Led by all-stars, Plum hockey makes playoff push
By: Michael Love
Monday, January 29, 2018 | 11:00 PM
The Plum ice hockey team has been making a comeback recently in PIHL Class AAA.
Last year's Class AA champion, coach Vinnie Somma said, has improved each week in a season with new ventures in the league's highest classification.
The Mustangs won two in a row and three of five heading into the stretch run which began Monday with a game against a North Allegheny team tied for fourth in the standings.
While Plum is right in the mix for a playoff spot, a few of its standouts skated with the other classification's best Sunday at the annual PIHL all-star event at Robert Morris' Island Sports Center.
Donning their all-star jerseys for the Class AAA game were Plum seniors Colin Patton (defense) and Domenic Borriello (forward), junior A.J. Adamski (forward) and freshman Joseph Costa (forward).
Costa assisted on two goals, and Adamski added an assist for Team Blue in its 7-4 loss to Team White.
“These games are always a lot of fun,” Somma said. “It's a break from the more serious games during the season. There's an amazing amount of talent on that ice. It's always a test for our guys as they get to gauge themselves and see where they stack up against the best. They are competitors. They love that.”
Adamski began the week with four goals and six assists for 10 points.
“A.J. is your typical intelligent hockey player,” Somma said. “He has such a high hockey IQ, and that helps put him in good positions to be successful.”
Costa led the team in assists (8) and total points (11) through 12 games.
“Joey has no fear and is very confident in his abilities,” Somma said. “He goes out there and proves his worth every shift in every game. It's awesome as a coach to see a players with that much tenacity.”
Somma said the line of Adamski, Costa and Borriello is really starting to click. Borriello owns the team lead in goals with six. Five of those goals have come in the past six games.
Costa scored his third goal of the season in Plum's game on Jan. 18, a 4-3 shootout victory over a Mt. Lebanon team tied for fourth in the Class AAA standings.
Borriello added a score, assisted by Adamski.
As with any all-star game, a couple of original selections end up not being able to participate. The selection committee went in search of viable replacements, and Patton and Borriello stepped up and accepted the call to the Blue team.
“It's awesome for them to have that opportunity, two seniors who have worked so hard,” Somma said. “They've put in so much commitment to help this team get better. It's well deserving for them to get to play in the all-star game.”
Plum is 2-2 in one-goal outcomes this season. The Mustangs' defense has seen improvement in goals allowed as it gave up 18 in their last six games before this week as opposed to 38 in its first six.
Plum began the week tied with Canon-McMillan and Central Catholic for the eighth and final playoff spot.
Monday's contest with the Tigers was to be contested past the deadline for this week's edition. North Allegheny won a close 2-1 game when the teams met Nov. 27.
“The guys have come together and are starting to play some really good hockey,” Somma said. “Now, it's coming down to the wire, and we have to string together a few more good games. We're making a push to the playoffs.”