Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Revived Warriors Reach Playoffs

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Revived Warriors Reach Playoffs

Article excerpt

Since Elizabeth Forward revived its varsity hockey program in 2001, it has become accustomed to postseason success.

Two seasons ago, the Warriors shocked the PIHL by beating Quigley and Mars en route to the Class A Penguin Cup semifinal. Last year, they went to the quarterfinals with a 3-2 win over Steel Valley before falling to eventual Penguin Cup champion Westmont Hilltop, 4- 2.

"They seem to step it up come playoff time," said coach Chuck Beckinger. "The guys don't want to end their season."

But this year, success might be tougher to come by. The 12-10 Warriors came into their Feb. 26 season finale with Steel Valley on a three-game losing streak. They even trailed the Ironmen after two periods before freshman Brian Doak and senior Jeremy Delmaster scored late in the contest to pull out a 6-5 win. Now Elizabeth Forward begins its third foray into the playoffs by traveling to 14- 6-2 Richland Cambria at 7:30 tonight.

"We need to step it up a little more on the defensive end," Beckinger said. The Warriors have allowed 23 goals in their last four games and will be without senior defenseman Jason Wallace, who is out for the year with a broken wrist.

"And we need more shots. We've gotten it out of our own end. Crashing the net, we're not doing so much of, and we need to do it."

That's where junior Jeremy Delmaster must come through. Not that he hasn't in the past. Delmaster scored 19 goals and 18 assists this year to lead the Warriors in points. He's even enjoyed postseason heroics by scoring two goals in last year's playoff win over Steel Valley.

"Billy [Repass] and Jeremy are the guys who step it up. If they do, the rest of the team will follow."

Repass was the team's second-leading scorer with 17 goals and 18 assists. But the real stat that stands out is the junior's 97 penalty minutes, by far the most of any of the top scorers in Class A.

Elizabeth Forward is not a sizeable team but they are very scrappy. While Beckinger said he believes the Warriors can skate with any team, he is quick to point out they are hardly a finesse team. …

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