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Playoffs End Early for NA V4 Inline Hockey Team After an Exciting Season

by Inline Hockey Contributor

All good things must come to an end...

Regrettably for the NA V4 inline team, the end came too quickly--in the first round of the playoffs--as Central Catholic put together a good game plan that shut down the high-powered NA offense while keeping the heat on the NA defense.  In the end, NA lost 6-1, but the score was not indicative of the NA effort.

The NA V4 squad fell victim to a couple of goals by Central early in the first period.   Less than thirty seconds after Central’s second goal, however, team assist leader Dan Phillips, separated himself from two Central defenders to make a picture perfect pass onto the stick of charging teammate Ryan Quinn, who swept the puck first left then right before lifting it into the goal behind a juked-out Central goalie. 

While the game later got out of hand score-wise, the NA V4 team showed its mettle, improving in every period as the game progressed.  In that respect, the game was a microcosm of the NA V4 season.  The team showed great progress in playing together as the game went along—the same could be said of the season. 

Against Central Catholic, sophomore defenseman Jordan Miller had one of his best defensive games of the season, stealing multiple pucks and moving them smoothly to the NA forwards.  Likewise, Matt Battaglia played a heads up defensive game, clearing the puck on multiple occasions during the game.  In fact, NA’s whole defense, including Battaglia, Josh Borza, Miller and Evan Danis, showed good improvement as the season progressed.  Most importantly, the defense appeared to absorb the lessons instilled by coaches Evan Danis, Jeff Phillips and Andy Semego, about how to play solid team defense and learned how to rely on each other to shut down the numerous powerful offenses NA faced throughout the season.  

That defense worked in concert with goalie Nick Moss, who himself was a force to be reckoned with as he aggressively attacked pucks, numerously saving tough shots on goal during the Central game, just as he had throughout the season.  It was entertaining this season to watch Moss be as aggressive as the defensemen in front of him--fans often expected him to go mucking in the corners alongside his determined defensemen!

While the Central defense was successful in clogging the passing lanes in this game, they and others weren’t always as successful during the 2010-11 season.  NA V4’s offense offered a bunch of excitement this year, with scoring coming from all of the forwards, including Mike Demarco, Adam Hornyak, Drew Semego, and Phillips and Quinn.

Probably the most demonstrative statistic of the efficacy of playing together as a team is the fact that every player on the team had gained at least a point during the season, contributing to the success of the NA V4 squad this year.  This bodes well for each of the players’ futures, as their teamwork will surely translate well to their next team, as well as in their future academic and personal lives.  So, while the season came to a conclusion sooner than any on the NA V4 team had hoped, the learning and camaraderie that was part of this season will last well into the future.

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NA V4 Inline Hockey Team Falls Short in Loss to Hempfield

by Inline Hockey Contributor

In a well-played battle against a quick Hempfield squad, the NA V4 team lost 6-1.  But the final score was not indicative of the effort from the NA team.  On Super Bowl Sunday, there were terrible towels flying celebrating the lone NA goal, but the NA fans got to see a strong defensive effort, despite an inability to find the goal often enough to gain a victory.

Hempfield used their strong team speed to continually bring the puck to the NA defense, pummeling NA goalie Nick Moss with repeated shots on goal.  Moss played big in goal, making numerous spectacular, some would say “super,” saves on Super Bowl Sunday.  Alas, the Hempfield squad was able to sneak a couple of goals past the NA defense in the first period, getting their first goal at 10:30 of the first period, and following it up with a second goal only about one and half minutes later. 

After those two quick Hempfield goals though, the NA defense stiffened, and shut out Hempfield for the remainder of the period.  NA V4 All-star Evan Danis rode the Hempfield forwards tightly, helping to negate their speed through the remainder of the period.

The second period started with forward Mike DeMarco setting the tone.  Barreling through the under-matched Hempfield defenders, DeMarco had a singular goal of helping to get NA on the board.  As DeMarco fought through a double team along the boards, he was able to dish the puck down the rink to NA forward Ryan Quinn, who gathered the puck, looped behind the Hempfield goal and zipped a high wrister over the goalie’s right shoulder to pull NA to within one goal.

The offensive onslaught would continue for Hempfield though, as they kept NA defenders Josh Borza, Jordan Miller and Matt Battaglia busy fighting off their repeated drives to the net.  While Hempfield was able to score four more goals against NA over the course of the remaining periods, NA did have some opportunities, with forwards Adam Hornyak, Dan Phillips and Drew Semego charging the net on several occasions, only to be frustrated by great defensive efforts by the opposing goalie and defenders.

Like the Steelers who played in a pretty important game after NA’s on the same day, the NA team was in the right mindset, but came up a little short.  With NA heading into their own playoffs and playing some of their best hockey of the year, the hope is that unlike the Steelers, they can bring home the championship trophy.  With NA defensemen now finding a way to hit forwards in stride on passes, and shut down opposing team’s stars, look for the NA V4 team to bounce back in their first game of the playoffs, taking some of the sting out of the Steelers loss by getting a win themselves.

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NAV4 Inline Hockey Team Plays Best Game of the Season

Maybe it was a whole team making a new year’s resolution?  Or maybe it was the team gelling after repeated lessons taught during practice drills and in-games instruction by Coach Danis, Coach Phillips and Coach Semego?  Whatever it was, it was clear to all observers that the NAV4 team had decided to win by playing as a team.  And play as a team they did!  The NA Varsity 4 team completed by far their best game of the season, knocking off a tough, well-disciplined Central Catholic squad, 8-1. 

Repeatedly beating the Central Catholic team to the puck, it was exciting for Tiger fans to see the NAV4 team take the game to the Vikings, rather than sit back and wait for the Central team to attack.  Jumping on loose pucks led to several of the NA goals, and prevented Central from getting into any level of comfort in the game.  The NA defense, clearly dominating the game, made numerous outlet passes leading to eventual goals for their offense.  Noteworthy was the excellent stick handling of defensemen Matt Battaglia, Josh Borza, and Jordan Miller, who repeatedly interrupted Viking rushes by stealing the puck from the oncoming Central attack.  Evan Danis spent most of the day in front of his own net, cleanly, but efficiently neutralizing the larger Viking forwards, making sure that they rarely blocked the view of goaltender Nick Kaisercu.  Kaisercu playing up for the NAV4 squad, and in his second game of the day, was simply phenomenal in goal.  With catlike reflexes, Kaisercu blocked dozens of Viking shots and smoothly handled the puck around goal, ensuring no rebound opportunities made it into the goal.

Less than four minutes into the game, forward Dan Phillips pumped a shot past the Central goalkeeper, breaking the ice on the scoreless tie.  About nine minutes later, forward Ryan Quinn got what would turn out to be the game winning goal on a nice pass from Drew Semego, putting the Tigers up 2-0, where the score stayed through the remainder of the period. 

NA fought through the adversity of an early (1:18) second period long range slapshot goal by Central ‘s leading scorer, which tightened the game at 2-1.  Just five and a half minutes later, sophomore Semego scored on a power play goal to build NA’s lead to 3-1.  At 13:17 of the second period, junior forward Quinn slipped a backhander through the Viking goalie’s 5-hole, closing the period’s scoring.

The NA defense contributed clearly on the defensive end of the rink, but no one expected them to contribute on the offense end.  No one but Jordan Miller, that is.  The third period, NA’s best of the season, started with a goal by defenseman Miller who scored at the 7:25 mark of the period.  His goal was followed shortly thereafter by a sweet shot by Mike Demarco.  Hustling was what contributed to NA’s seventh goal.  It was seventh heaven when forward Adam Hornyak found Phillips positioned in front of the net, with a pass that was so perfect that Phillips didn’t even need to move his stick until he lifted the puck past the goalie from short range.  The pass also ensured that the entire NAV4 offense earned points during the game!

The final NA score of the game came as a direct result of the NAV4 squad’s newfound teamwork mantra.  As the defense and goalie Kaisercu absorbed repeated assaults on goal by the Vikings attackers, one of the NA defensemen floated a perfect outlet pass out to the stick of Quinn who was positioned near the NA blue line.  Quinn sprinted the length of the rink and drilled a shot into the Central goal to conclude the scoring in the last of NA’s finest three periods of the season.   Those best periods just happened to be played back-to-back-to-back—and coincided with the NAV4 team trusting each other to cover each other’s backs, with superior defensive effort and passing leading to an onslaught of scoring.

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NAV4 Inline Hockey Team Plays In Back-to-Back Thrillers

by Inline Hockey Contributor

Michael Jackson’s Thriller should play as background music for all North Allegheny Varsity 4 games.  In a double header at the Hot Shots Rink, NAV4 took on league leader Mt. Pleasant in a hard fought game, eventually succumbing to Mt. Pleasant’s high scoring offense, but not before giving this undefeated team a serious scare.  It didn’t take Mt. Pleasant long to get on the board, scoring their first goal about 30 seconds into the first period.  Lesser teams might have folded right there, but not NA.  At the 8:00 minute mark, Ryan Quinn pounced on a Drew Semego rebound to even the score 1-1. 

About 45 seconds later, Mt. Pleasant scored again. The heavyweight fight was on!  The next blow was scored by the Quinn-Semego duo, this time with Semego scoring on a Quinn rebound to even the score again, this time at 2-2.   As Semego popped off a well -placed slap shot that speared the top left side of the goal from about 20 feet out to give the NAV4 team a 3-2 lead, it became clear that this would be no ordinary defense-oriented game.   And indeed, Mt. Pleasant fired the next goal to tie the game again less than 1:15 later.  But NA wasn’t done with the flurry of scoring, as Dan Phillips stole the puck, sprinted down the rink and helped NA retake the lead, 4-3, with only 27 seconds left in the period.  Alas, Mt. Pleasant was able to find the net yet again, punching in a goal with just 5 seconds left in the period.   The score was tied again, 4-4, and this was only the first period!

NA took the lead again to start the second period, with Quinn tallying a quick goal 1:40 into the second period.  Regrettably, that would be NA’s last goal of the game, as Mt. Pleasant finished the game out scoring the last six goals of the game to win 10-5.  That said, Mt. Pleasant knew that they had been played straight up by a tough NAV4 squad who stood toe-to-toe with them , and matched them goal-for-goal until, after getting behind they had to take chances (that unfortunately didn’t pan out) to try to get back into the game.  Regardless, it was surely a thrilling game!

Not to let their superb offensive effort in the first game overshadow their later effort, the NAV4 team, with only an hour’s rest, produced one of their best defensive efforts of the season in their second game.   Battling another powerful offensive juggernaut, Hempfield, the NAV4 squad played solid defense to stave off repeated rushes by Hempfield.

Hempfield battled to a first period 1-0 lead, with NA defensemen Jordan Miller, Evan Danis, Adam Hornyak and Matt Battaglia playing shut down defense.  Despite repeated attempts by Hempfield, NA goalie Joe Kirk denied all but one shot on goal during the first period. 

Early in the second period, Mike DeMarco made a pretty pass to wing Phillips who buried the puck in the goal to tie the game 1-1, and again the defense shut down Hempfield for the period, with Battaglia, Danis, Hornyak and Miller reducing Hempfield effectiveness, and Kirk making excellent plays in goal.  On multiple occasions, Kirk aggressively pursued loose pucks diving on them ahead of the speedy Hempfield players’ rushes, effectively stuffing their opportunities before the scoring threats could materialize.

The tie held for most of the second period, until Hempfield was able to get a late period goal to take the lead going into the third period.   Two minutes into the third period, Quinn scored on a Semego assist to again tie the game.  The two teams battled hard for the remainder of the third period until with about 4 minutes left, Semego grabbed a Quinn rebound and fired it into the goal to give NA the lead.   Alas, with only about a minute to go, Hempfield was able to salvage a tie by crowding the goal crease and sneaking the puck past the NA goalie.  So while the game was another Thriller, the NA defense effectively made sure that Hempfield couldn’t Beat It, and the NA offense didn’t stop ‘til it got enough.

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NA Inline Varsity 4 Team Downed By
Hot Central Catholic Squad

by Inline Hockey Contributor

The NA Varsity 4 (NA V4) inline hockey team battled Central Catholic tough to the end, but were outgunned 7-2 on a late fall afternoon that was pleasant except for the outcome of the game.  It didn’t take long for the Vikings to gain the lead, getting a fast break one-on-none goal less than two minutes into the game.  That goal was followed in quick succession by two more, the last of which was on a power play with 10:15  left in the first period.  Central pumped in another goal at 10:55 of the period, jumping to what would amount to an insurmountable 4-0 lead.

The goals must have lit the competitive fire within the NAV4 team, as they played a much tougher second period.  It didn’t take long for NA to work their way back into the game, with a terrific pass from junior Adam Hornyak from the far left side circle right onto the stick of Ryan Quinn, who had positioned himself to the right doorstep of the goal.  Quinn angled the puck into the goal to get the NAV4 team onto the scoreboard. 

The remainder of the second period was filled with great defensive forechecking by NA.  Regrettably though, NA picked up another penalty which lead to another Viking power play goal.  Then, with only about ten seconds left in the period, the Vikings punched one past NA goalie Nick Moss after plucking a rebound from his pads, giving them a 6-1 lead.

Central Catholic started out the last period on yet another power play, and made short work of it, scoring their last goal of the game less than thirty seconds into the period.  Sophomore forward Drew Semego made sure that the last period would be no worse than a stalemate, as he smoothly slid one past the Viking goaltender from in front of the goal, and the NAV4 team defense improved as the game went on. 

While the NAV4 team ended up losing by five, the team also had moments of spectacular beauty during the game.  One of the highlights of the game was watching sophomore defenseman Josh Borza’s tricky stick handling during a penalty kill.  With his squad short-handed, Borza took off toward the Central Catholic goal, with two surprised defenders trying in vain to get the puck off of him.   After burning off about a half minute of penalty time, Borza dumped the puck behind the Central Catholic goal, and quickly returned to continue his defensive efforts on his end.

Sophomores Matt Battaglia and Jordan Miller also gave solid defensive efforts against a highly physical Viking team.  After a shaky start, the defense showed improvement in every period, with Battaglia and Miller reducing Viking scoring opportunities as they repeatedly interrupted Central Catholic rushes, dug pucks out of the corners, and showed a lot of heart against their larger competitors. 

In the end though, the NAV4 team couldn’t bury the puck enough times to give the Tigers a win, but no one showed any quit as they fought hard the whole game.  The weather was warm, and Central Catholic was hot;  to be sure though, look for the NAV4 team to get hot as the temperatures get cold!

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NA Varsity 4 Inline Hockey Team Blanks Shaler, 8-0

by Inline Hockey Contributor

Just last week an observer instructed NA Varsity 4 (NAV4) fans to “never leave a NAV4 game early” because of their numerous late game surges.  Well, the NAV4 team must have wanted to get home early after their November 13th game, and fans got to leave early due to a mercy rule conclusion as the NAV4 team literally rolled to an easy 8-0 win over rival Shaler.

A hockey team can’t have a shut out without some stellar play from the goalie—and certainly backup goalie Nick Kaiser’s play met that definition!  Kaiser stopped numerous tough shots on goal, including a few that looked like sure-thing Shaler goals.  Kaiser was helped in the team’s first shut out of the year by a rapidly improving defense, led by  junior Evan Danis, and super sophs Matt Battaglia , Josh Borza, and Jordan Miller.

With a defensive effort this strong, the team only needed one goal to win, and it got it quickly as sophomore forward Dan Phillips lit the light early in the first period.  His goal was quickly followed by a smooth shot by sophomore Mike DeMarco.  Junior forward Ryan Quinn got the next goal, the first of four he would score as he went on a career- high scoring rampage, terrorizing the Shaler goalie.  Not to be left out of the scoring frenzy, Drew Semego picked up another goal for the team, and Phillips added yet another to his total, to account for all the scoring. 

While the game winner turned out to be the first goal scored by Phillips, the NAV4 team made sure that there would be no comeback against them, as the game was eventually called, allowing North Allegeheny to avenge a preseason loss to Shaler.   You can be sure that the NAV4 team put that extra time to good use—planning on how to continue their winning ways!

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NA Inline Varsity 4 Team Fights Down to the Wire...Again

by Inline Hockey Contributor

Fans of the NA Varsity 4 (NA V4) inline hockey team would be well advised to never leave early, as the NAV4 team has no quit in them, and it shows as the team comes on stronger as each game progresses.  Their rematch against Geibel Catholic was no exception.

Playing the Geibel Catholic Gators for the second week in a row, NA followed a familiar script, this time falling behind on a quick Gator goal in the first minute of the game.  That Gator goal was followed by another, taking advantage of their power play a bit later in the first period, spotting Geibel Catholic to a 2-0 lead after one period.

But this is the NAV4 team, and the team and its fans knew that their sticks would come alive soon enough.  It didn’t take long, as junior forward Ryan Quinn grabbed the puck early in the second period, and with some nifty stick handling drove to the goal from the right side.  Quinn danced past some defenders and lifted a backhander from the left side of the goal over the goalie’s left shoulder, to cut the deficit in half.

As the period progressed, the NAV4 defense stiffened, and goalie Nick Moss continued his excellence in goal, shutting the Gators out in the second period.  The strong defensive stand allowed the offense to keep the puck in the Geibel zone.  Eventually, that paid off as a pass from the Geibel left side circle by Quinn led to a crisp shot and goal from the right side by sophomore forward Drew Semego, tying the game at 2-2. 

The two teams battled hard throughout the rest of the third period until a turnover near the red line lead to a Geibel Catholic two-on-none rush.  Goalie Moss blocked the first shot on goal, but the rebound was directed into the goal by the second Gator player, lifting them to a 3-2 lead.  Despite battling down to the wire, the Tigers were unable to register another goal, falling short by just a single goal for the fourth game in a row.  The NAV4 team members can hold their heads high though, as they‘ve been in every game to the end.  Look for the NAV4 team to rebound next week, and to be sure, if you go to the game don’t plan to leave early!

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NA Varsity 4 Inline Hockey Team Gets a Spooky Halloween Finish

by Inline Hockey Contributor

Four seconds.  In the end, that was the difference between the Geibel Catholic team and the NA Varsity 4 (NAV4) team in a Halloween afternoon battle between the two talented hockey squads.  It didn’t always look that way, as the Giebel Catholic team built a 2-0 lead over the course of two periods.  But NAV4 forward Drew Semego made sure that his team would not be shut out with two short range shots to the back of the goal netting over the course of the remaining period, tying the game between these hard charging teams, and setting up an exciting finish. 

The score would remain tied through regulation time, as the defense stiffened and goalie Nick Moss played a remarkable game, blocking multiple tough shots.  This was a game that defined the defense, as Josh Borza, Matt Battaglia, Evan Danis and Jordan Miller held firm, making numerous shot blocking defensive blocks and steals, continually frustrating the high-powered Geibel Catholic crew.

As the game moved to overtime, NA was hit with a 2-minute penalty, leaving them short-handed.  The yeoman work of defensemen Evan Danis and Jordan Miller, and goalie Nick Moss was noteworthy in quashing a Geibel Catholic power play despite playing shorthanded with only two defensemen during the overtime Geibel Catholic power play. 

After killing the power play, the NAV4 team then went on the offensive, pummeling the Geibel Catholic goalie with a flurry of shots.  The bevy of shots on goal accelerated in the final minute, with the NAV4 team keeping the pressure on the Geibel Catholic team.  As fate would have it though, with only about eleven seconds to go, one of the numerous blocks by the Geibel Catholic goalie bounced directly out to one of their forwards.  The fast break that ensued as the Geibel Catholic forward jumped on the puck and quickly took it down the rink ended with a fateful, perfect shot over the right shoulder of the NAV4 goalie with only 4.3 ticks remaining on the clock. 

In the end, those 4.3 seconds were the difference between a tie and a loss.  4.3 seconds...less time than it takes to clear a faceoff.  But the NAV4 team can take heart in the fact that they didn’t stop fighting for a win for even 4.3 seconds during the game.  That team effort will eventually be repaid--just not on a spooky, Halloween game day.


NA Inline Varsity 4 Team Falls One Goal Short…Twice

by Inline Hockey Contributor

The NA Varsity 4 (NA V4) inline hockey team will sure be glad when goalie Nick Moss is able to get back in goal, but they have to appreciate the efforts put forth by their back up goalies, Ryan Quinn and Adam Hornyak.

In a tournament at the Hot Shots arena against Hempfield, forward Ryan Quinn stepped into the goal for the first time ever as an inline hockey player, and played like an experienced goalie, making dozens of saves in a game that literally went into the last minute before being decided.  The NA V4 team rallied around their substitute goaltender, in an overtime game full of suspense and excitement.  

Mike “Trikes” DeMarco did his best to keep his team in the game, as he tallied NA’s first three goals of the game, earning his hat trick with some pretty shots on the lanky Hempfield goalie.  Drew Semego pumped in two more goals with some fancy stick work in front of the Hempfield goal, as the NA V4 team jumped out to a 5-3 lead.  Dan Phillips got what would have been a game-winning sixth score for the NA squad, but which regrettably was disallowed because of a quick whistle by the referee.  That was the opening that Hempfield needed and they took advantage of it to climb back into the game, using some power plays to fight back and tie the score 5-5, sending the game to overtime. 

The short-benched NA V4 team gave it their all in overtime, getting several good shots on goal;  the same was true for Hempfield, as these two evenly matched teams each tried to log the win.  In the end, it was Hempfield who got the heart-breaking game winner on a power play with only :23 left in overtime, spoiling Quinn‘s goalie debut.  The NA V4 team may have come up short in the end, but it wasn’t for lack of effort.

In their second game of the day, with less than an hour’s rest, the NA V4 team again got into another closely fought battle, this time against a fresh Mt. Pleasant team, who was playing their first game of the weekend.  In this game, Dan Phillips was not to be denied, making sure his goal would count by flipping a sweet shot cleanly past the Mt. Pleasant goalie.  His team however, had gotten a little bit too far behind to get the win. All along, forward Adam Hornyak, playing as the team’s substitute goalie, kept his team in the game as he smoothly handled the goaltending duties. 

Despite battling back from a three goal deficit to pull within one goal of a tie, the NA V4 team was left to wonder what might have been if some of their opportunities had come to fruition.  But they didn’t have to wonder if they could pull together as a team--that much they had already proven.


Any questions or comments should be directed to Athletic Director
Bob Bozzuto at:  bbozzuto@northallegheny.org


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