A-K Valley Senior Spotlight: Deer Lakes’ Aaron Haney

Monday, November 13, 2023 | 11:33 AM

Aaron Haney set his sights on starting for the Deer Lakes hockey team last year.

He lost out to senior goaltender Benjamin Korol but got a chance to show what he could do in a game against Wilmington in January.

Haney stopped all 20 shots he faced, and the Lancers won 8-0.

“I’ve never seen a kid so happy for a win in my life,” coach Jonathan Merlo said. “That’s carried over to this year. He puts his heart and soul into making sure he and the team succeed.”

Said Haney: “I felt I could have played two or three more, but with Ben in front of me, it was hard to beat him out. It definitely fueled me going into the summer.”

This season, Haney has started every game for Deer Lakes, compiling a 4-2 record with a .928 save percentage and 1.83 goals-against average while posting three shutouts.

“He’s grown into the role pretty smoothly, and he’s been a stud from day one,” Merlo said. “He’s come up with the big saves, the timely saves, to keep us in games. He’s done a fantastic job of stepping up and owning it.”

Haney took a few minutes for a Senior Spotlight Q-and-A:

What did you do to prepare and focus on taking over as the No. 1 goaltender?

It’s my senior year, so I wanted to do something special with it, have a great year and do something special.

What do you attribute to the number of shutouts you’ve put together?

The great team in front of me and the support they give me before and after the game. It just fuels me to keep playing the game I have been.

You attend Ambridge high school. What’s it like playing on a co-op team with teammates you don’t see on a regular basis?

You get used to playing with kids you’ve been playing with, even if you go to different schools. It’s difficult when you don’t see them every day in a school setting, but when it comes time to practice or a game, we have the best time on the ice.

What is your greatest strength?

Working hard at every practice. I want to be the best that I can.

What is the mentality of a goaltender like in a game? What are you keying in on?

When reading a play, you kind of want to be aware of how the opposing team enters the zone. When they come into the zone hard with three guys, the first save is crucial. I’ll communicate with my defense and let them know where to be.

Do you play on any travel teams?

I play for the Steel City Ice Renegades.

What is your favorite moment from your high school career?

The best was going in for that one game last year, because Ben was out sick, and posting a shutout.

Plans for college?

I would love to go to Robert Morris University. I’ve been in love with that college since I was in middle school. They have a great tradition up there.

Would you play hockey for RMU? Excited to see it’s back?

I would love to. I went to their first game when they came back. Stinks that they lost, but it was great to see them back.

What would you want to study?

Sports management.

What is one fact about yourself that would surprise people to know?

The fact I play hockey. People at my school don’t think that I play hockey. When they ask me what sport I play and I say hockey, they say, “No way. You don’t look like someone that plays hockey.”

What is one piece of advice you would want to leave your teammates before graduating?

Keep working toward your goals. Work hard for what you want in life.


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