SV varsity hockey battles through arduous PIHL schedule

Luke Henne, Contributor

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As the 2017-18 season nears its halfway point, the Seneca Valley Raiders varsity hockey team has made a name for themselves among their competitors.

Competing in the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Hockey League’s Triple-A division, the Raiders have won five of their first seven contests, while also forcing one game into an overtime defeat. Their 11 points place them at fourth place in the division, sitting six points behind the division-leading Peters Township Indians.

Seneca’s seven games played are the fewest in the division. They have managed to average just 2.14 goals per game, but in retrospect have allowed an eye-popping average of just 1.29 goals per game.

The Raider’s smooth season did not start on the right note. Their season-opening game on Monday, October 2, resulted in a loss at the hands of the Butler Golden Tornadoes.

Over the past two-plus months, Seneca Valley has played to the tune of a +8 goal differential. The only defeat in that period came at the hands of Bethel Park, a 2-1 defeat that required overtime.

From a scoring perspective, the scoring has been rather balanced. Senior defenseman Hunter Mueller and sophomore forward Michael Spokane have each recorded five points. Senior forward Gio Sarachine and sophomore forward Luke Maier are right behind, with four points and three points, respectively.

All but three players have recorded at least one point through the first seven games.

After the loss to Butler, the Raiders responded with consecutive shutouts against Canon-McMillan and Mount Lebanon. They followed the two shutouts with gritty victories against Central Catholic and Cathedral Prep, allowing just one goal in each win.

“We’re just a fun team. We’re unique and it’s just so cool to continue to play on a team like this,” noted Bryce Korner, a junior defenseman who is now in his second season on the varsity squad.

Riding a four-game winning streak, the Raiders traveled to Canonsburg for what could prove to be a crucial game in terms of standings in the coming months. Seneca Valley was able to knock off the division-leading Peters Township Indians by a score of 3-2 in a shootout in a truly battle-tested road game. Korner scored the shootout’s only goal, as noted on the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Hockey League website.

Seneca took their newly-polished five-game winning streak into their next contest against Bethel Park, where their winning streak was halted.

With eleven games left to play, Seneca has the chance right in front of them to put their foot down as a top-tier competitor within their division.

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