Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Trinity Skaters Took Some Giant Strides in Right Direction

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Trinity Skaters Took Some Giant Strides in Right Direction

Article excerpt

Despite their 5-3 loss to South Park in the first round of the Penguin Cup playoffs on Wednesday, Trinity completed its most successful hockey season as a Class AA squad.

The Hillers finished the season with a 9-9-2 regular-season record.

"They are a great group of kids on and off the ice," Hillers coach Larry Marks said. "They make it fun."

Though Trinity enjoyed some mild success in the late 1990s as a Class A team, the Hillers had struggled mightily since moving up to Class AA in 1999. They'd won just 15 games over that period coming into the season, including last year's 8-12 regular-season mark that put the school into the playoffs for the first time.

It looked like this season would be more of the same following their 4-1 loss to top-ranked Thomas Jefferson on Jan. 5. Despite playing some tough teams rather competitively, Trinity stood at just 3-7-1 and with just 15 players on the varsity roster, one could question if the Hillers would have the legs to improve.

But things started to turn around with a 5-4 win over West Allegheny on Jan. 13.

"We stopped playing as individuals," left winger Tim Bugaile said. "Everyone was playing for the good of the team. Statistics didn't mean much,"

Bugaile, the son of local hockey radio commentator Earl Bugaile, proved this commitment to teamwork when he moved from defenseman to a second-line forward this season alongside center Greg Bandzuch and right winger Jeffrey Lewis.

Nobody on the Hillers had great scoring totals (Jeffrey Hildebrand led the team in scoring with 13 goals and 13 assists) as the team concentrated on a defense-first style that often kept their center back to increase possession time and tried to minimize risks.

"I'm on the [Trinity club's] hockey board," Earl Bugaile said. "Larry Marks was defensive-minded. When we were looking for a coach, we were looking to find a guy who would institute a system. The result is two playoffs in two years."

As this season progressed, Trinity's play clearly improved. …

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