Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Butler Wants Return to Title Game

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Butler Wants Return to Title Game

Article excerpt

A quick glance at the PIHL Class AAA standings, and it looks like Butler Area went into the holiday break as part of a jumbled mess, tied with Canon-McMillan and Central Catholic for second place in the single 11-team division.

And on the surface, that would be true.

But what looking only at points doesn't take into account is that the Golden Tornado (7-2-1) has played one fewer game than the Big Macs and two fewer than both the Vikings and first-place Peters Township. And, solely on a points-per-game basis, Butler was tied with the Indians for first place at 1.5 per game.

"It's hard not to be excited with how the team has performed so far, because they've been doing wonderful," Butler coach Pat Hammonds said. "It's easy to look at the standings and see things are going well, but I think there's more to it than that because the kids are doing a great job and developing in the process and have the kind of discipline you need for the long haul."

Hammonds didn't need much to get his team motivated once the season began. This is a Butler team that upset No. 3 Bethel Park and No. 2 Peters Township in the first two rounds of last season's Penguins Cup tournament before losing to Canon-McMillan, 4-0, in the championship at Consol Energy Center.

Knowing what it takes to get to the final has helped the players get behind the team philosophy, which has made coaching the team this season that much easier.

"It makes all the difference in the world," Hammonds said. "They're a compliant team and a team that embraces the process. . It's a whole different thing when the kids really buy in, and we talk all the time about how this isn't the coaches' team, it's the players' team and we're only going to go as far as they want us to go. I think in a lot of the things that we do, their voices are heard, and it's all them, to be honest. …

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