Shaler alum to lead Hampton hockey
As an amateur and high school hockey player from Shaler, Matthew Ranallo enjoyed his experience.
He parlayed that experience into a nice four-year run with the Edinboro University hockey club before taking a break from the sport.
The hiatus ended when Ranallo bumped into a friend who encouraged him to get into the coaching ranks at the junior varsity level.
Ranallo was granted the opportunity to take over the Hampton varsity squad this season.
The Talbots enjoyed a nice run of success the past couple years. Playoff appearances and a trip to the Penguins Cup Finals along with numerous All-Star players have the new coach brimming with positive feelings about the season ahead.
“My big thing is keeping an upbeat, positive attitude,” Ranallo said. “I like to hit the ground running, and I am a high-energy, attention-to-detail (coach) who likes to work the system.”
Ranallo said he has depth on this team with three good lines, and the top two have a lot of returning talent. He has four defensive players returning he really likes and believes that this is an overall good group.
The success starts between the pipes with star goalie Cam Raidna marking the last line of defense. Ranallo said it is unfortunate the rules prohibit the goalie from dawning the captain patch because he thinks so highly of the person behind the mask.
“He provides a lot of leadership anyway,” Ranallo said.
The Talbots do have an experienced captain to lead the team.
Zach Kosick is a balanced player who has been a part of several big contests and brings a complete game to the rink every night.
Second-line center Eric Leya and his linemates garner first-line respect with their scoring prowess, and Ranallo said he is a good locker room guy.
“Eric is more vocal where Zach does more of his talking on the ice,” Ranallo said.
Forwards Will Maguire and Ryan Hornung have stepped up, and a couple of pleasant surprises in forward Nick Katsafanas and defender Jae Young Jan stood out in a preseason tournament.
Defensmen Jackson Baker should be ready to get back into action after missing time in the preseason.
Despite some changes, the goal remains the Penguins Cup Finals.
“Not much can stop us if we stay focused and maintain that attention to detail,” Ranallo said.
Hampton has a road game at 7:35 p.m. tonight at Armstrong to get the regular season underway.