse,” Pine-Richland coach Mike Bagnato said. “If you are not careful, he will skate right by you. He has good hands and has a good shot.”
Bagnato said Kessy has a knack for hitting his spots on the net. He said the senior can lift the puck off the ice, making it tough for a goalie to judge exactly where the puck will be when it reaches the crease.
“Dillon can read the five-hole well,” Bagnato said. “Goalies earn their saves against him.”
Kessy was born in Canada, then moved when he was 12 to Ithaca, N.Y. for two years before coming to Pittsburgh three years ago.
Kessy said the level of high school hockey play in New York is comparable to Pittsburgh, and he was excited to be a part of the Rams' tradition. He hopes to finish the season strong and get the team back on the big stage at Consol Energy Center.
“When I lived in Canada, I got to play on the Calgary Flames' rink in a scrimmage between periods of a Flames game,” Kessy said. “That was amazing.”
Kessy's scoring touch has been amazing as of late, and he credits the success to chemistry on the top line and keeping his head up.
“Me, Zach and Ryan work well together,” Kessy said. “We pass well and work on the power play. The main thing is keeping my head up so I can beat a defenseman and a goalie.
“I try to outsmart them and move the puck quickly.”
Kessy likes the group of guys he met when he came to the Rams and said to be successful, they have to work hard as a team. If that happens, it will cancel out any errors made.
The senior said his size helps him score and enables him to do some of the dirty work to help his linemates out.
“It's a one-game-at-a-time, one-shift-at-a-time focus,” Kessy said. “Do your job. If we do that, the big picture will be OK.”
Bagnato said Kessy was elected as an alternate captain because he is a leader by example.
“He is a quiet kid who really loves to play hockey,” Bagnato said. “I was double-shifting him on offense and defense early in the season. But when the defense stepped up, I was able to change it up and he got more cracks at scoring. He and Zach feed off each other.”
Kessy has seven multi-goal games. He scored five against West Allegheny and has netted three hat tricks on the season.
Of all the goals he has scored, he notes a goal from his eighth-grade season that gave his team a 2-1 win as his favorite because it helped his team win that game.
Kessy is not sure where he will continue his education but said he plans to make hockey a part of that experience.
“I hope to play prep hockey, but if that doesn't work out I will play club hockey,” he said.
Jerry Clark is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-779-6979 or jeclark @tribweb.com.