Baldwin hockey looking forward to big test against Indiana
TribLIVE Sports Videos
The Baldwin hockey team is trying to change its identity. The Highlanders want to be known for strong, disciplined play on the ice.
So far, so good.
With 18 points in its first 10 games, Baldwin (10-1) emerged as a PIHL Open Class contender this season. The Highlanders hope to keep the momentum under first-year coach Jim Brown.
“We took over this program and there was no discipline, and referees didn't want to ref our games,” said Brown, a longtime youth hockey coach. “We're all on the same page now. We're not reinventing the wheel. It's basic hockey. We just have a great group of hockey players. They've bought into the system, and they deserve all the accolades.
“We are a young team, but we are trying to make a statement. This is a real good group. I am very proud of them and I feel fortunate to be involved with this team.”
The Highlanders' lone loss came to Hempfield, 5-3, but they rebounded to win their next six games by a 68-9 margin. That included a 12-3 triumph over Greensburg Salem, the team that knocked Baldwin out of the playoffs last season.
“We beat them and that's a big motivator for us,” Baldwin senior defenseman Ryan Doran said. “We just have to keep the pace going. We haven't taken anything lightly.”
The Highlanders face a key test Thursday when they visit perennial power Indiana (8-0).
“That's a big game to look forward to. We'll just have to pull together and see what we can do,” Baldwin captain Anthony Alaimo said. “Our team has been putting great effort out. As long as we keep playing like that, we'll be OK.”
Doran expects a close battle.
“They are a big, hard-hitting team. They have a lot of fast players,” Doran said. “We have to stick to our basic game. We want to worry more about our defensive end before we worry about the offensive end. They have a lot of skilled players. We need to really work on moving the puck to have success.”
Puck movement has been a strength for Baldwin this season.
“We are starting to pass more this year than in the past,” Doran said. “We're always positive. We don't focus on the negative. We don't point fingers. We are more disciplined this year, for sure. We don't want to get caught up in the stuff that happens after the whistle. We're staying away from that stuff and taking the power plays instead of giving them.”
The Highlanders have a balanced attack. Kody Becker leads the team with 14 goals and 30 points. Alaimo is second with 29 points, while Mark O'Hanlon has 24. Brothers Kenny (18) and Brian Dee (17) are next. Max Milan (16), Jake McCue (14), Doran (14), Paul Knerr (13) and Dom Carrlino (12) have reached double figures in points.
“Everybody goes in the corners and battles. They do what they have to do to get the win,” Alaimo said. “We are pretty balanced. We're not a selfish team. I think that makes us tough to play against because there's not that one player a team can try to lock down.”
Brown is confident his team is ready to contend for a championship.
“As long as we play our game and structured, we believe we can get that trophy,” he said. “We concern ourselves with ourselves. We think that we're the class of the division. Hopefully, we can walk our talk.”
Joe Sager is a freelance writer.
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.
- Offense awakens to lead Steelers past Panthers
- Kids get kick out of new comic club at Homestead library
- Pirates, Worley edge Brewers, 1-0, move to cusp of playoffs
- Utility company helps customers prep for cold
- Volunteers spruce up McKeesport trail
- Game changers: Turnover leads to elusive TD for Steelers
- Pirates notebook: Bucs set single-season attendance record
- Rossi: State of NFL gives Steelers a chance
- Steelers notebook: Rooney says owners support Goodell
- Penguins notebook: Carcillo hopes to give team physical edge
- Excela Health kicks off drive for Westmoreland ICU