ShareThis Page

Sewickley Academy hockey continues to improve in 2nd year back

| Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2013, 9:01 p.m.

After not fielding a hockey team during the 2011-12 season, Sewickley Academy is back for the second straight season with a new coach.

And the Panthers have strong started, picking up their third win of the season last week by defeating Shady Side Academy, 6-1.

“Everything is falling into place,” first-year coach Tyler Henk said. “These guys are giving 110 percent. I couldn't ask for anything more.”

The Indians struck first and led 1-0 heading into the second period. But goals from Erik Dietrich, Pat Bowles and Willie Paul put Sewickley Academy up by two in the second period. Alex Pfiefer scored twice and Bowles added his second goal to put the game out of reach in the third.

“It was a slow start,” Pfiefer said. “But we started grinding pucks in deep and working hard to get loose pucks. We were short a few guys so it took a little bit to get the gears moving.”

It was the second win over Shady Side Academy this season for the Panthers as they defeated the Indians, 7-2, on Nov. 22. Sewickley Academy will see the Indians three more times during the regular season.

“It definitely helps getting wins over them early,” Connor Zierden said. “But playing them so much, they will learn our forechekcs and the way we play. We are going to need to change it up a little each game.”

As a member of the Independent School Hockey League, Sewickley Academy also will play Kiski School, Linsly School and Western Reserve this season.

Pfiefer (four goals and three assists) and Bobby Haponwicz (three goals and four assists) lead the 17-player team in points with seven.

Henk stepped in as coach after Ryan Patrick became the hockey director at Penn State's Pegula Ice Arena and resigned. Patrick led the Panthers to a 5-5 mark in 2012-13.

Henk previously played hockey at Bethel Park and Wheeling Jesuit and coached various middle school and travel teams. Henk credited assistant coach Lou Pessolano — in his eighth season with Sewickley Academy — with his transition into the team.

“(Henk) has helped keep the team together,” Zierden said. “We have had to deal with new head coaches the last few years so we have been used to working with that.”

And despite being in this first season, Henk expects big things as the team continues to grow.

“We can beat anybody if we keep our intensity up,” Henk said. “We will be able to beat the top teams and go far in the playoffs.”

The Panthers return to the ice Jan. 8 as they play host to Kiski School at 6 p.m.

Nathan Smith is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at or via Twitter @NSmith_Trib.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using 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.