Gateway gunning for repeat performance and more in PIHL Class AA
By Michael Love
Published: Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2012, 8:56 p.m.
For the first time in several years, a Gateway varsity ice hockey team enters a season as a defending section champion.
The Gators captured the PIHL's Section 3-AA championship in February, and while head coach Gene Perhac said his team will be fairly young overall this year, the leadership is in place to help Gateway make some noise.
“We have some young players who will be stepping up into key roles,” Perhac said. “We're looking forward to developing them and hope they can adjust quickly to fill the spots of kids who have moved on.”
Gateway again will play Kiski Area and Franklin Regional in section, and Latrobe, last year's Section 4 champion, will be a section foe of the Gators for the 2012-13 season.
Latrobe made the move when Hampton, which competed in the Class A Penguins Cup finals the past two seasons, moved up to AA.
Gateway split with Latrobe last year, and a 6-4 win over the Wildcats late in the season avenged a 6-0 setback 17 days earlier.
“That makes things a little bit tougher, but we're looking forward to the challenge,” Perhac said.
Gateway returns its top three point scorers from last year in seniors Jake DeHass, John Kasper and Camden Cacolice.
Kasper led the team in goals scored (16), while DeHass led in points (27) and assists (19). Cacolice was second in goals (11) and sixth in assists (11).
Senior defender Dathan Johnson was tied for second in assists with 12.
Taylor Siwik returns to the team after not playing high school hockey last year as a junior. Siwik scored 20 goals and added 22 assists for the Gators as a sophomore in the 2010-11 season.
“We're looking for big things from Taylor this season,” Perhac said.
Siwik and DeHass, Perhac said, have led the team in scoring in preseason games.
“The kids are optimistic they can have a strong season,” Perhac said.
“Our goals stayed the same as they were last year — win the section and make the playoffs. It's that old adage of one game at a time. I think we can make some noise.”
Gateway finished 9-11-1 last year, and the Gators battled through injuries to key players at different points in the campaign.
“It is very important to stay healthy, especially with our returning upperclassmen,” Perhac said.
“Hopefully, we don't go through what we did last year.”
Perhac said he's expecting Zach Dusch, a returning junior who got a lot of varsity minutes last year, to help anchor the defense.
He also expects junior forwards Jake Brennan and Brenden Hamilton to have increased roles in the offense.
Junior goaltender Tyler Perhac was 8-10-1 in net last year, while senior Matt Whelan figured into the result of two games and had a 1-1 record.
“Tyler and Matt are solid in net,” Perhac said.
Perhac said the younger players still are a work in progress and are getting used to the speed of varsity games.
“We learned a lot last year about finishing off games,” Perhac said. “We had a bunch of tough losses, but we had some nice wins. Penguins Cup champion West Allegheny only had three losses last year, and one of the losses was to us. Those type of things can help the team. It gave them a lot of confidence. The upperclassmen know they can get the job done.”
Gateway opens its season against Hampton on Monday at 7:10 p.m. at Ice Connection in Valencia.
The Gators also play Chartiers Valley on Nov. 5 at 9:10 p.m. at the Mt. Lebanon Recreation Center.
Gateway opens the home portion of its schedule against rival Plum at Center Ice Arena in Delmont on Nov. 8 at 7:45 p.m.
Michael Love is a staff writer with Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5825 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
- Kovacevic: Big Ben’s contract clock ticking
- Talented center Sutter is proving to be ‘pretty important’ for Penguins
- Penguins notebook: Beau Bennett returns to practice
- Original tea partyers returning to GOP fold
- Western Pennsylvania engineer aboard missing Malaysia Airlines flight
- Analysis: Kesler still on Pens’ radar as Shero aims to bring back ‘Big 3’
- Westmoreland County Courthouse in Greensburg to be featured in TV series
- ‘Un-American’? That’s Harry Reid, the Senate’s lowly smear artist
- Pitt looking to enhance profile at ACC tourney
- Pirates reserve outfielder Dickerson is also at home on soccer pitch
- Parking tickets in Downtown Pittsburgh spark outrage