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PIHL Varsity Class Open Preview

by Staff Writer / Pittsburgh Penguins

The 2011-12 high school hockey season is back, starting Oct. 24. Changes have been made. Blades have been sharpened. Exceptional players have moved on to make way for new talent, eager to begin the season. No matter whether you are a new player, a retired vet, a fan or a supportive parent, this upcoming season is sure to deliver an emotional rollercoaster filled with surprises.


Much like the players, we have circled the following games on our calendar…


PIHL Varsity Class Open

Wheeling Central vs. John Marshall

Last season ended with Wheeling Central (19-1-0) in first place with 38 points and John Marshall in second place (14-4-1) with 29 points. The Wheeling Central Maroon Knights and the John Marshall Monarchs met a few times last year. Their first meeting last season resulted in a victory for Wheeling Central with a final score of 10-2. Their last game together was a victory for John Marshall with the close score of 5-4.  

Wheeling Central’s Parker Henry returns this season. Henry scored two goals against John Marshall in February. Another key player for Wheeling Central is Anthony Tighe who had a goal and an assist. Wheeling Central no longer has P.J. Ratcliffe (26-35-61 in 20 GP) or Joey Baker (22-31-53 in 19 GP). Baker had a goal and an assist while Ratcliffe added two assists of his own. 

John Marshall held onto their second-leading goal-scorer Isaac Fitzpatrick (21-23-44 in 18 GP). Fitzpatrick assisted Jimmy Henderson (25-20-45 in 18 GP) with a goal on February 28th Henderson, John Marshall’s leading scorer, is no longer with John Marshall. David Polinski (6-4-10 in 14 GP) scored for John Marshall, as did Landon Baker (5-6-11 in 17 GP). All four will be back this season.

The two teams will face each other again on November 11th at John Marshall’s home ice WesBanco Arena. 

Players to watch:

Wheeling Central: Parker Henry (18-9-27 in 20 GP), Gyenhyung Lee (9-15-24 in 20 GP) and Tighe.

John Marshall: Polinski, Bake  and Alan Games (1-10-11 in 18 GP).


Greensburg Salem vs. Hollidaysburg

Greensburg Salem Golden Lions vs. Hollidaysburg Golden Tigers game on October 27th at Greensburg Salem’s Kirk S. Nevin Arena will surely be a game to remember. Hollidaysburg finished last season with 28 points while Greensburg Salem trailed behind only by four points. The last meeting between Salem and Hollidaysburg ended with a victory for Hollidaysburg, 6-4.

Greensburg Salem has lost their lead forward Sean Beichner (50-15-65 in 18 GP). Beichner had two assists and scored two goals, one of which was a short-handed goal, back when he played Hollidaysburg last February.

The Lions will have to look towards their other leading scorers Shawn Sperlik (19-9-28 in 18 GP), Cody Austad (11-16-27 in 19 GP) and Regis Garris (9-17-26 in 18 GP) for help. Sperlik and Austad each scored a goal in last February’s Hollidaysburg game, while Tyler Brinton (1-13-14 in 19 GP) added an assist.

As for Hollidaysburg, they have lost their top two scoring leaders, William Power (42-29-71 in 18 GP) and Sam Lafferty (34-35-69 in 18 GP). Both were a big help to their team when they last took on Greensburg. Power scored four goals and had two assists, while Lafferty had two goals and two assists. Andrew Hines (1-3-4 in 18 GP) and Tanner Sidehammer (13-4-17 in 19 GP), both added assists and will have to show their teammates how to get around Salem’s goalie Andrew Boschert who made 26 saves that game.

Players to watch:

Greensburg Salem: Dennis March (2-14-16 in 19 GP), Brinton, and Chase Ellis (3-8-11 in 18 GP) 

Hollidaysburg: Sidehammer, Alex Satkunas (8-9-17 in 19 GP) and Kent Brustle (5-4-9 in 13 GP)

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