High school notebook: PIHL stars highlight Team Pittsburgh roster for America's Showcase
Pittsburgh will have the attention of plenty of hockey fans this week thanks to the NCAA Frozen Four being held at Consol Energy Center. Those fans also can head west to Robert Morris University's Island Sports Center on Neville Island and see some additional high-level hockey.
Some of the nation's top high school hockey players will take part in America's Showcase starting Wednesday and running through the title games Sunday.
Twenty boys teams and six girls teams will compete.
In pool play of the boys tournament, Team Pittsburgh is scheduled to play New York at 5 p.m. Wednesday, New England at 3 p.m. Thursday and Midwest at 3 p.m. Friday.
The Team Pittsburgh roster includes seniors Cody Black and Harry Kramer from PIHL Penguins Cup and state champion North Allegheny and senior Josh Singley from Latrobe, which also won PIHL and state titles. Goalie Brian Baker and forward Trevor Recktenwald from Class AAA runner-up Peters Township also will play for the 20-player Team Pittsburgh, which will be coached by Lou Biancaniello from Chartiers Valley.
Four local girls players also will compete in the showcase, representing Team Mid-American: junior goalie Samantha Smith (Shady Side Academy), junior defenseman Eleni Rapp (North Hills), junior forward Olivia Stokes (Shady Side Academy) and senior defenseman Melissa Bodine (home schooled, Sewickley).
The games will all be streamed live by PIHL Network, available at www.ustream.tv/channel/pihlnetwork.
Canon-Mac hires coach
The Canon-McMillan hockey team will be under new leadership next season as Terry Virtue replaces Yuri Krivokhija, whose contract was not renewed.
A native of Scarborough, Ontario, Virtue has spent 13 years in coaching at various levels, including junior hockey in the Ontario Hockey League. He also spent 17 years playing professional hockey in the AHL and NHL with the New York Rangers and Boston Bruins.
A little revenge
Last week's softball showdown between the top two teams in Class AAAA might have been a rematch of the 2012 WPIAL championship game, but Hempfield coach Bob Kalp isn't ready to declare his team a runaway favorite after knocking off defending champ Canon-McMillan, 17-6.
“It certainly beats losing to them,” Kalp said. “I think we're confident we can play with them. Next time, it could be a 1-0 game.”
Hempfield (4-1), which moved into a No. 1 ranking, lost to the Big Macs, 1-0, in the regular season last year and also, 4-1, in the title game.
No. 2 Canon-McMillan (3-1) bolted to a 6-0 lead last week before the Spartans used a 14-run third inning to take control.
“They have such a powerful lineup. I knew we'd have to score some runs. As it happened, I didn't believe it,” Kalp said. “We do have a pretty nice lineup, one to nine. Every one of these kids is capable of hitting home runs. Seven of the nine kids have hit home runs in their career for us.
“We always have a chance.”
Kasey Kolick led the Hempfield charge with a 3-for-4 effort, including a grand slam in the third. Taylor Bartlow threw a complete game and hit a three-run homer.
Season shut down
Bishop Canevin's boys volleyball team spent last year playing an exhibition schedule with 12 players with hopes of playing as a WPIAL team this spring.
Those hopes were dashed, however, when only six players came out for the team this season.
“Our enrollment is 400 (students),” athletic director Dan Bowman said. “We have a decent amount of kids on track, baseball and tennis teams. Other kids play AAU basketball. It was just hard to have kids make (volleyball) a priority.”
Bowman said it's possible the program could return. The school is running an eighth-grade tournament this spring to gauge interest in the sport. Canevin again would have to go through an exhibition season before stepping into WPIAL play.
Central Valley senior basketball player Madi Rowan made a verbal commitment to New Hampshire last week after taking an official visit.
“It was a great environment with great girls on the team and amazing coaches,” said the 5-foot-9 guard who averaged 18.3 points. “I had to play point guard this year, but they want me to think about scoring first.”
She also considered St. Peter's, Rider, Fairfield and Florida Gulf Coast.
• Chartiers-Houston senior Garrett Vulcano has accepted a football scholarship from West Liberty. The 6-1, 200-pound linebacker made 130 tackles last season, was named all-state and selected to play in the PSFCA East-West game and Tri-County All-Star Game.