Hempfield, Greensburg Salem, GCC hockey players named to PIHL all-star team
As the cream of the crop will face off in Sochi for the Winter Olympics, locally, the best of the PIHL will face off in early February, when a number of Greensburg-area players will join the festivities at the league's annual all-star games.
Ten players, including three alternates, were selected from Hempfield, Greensburg Salem and Greensburg Central Catholic to participate on the Northeast team for the Open Class all-star game Feb. 9 at Robert Morris University's Island Sports Center.
Hempfield, which dropped from Class AAA to the Open Class this season, has totaled 24 points and a record of 12-2. The Spartans will be represented by four players, including second-time all-star Mike Donofrio, a senior defenseman with 29 points, including 19 assists.
“Mike leads by an example and is not boisterous. He goes out there and is giving 150 percent,” Hempfield coach Denny Zeravica said. “He has smooth skills. He is really taking the role of being a leader on the team and running with it.”
Senior forwards Anthony Ciocca and Avery Lavella will join Donofrio at the all-star game. Ciocca, who has 38 points, is fourth in the Open Class with 25 goals, while Lavella has 17 goals and 12 assists.
A surprise in this year's class of all-stars is the selection of the Spartans' sophomore goaltender, Garrett Ciaramella, who is 11-2 with a 1.88 goals-against-average and .920 save percentage.
“He's a calming presence back there whenever things haven't gone well for us or if we don't have our legs,” Zeravica said. “He gets everyone settled down.
“They know he has their backs and they got his back. They are just going to work for everything they got.”
Greensburg Salem (9-5) had three players selected to the Northeast team, including junior forward Vinnie DeFazio, who has 18 goals and 24 assists, and senior forward Logan Davis, who has recorded 45 points with 26 goals.
Senior defenseman Nick Garner, who is the captain of the Golden Lions, was selected as an alternate for the Northeast team. Garner has five goals and four assists.
“They eat, sleep and breathe hockey. They are gritty hockey players. They are very passionate about it,” GS coach Michael Steinhauser said. “When you look at an athlete that excels, they are athletes that are ultra competitive kids. They are a blessing and great example to underclassmen coming up.”
Davis, who has been selected for the second year in a row, will have to miss this year's game because of a family vacation. Last season, Davis was unable to participate because of obligations to his inline hockey team.
“It's definitely an honor. I mean it's nice to know I'm one of the top players in our division. It's an opportunity to against the best of the best,” Davis said.
Greensburg Central Catholic (3-10) will be represented by senior forward Zachary Banko, who has 11 points. Forward Nick Benjamin and goalie Patrick Teich were picked as alternates and Benjamin will play in the game.
The four all-star games will begin with the Open Class game at 11 a.m., followed by Class A at 1 p.m., Class AA and 3 p.m. and Class AAA at 5 p.m.
Andrew John is a freelance writer.