Alle-Kiski Valley notebook: Burrell hockey gets shot at nation’s best

Wednesday, March 27, 2019 | 10:05 PM

Burrell didn’t get the PIHL championship it sought, but the Bucs are turning their attention from competing against Western Pennsylvania to playing some of the top teams in the country.

The Bucs, coming off a 4-3 loss to Ringgold in the PIHL Division II championship game last week, will open play at the USA Hockey High School National Championships on Thursday in Cleveland, Ohio.

“Obviously, the boys wanted to win the PIHL championship, but I told them after the game the season wasn’t over,” Burrell coach Max Rickard said. “We have a bigger opportunity to make a name for ourselves. We’re going to be playing the best teams in the country.

“Obviously, they were distraught after the loss, but at practice on Sunday, everyone was ready to go. We’re definitely looking forward to it.”

Burrell, led by Division II’s top scorer in junior Tyler Stewart, finished 19-1 during the regular season and won its first two playoff games to advance to the PIHL title game for a second consecutive season, finishing as runner-up both times.

The Bucs will open nationals at 2 p.m. Thursday against Boulder/Monarch (Colo.). They were placed in a pool with Boulder/Monarch, the Omaha (Neb.) Junior Lancers and Steinbrenner (Fla.). The winner of each pool advances to the playoffs. The tournament concludes Monday.

“Hopefully, we can win four or five more (games) and bring home a national championship,” Rickard said. “That would be unprecedented. But they’re definitely looking to play and hungry for getting at least another win.”

Arianna Grand

Valley junior high student Arianna Bernard continues to dominate in youth wrestling.

Bernard, 11, won the girls 100-pound bracket at the Pennsylvania Junior Wrestling championships earlier this month at Petersen Events Center, giving her two consecutive titles.

PJW added a girls division last year, and Bernard put up dominant showings in claiming the folkstyle title each of the last two years. For the second consecutive season, she did not yield a point in her three matches, outscoring her opponents, 14-0. She beat Jordyn Fouse by a 2-0 decision in the finals.

Hall updates

The 50th induction banquet for the Alle-Kiski Valley Sports Hall of Fame will take place May 18 at 7 p.m. at the New Kensington Quality Inn.

The organization has a special commemorative ticket available for the 50th banquet and has a new chairman and a new website.

Larry Lutz of Buffalo Township is the new chairman, taking over for Bob Tatrn, who died last July.

The hall also has a new website: that details upcoming and past inductees, background on the hall of fame and has a way to purchase banquet tickets online.

Tatrn will be inducted posthumously along with Daniel Hawkins, Brian Jacob, Dr. Paul Killian, Dennis Persin, Frank Rocco Jr., Bob Rukavina and Laurie Scharff Suprano.

Tatrn and co-founder Bob Schank, Valley News Dispatch sports editor from 1952-78, both died within six months of each other.

Banquet tickets ($30) also are available by contacting Skip Beal at 724-337-6282 or Rob Erdeljac at 412-605-9020.

Help wanted

Apollo-Ridge is searching for a new girls volleyball coach.

The district is asking applicants to send a letter of interest, resume, clearances and two recommendation letters to athletic director Ray Bartha, Apollo-Ridge High School, 1825 State Route 56, Spring Church, Pa., 15686. They also can be emailed to

The deadline is April 10, and interested applicants can find out more by calling 724-478-6033.

Tess is more

North Catholic junior Tess Myers, a Lower Burrell native, added three more Division I basketball offers over the past week, bringing her total to eight.

North Carolina Wilmington, St. Joseph and William & Mary became the latest schools to offer Myers, a 5-foot-10 guard. They join previous offers from Charlotte, Kent State, La Salle, Niagara and St. Bonaventure.

Myers has been a key part of the North Catholic lineup since her freshman season, helping the Trojanettes win three consecutive WPIAL championships. She scored 26 points in North Catholic’s 75-57 win over Central Valley in this season’s WPIAL Class 4A title game.

Cole for school

Plum’s Cole Oravitz already has played in the top junior hockey league in the country, and he’ll get a chance to play college hockey at the highest level as well.

Oravitz, a junior at Plum, recently committed to UMass for the 2020-21 season.

A defenseman, Oravitz plays for the Penguins Elite program and last May was drafted by the Madison Capitols of the United States Hockey League.

More recruiting

Leechburg football standout Tanner Dudek switched his commitment from Cal (Pa.) to Westminster. Dudek was a four-time all-conference kicker and punter for the Blue Devils, including a first-team pick at both positions as a senior. He also was a first-team Valley News Dispatch All-Star.

Doug Gulasy is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Doug at 412-388-5830, or via Twitter .


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