Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Junior Star Giving Plum Goals, More Walters' Play Invigorates His Teammates

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Junior Star Giving Plum Goals, More Walters' Play Invigorates His Teammates

Article excerpt

Andrew Walters' value to the Plum High School hockey team can be easily defined by using some simple numbers.

A junior, Walters had scored 32 of the Mustangs' 69 goals -- or 46.4 percent -- through 18 regular-season games played heading into the week.

That total is good for second in PIHL Class AA, and it's brought Walters quite a bit of acclaim as one of the area's top high school players.

Plum coach Dave Stonebraker understands and recognizes the obvious benefit that his prolific scoring statistics are to his team. But Walters, Stonebraker said, is even more valuable to the young Mustangs than his numbers suggest.

Like the rest of the Plum team -- and the program Stonebraker is attempting to build -- Walters is buying into the team concept and making his teammates around him better.

"The last several games, especially, he has tried not only to do some of the work himself but also tried to raise the level of play of the players around him," said Stonebraker, who is in his first season as Mustangs coach.

"Sometimes that's difficult when you are a player that has natural scoring instinct and you're playing with younger players or are in a situation when you're not always surrounded by talent -- not that we don't have talent around him on his line.

"When you can bring the level of play of the other players up, that's the most important thing."

Walters' linemates, juniors Jordan Gable and Joe Randazzo, ranked second and third on the team in scoring and had combined for 17 goals and 27 assists through 17 team games heading into the week.

But beyond that, Walters is a leader for an inexperienced team, Stonebraker said.

Plum has only two seniors on the roster, and Walters intensity and production make him a natural leader.

"Going into the year, especially with a new coach taking over, establishing a leadership role and really showing the younger players how to work as a team together and buy into what we're doing is important," Walters said.

"It's something that as juniors and seniors, you want to show them to take pride in your school and represent your team."

Walters, 5 feet 9, 155 pounds, has failed to score a goal in only three of 19 games played this season; he has a point in all but one. …

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