Chartiers Valley hockey looking to end semifinal streak
TribLIVE Sports Videos
The Chartiers Valley hockey team has been having a recurring nightmare the past three seasons.
The team has reached the Class AA Penguins Cup semifinals each of those campaigns only to fall just short of reaching the title game.
This season, the Colts won't let the past deter from what they want to achieve.
“Our goal is a state championship,” senior captain Tyler Stevenson said. “We have been in the same spot the last three years. It has been semifinals and out. We all know, especially us seniors, the feeling wasn't good.
“We don't want to feel that again.”
The Colts are spurred by the return of the dynamic duo of Anthony Franks and Cullen McMahon. The seniors led the PIHL in points last season — both with 69 — and are looking to pick up where they left off.
The challenge for second-year coach Sean Biancaniello will be how to use the alternate captains.
“It all depends on who we play,” Biancaniello said. “There will be times we put them on different shifts, and there will be times when we put the two-headed monster together and let them run.”
Chartiers Valley also will look to seniors Bob Thomas and Nigel Truong as well as sophomore Alex Stevenson for production.
“Dominic Slovick is a forward/defenseman who may have the most powerful shot in the league,” Biancaniello said. “When he hits the net, chances are it will go in.”
The defense — and team — will be led by Tyler Stevenson. The senior is a four-year member of the team, and his presence on the ice will be a boost.
“When you look at him, the first word that comes to mind is leadership,” Biancaniello said. “The kid was born with it. He has been through the ropes, he plays travel hockey at the highest level, he has a 4.5 GPA and he has the respect of other players. You cannot teach that.”
Junior Daniel Bigley and sophomore Derek Falcioni will look to bolster the Colts' defense.
The defense will rally behind first-year starting goaltender Alex Chabala. The senior played behind three-year starter Noah Stevenson last season. While Chabala doesn't have the experience Chartiers Valley is used to, his coach believes his talent will carry the team through the season.
“I don't lose a wink of sleep over our goalie,” Biancaniello said “I truly believe he could have been the starting goaltender for any program. That is a luxury we have had. He is coming into this season as a player hungry to get wins”
Even with several graduations, the Colts can turn to a junior varsity program that went undefeated in 2012-13 to feed the varsity squad's needs.
“It is hard to replace a line like Nick Demarino, Rich Monti and Ryan Ziss,” McMahon said. “They were running people over. They had grit. But we have some kids stepping up to fill positions.”
Chartiers Valley competed in the St. Margaret Fall Face-Off Tournament last week. The tournament features top teams from Class AAA, AA and A of the PIHL. The Colts went 2-1 in pool play with wins over Thomas Jefferson, 6-4, and Pine-Richland, 7-4. The loss came to Upper St. Clair, 9-5. Franks led the team with eight goals and five assists. McMahon and Falcioni finished with four points each, and Bigley and Alex and Tyler Stevenson each finished with three.
The Colts moved on to tournament play this week. Results were unavailable at press time.
While the past three seasons have ended on down notes, Chartiers Valley has used the experiences to grow closer.
The players know they can rely on each other as they battle Armstrong, Bishop Canevin and Latrobe for a chance to raise the Penguins Cup.
“This group of guys have been together since middle school,” Franks said. “We know each other very well. It is like a family in the locker room.
“We do love each other like brothers, and we want it to show on the ice.”
It is that unity that the Colts hope will drive the team to its first state title since 1986.
“We have one. We have the caliber team and have been discussing it in the locker room. We have had enough talking. It's now time to make it happen.”
The Colts kick off their season Oct. 28 when they travel to the Robert Morris Island Sports Center to take on Montour. The puck drops at 9:15 p.m.
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.
- Steelers trade punter Wing to Giants for pick
- 4-year-old transplant recipient Angelo Giorno dies, hospital says
- Pitt forward Maia injured during workouts
- 11 inmate deaths mar contract talks, says Allegheny County Jail’s former medical care provider, Corizon Health
- Spreading the wealth: Gardeners share excitement of saving, sharing seeds
- Steelers laud decision, praise Brady for taking on Goodell
- Police seek 2 in Derry Twp. luring attempt
- Experts warn Kane’s Haiti trip might jeopardize any case from 2014 wiretap
- Pittsburgh Mayor Peduto: Public has stake in Penguins
- With most starters resting, Steelers turn in lackluster loss at Heinz
- Dozen injured when dump truck rear-ends Port Authority bus near Rankin Bridge