Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Sewickley Primed for Pihl Playoffs

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Sewickley Primed for Pihl Playoffs

Article excerpt

Just what did it mean when Sewickley Academy's Trevor Heck buried a rebound for the game-winning goal with 28 seconds left against Serra Catholic?

"It was the biggest win in the history of Sewickley Academy hockey ... ever," said Panthers coach Erik Hoolahan. "It proved we deserve to be ranked with the best teams in Class A."

The Panthers' 4-3 triumph over the Eagles nine days ago did more than give them their 14th win of the season en route to a school- record 15-7 slate. By handing Serra just its second loss of the season, the Panthers established themselves as a darkhorse contender when the PIHL playoffs begin next week.

Consider that the Panthers have won eight of their last nine games. Consider they have depth. And consider that even in their losses, they've usually out-shot their competition, sometimes by as much as a two to one margin.

"I've really stressed that it doesn't matter who we're playing but the team that works the hardest will win," the coach said. "We don't have many fancy plays. We just wear people down."

Which is easier said than done, since many of the Panthers' players, such as Heck and sophomore winger Scott Limbach, stand 5-6 or less.

"Everyone has realized they have a role, whether it's to work the puck low or check hard. We understand whenever someone does their role at 110 percent we're extremely effective," said Hoolahan.

As a result, five players have scored 10 or more goals on the year and 11 have 10 or more points.

It's a process that began six years ago when Hoolahan took over the hockey program at what he refers to as "The Academy." In three of those years he couldn't even field a varsity team.

But he always had a vision for better things because he had Heck and his left winger Alec Shannon.

The juniors led the team in scoring with 21 goals and 20 assists and 22 goals and 23 assists, respectively, the result of being on the same line for years.

Senior right winger Peter Coleman completes the line and has set up his teammates 20 times on the season. …

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