Chartiers Valley hockey shuts down Gateway in season opener
First-year Chartiers Valley hockey coach Sean Biancaniello was fired up to lead his team onto the ice for the first time against Montour.
Mother Nature had other ideas.
The Colts season opener was postponed due to the inclimate weather caused by Hurricane Sandy and the team had to wait an additional six days before it could hit the ice for the first time.
“We scrimmaged Mt. Lebanon the weekend right before we were supposed to play Montour,” Biancaniello said. “And we came off the scrimmage hot. We won 8-2 and were clicking on all cylinders. Having the game cancelled worried me if we would be able to keep the momentum up.”
The lay over didn't stop the Colts' momentum as they blasted Gateway, 6-2, last week.
It took only two shots and 46 seconds for the Colts to get on the scoreboard as Rich Monti found the net to take an early lead. Later in the period during a Gateway power play, Anthony Franks collected a loose puck on a breakway and sent it past Gateway goalie Tyler Perhac for the easy score.
Gateway cut the lead to one early in the second period but the Colts ended the frame on a roll. Franks scored his second goal of the night and Cullen McMahon added a power-play goal off an assist by Monti to put the Colts up 4-1.
In what may have been the most impressive goal of the night, the Gators had a 5-on-3 advantage late in the second period and were on the attack. Robert Ferrari collected the puck on a breakaway and scored an unassisted, shorthanded goal.
The Colts scored their final goal in the third period as Franks completed the hattrick on an unassisted goal.
“We played well for most of the game,” Biancaniello said. “I was very pleased with the offensive attack. I wasn't pleased how we played defensively.
“We gave up way too many second chance points. If we do that as the season goes on, we are in trouble.”
There was a question mark on who exactly would lead the offensive charge in 2012-13 but the Colts may have got their answer in Franks.
The junior had a dominating performance against Gateway with three goals and an assist.
“Our scoring will go where (Franks) takes us,” Biancaniello said. “He knows his role. We talked to him extensively about it.
“We also have a group of complimentary players with McMahon, Monti and (Ryan) Ziss.”
Chartiers Valley did show a bit of sloppy play against Gateway and picked up several penalties. In the opening period the Colts had 10 penalty minutes and eight in the second.
Biancaniello warned his team they cannot let that happen as the season moves on.
“We were really shooting ourselves in the foot,” Biancaniello said. “If we play that kind of hockey against some really good teams, we will be in trouble.”
The Colts did shut down the Gateway power play, not giving up a single goal off a penalty. Biancaniello credited Kevin Kocak and Robert Thomas with shutting down the Gators along with three-year starting goalie Noah Stevenson.
“(Stevenson) is our calming force,” Biancaniello said. “You can feel the electricity on the bench when he makes the big saves. Our team feeds off him.
“And we know he will make the big saves when we need them.”
The Colts return to the ice Monday when it hosts Latrobe. The puck drops at 9:10 p.m.