Young Chartiers Valley inline hockey team continues to grow
It hasn't been the best start to the 2012-13 season for the Chartiers Valley inline hockey team.
The team has jumped out to a 1-4-0-1 start to record three points, putting the team in the bottom half of the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Roller Hockey League's Junior Varsity 1 division.
The struggles haven't been due to a lack of effort but more of a lack of experience. In fact, the Chartiers Valley roller hockey program has only been in existence only for three years.
“We are a young team,” Colts coach Dan Fotovich said. “We have only been in the league three years and this is the second with a high school team.”
The program was started three years ago as a middle school program and joined the PIRHL. As some of the players moved up from middle school into high school, the need for a high school program grew.
The Colts high school team had its first season a year ago. The 2011-12 squad played as a varsity squad due to the fact the team had two senior members.
The Colts went 3-13-0-2 last season.
The team dropped down to junior varsity status this season because it did not have a senior on the roster, which is needed to play on the varsity level in the PIRHL.
“If all goes well we will have a varsity squad next season,” Fotovich said.
Without a senior leader, the 2012-13 squad is incredibly young. The team is made up of one junior, six sophomores and five freshmen.
“Their individual skill levels are really high,” Fotovich said. “We want them to get more into a team mentality. We are trying to get them to play as a team despite never playing together before.”
Justin Fisher is the the lone junior on the squad. He has recorded five goals and two assists – eclipsing his six points from a season ago – to be one of the top contributors on the team.
He is joined by Tanner Bock as a top producer. The sophomore also has seven points as he looks for another big season after recording 21 points last season.
Freshman Spencer Carlson and sophomore Nick Pruski are the Colts' other top producers with six and five points, respectively.
“Those are our four big guns,” Fotovich said. “They are the most experienced players.”
Sophomore Trevor Dobbins is in his second year in goal and he is backed up by freshman Jake Windsheimer.
“(Dobbins) is only in his third season of playing goal ever and (Windsheimer) is in his second,” Fotovich said. “The goal play has shown improvement as the season has went on.”
The second-year coach said his squad has been working hard to improve its defense. The system the team is trying to run uses a stifling defense that leads to offensive rushes.
“We really didn't have this system before,” Fotovich said. “It has been our biggest focus this season.”
Despite being young, the Colts have remainded focused as they try to add to the win column. While it has been a tough season thus far, Fotovich feels the team has a bright future.
“We picked up a new player this season,” Fotovich said. “And we have two players who missed the cutoff date who have been practicing with the squad who could play next year. And we have three new kids in the middle school program.
“I think it will continue to grow. There is a new rink in Collier Township. Green Tree has a rink. I think it will become more prevalent as more kids go out and play.”
Nathan Smith is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at email@example.com or 412-388-5813.