GCC junior part of all-star hockey team
While Franklin Regional occupies the Class AA ranks in hockey, one Export resident is having an all-star season in Class A.
Nick Benjamin, a junior defenseman for Greensburg Central Catholic, represented his school on the Northeast Conference team in the PIHL Class A All-Star Game on Feb. 10 at the Robert Morris University Island Sports Center.
Though his Northeast Conference team lost, 7-4, Benjamin said he enjoyed the experience of taking the ice with the rest of Class A's best.
“It was a really fun time, playing in a giant stadium with a bunch of fans,” Benjamin said. “Playing with all the skill guys from the other teams was fun, and I hope to do it again with a couple more of my (GCC) teammates next year.”
Benjamin was the only skater from GCC to be selected for the game, though he did have one teammate there in senior goaltender Billy Potter.
Potter played the third period of the game and allowed one goal, but he was pulled from the net with his team trailing, 6-4, so that the Northeast could send out an extra skater in a comeback attempt.
“It was kind of like the end to a regular-season game,” Benjamin said. “We pulled the goalie, and everyone was going all out to the net to try and tie the game.”
But the goal was not to come for the Northeast team, which also featured players from Bishop McCort, Westmont Hilltop, Kittanning, Freeport and Deer Lakes.
As for Benjamin, who entered this week leading the winless Centurions in goals (14) and points (30) from his spot on the blue line, the all-star experience was a worthwhile one, and it gave him a chance to meet some of his section rivals.
“It was a much more skilled game. There were no cheap shots; everyone was just out there for fun,” Benjamin said. “I played mostly with a kid from Kittanning (Mike Kelly), and also a kid from Westmont for a few shifts. The kids from McCort are our biggest rivals, but they were really nice kids, too. I got a chance to talk with them and meet a lot of good guys.”
Matt Grubba is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5830 or firstname.lastname@example.org.