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Badgers Move Up Charts

by Staff Writer / Pittsburgh Penguins
Sometimes the right attitude is all you need.

That’s the case with the Allegheny Badgers whose spirits have helped propel this Squirt AA team to among the best in the nation.

As of December 14, they are ranked as 27th out of nearly 300 A and AA teams with a record of 12-8-3. The Badgers even competed in the Mid-American Regionals Silver Sticks Tournament in Dayton, OH, the first weekend in December.

Jarred Forsyth, head coach for the Badgers, said the outcome wasn’t what they were hoping for, but the kids were not discouraged with the loss.

“They’re not going to quit,” Coach Forsyth says. “They bounce back easily.”

The players were very excited about this opportunity to play with the top competition.

“It’s cool that we got to play with the highest teams in the district,” Coach Forsyth says. “The kids are very competitive. A couple more bounces, and we’re there.”

Viewers can see how competitive these kids really are during practice as they perfect their skating, shooting, and interactivity with one another.

The interactivity with his teammates is why Isaiah Forsyth looks forward to practice.

“I like how they play,” he says. “We’re a nice team.”

Jason Stewart adds on to that.

“You can make a lot of friends,” Stewart says. “The coaches are nice. They teach you to learn from your mistakes and don’t sweat it.”

Several of these players, such as Benjamin Cunningham, Kevin Kakanac, and Andrew Swankler first became interested in hockey by watching the Penguins play. Others, such as Darick Hrytanski and Anthony “Nasty-co” Nestico got their first taste of the sport by watching their brothers play.

Stewart’s first experience skating was on a frozen pond at his house, giving him the chance to feel the excitement in an outdoor setting.

“It’s fun skating,” Stewart says. “Passing the puck, there’s a lot of excitement.”

Forsyth first knew he wanted to skate when he saw a hockey player on a Frosted Flakes box.

“I just liked getting on the ice,” Forsyth says of his first experience. “I like the feel of it.”

Not all of the players got their start on the ice. Danny Soltesz and Jarred Stein both originally played dek hockey, while Swankler started with roller hockey.

“In ice hockey, you have to skate harder,” Swankler says. “In roller hockey, you have wheels, so you glide a lot. Ice hockey is colder too.”

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