Plum hockey standout Randazzo to pull double duty
By Michael Love
Published: Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Joe Randazzo doesn't play baseball, but this fall and winter, he will try to turn a double play.
Randazzo returns to the Plum hockey team as it will attempt to make another playoff run in PIHL Class AA. He is the Mustangs' leading scorer among returning talent.
He also will join the Pittsburgh Vengeance, a U21 Junior A team in the North American Tier III Hockey League.
“I want to finish out my senior year and help Plum win. We have a young and talented team this year,” said Randazzo, who enters his senior year at Plum with a 4.0 grade-point average.
“I also want to do well in the NA3HL and move up to the (North American Hockey League), which is the league above it, and ultimately get a college scholarship.”
Plum's Vinnie Somma serves as an assistant coach with the Vengeance.
The NA3HL consists of 22 teams from Pennsylvania and Ohio, as well as all throughout the midwest and into Kansas and Texas.
The USA Hockey member crowns a league champion, and that champ goes on to play for the national championship against the winners of the five other Tier III leagues and a host city.
The Vengeance, formerly known as the Pittsburgh Junior Penguins until last year, plays its games at BladeRunners in Harmarville.
Randazzo will have practice for the Vengeance several days a week and games almost every Friday and Saturday through early March.
There also will be a few games on a Monday or a Friday.
Plum games usually are Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays, with practices once or twice a week.
Add a regular school schedule during the day and homework, and it will be a daunting task.
“It will be a challenge,” Randazzo said. “But I am ready for it.”
Randazzo is the only 17-year-old on the Vengeance, and he is one of only two high school players on the squad.
Shaler defenseman Matt Bour also is on the Vengeance, and he will play for the Titans' squad in PIHL AAA.
The Vengeance plays a 48-game schedule, and it all gets started Saturday at 7:30 p.m. with a game against the Detroit Metro Jets at BladeRunners.
The teams play again on Sunday at noon.
The Vengeance played their first scrimmage Saturday against the Cleveland Junior Lumberjacks.
They lost 4-3 in overtime, but Randazzo finished with two assists.
“I was a little nervous at first,” he said. “I got used to the speed and physical play as the game went on. It's great competition. I like it.”
In addition to the games, each NA3HL team attends several league-wide showcase events. The events include two NA3HL showcases, an NA3HL top prospects tournament and the NA3HL Silver Cup Championship.
According to vengeance hockey.com website, the NA3HL saw more than 50 scouts on average per event at these league-wide events in 2012-13.
Michael Love is a staff writer with Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5825 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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