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Baldwin JV hockey team reaches semifinals

| Monday, March 27, 2017, 7:42 p.m.
Baldwin junior varsity forward Michael Dimperio
Randy Jarosz | For the Tribune-Review
Baldwin junior varsity forward Michael Dimperio
Baldwin junior varsity forward Justin Pollard
Randy Jarosz | For the Tribune-Review
Baldwin junior varsity forward Justin Pollard
Baldwin junior varsity forward Justin Pollard
Randy Jarosz | For the Tribune-Review
Baldwin junior varsity forward Justin Pollard
Baldwin junior varsity defenseman Nate Breisinger
Randy Jarosz | For the Tribune-Review
Baldwin junior varsity defenseman Nate Breisinger

The future of the Baldwin hockey program appears to be in good shape.

Baldwin's junior varsity hockey team advanced to the semifinal round of the PIHL playoffs this season, and finished with an 11-3-4 overall record.

The Highlanders qualified for the playoffs by ending up third in the Tier 3 West standings, and third overall in the Tier 3 division.

“From where we started to where we finished, I could not be more pleased and proud of this team,” coach Allan Walsh said. “At the beginning of the season, we were short on players and there was some doubt if we would have enough. But we were able to add players and the guys worked very hard to become a better team and individual players. They bought into everything we as coaches showed them and became a true team.

“I have been coaching a long time and this team was just a pleasure to coach. We had fun as a group, and it showed in how well everyone got along and supported each other. They played hard all season and never gave up on themselves and each other, and it showed in our record and our team stats.”

Baldwin goaltender Tanner Cindrich posted seven shutouts this season, and the team had eight overall. The Highlanders had a 190-minute, 42-second shutout streak during the season.

“We gave up only 20 goals all season,” Walsh said. “That is a great accomplishment and a testament to Tanner, who had a fantastic season, and also to how well the team played defensively.”

The team was led by defenseman Nate Breisinger, who served as captain; and the two assistant captains, forward Jason Kavulic and defenseman Brendan Ferrari.

Breisinger and Ferrari anchored a strong defensive corps that also included Anthony Callery and Westley Jennis.

The Highlanders killed 64 of 68 penalties (94.1 percent rate) without allowing a goal, and netted 15 short-handed goals.

Offensively, forwards Andrew Golvash and Kavulic were the team's leading scorers in the regular season with 23 and 22 points, respectively. Golvash clicked for 16 goals and 7 assists; Kavulic tacked on 10 goals and 12 assists.

Other leading scorers included forwards Michael Dimperio (14 goals, 4 assists), Justin Pollard (6 goals, 8 assists), A.J. Valente (8 goals, 4 assists), Daniel Crider (8 goals, 4 assists) and James Dulya (7 goals, 3 assists).

Forwards Mitchell Davis, Jason Depretis, John Hillson and Dylan Desimone also provided offensive punch for the Highlanders, while goaltender Cole Shannon registered a shutout in the one game he played for the JV team.

“I want to thank the parents for the support they gave their sons, the team and the coaches,” said Walsh, who was assisted by Matt Eshelman this season. “It all starts with them. They gave us a great group of guys to work with, and it was pleasure to coach this team.

“It's not often you have an opportunity to have a season like we did, and it was so gratifying to see the kids enjoy it like they did.”

Ray Fisher is a freelance writer.

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