North Hills hockey grits its way through tough season

Friday, February 2, 2018 | 11:00 PM

It has been a season to forget for the North Hills hockey team.

Sidetracked by injuries and suspensions, the Indians sit in last place in the Class AA North/West Division with five points and a 1-12-2 record.

“Everything that went wrong this year did,” North Hills coach Carl Kelchner said. “We played two games this whole year completely healthy, and one was an exhibition game.”

Although the postseason is not in its future, the campaign was not a wash for North Hills.

Recently, three Indians competed in the Class AA All-Star Game at Robert Morris' Island Sports Center.

Seniors Matt Berner and Jarrett Warrick and junior Liam O'Neill were selected to play on the White team, which won 7-4.

“It is nice that the PIHL has recognized that we have good players,” Kelchner said. “This was Liam's first year as an all-star and the second year for Matt and Jarrett.”

Warrick registered the first goal of the game for his team in the victory.

“That is great that Jarrett was able to score a goal. I am sure he was excited about it,” Kelchner said. “It brought a smile to my face when I saw that. He got them going on the way to victory.”

Berner didn't participate as he was attending a showcase in Boston as a member of the Pens Elite 18U team.

The defenseman leads the teams in goals with 15 and points with 22.

“Matt is 99 percent sure he will play junior hockey and get into a trade school,” Kelchner said. “He will see how that works out. No college for him.”

Warrick, a forward, is third on the team with five goals and six assists. He is another senior who plans on not attending college.

“Jarrett is not sure yet,” Kelchner said. “He is talking about the military.”

O'Neill, a defenseman, is second on the team with seven goals and nine assists.

“Liam will be one of the leaders next year,” Kelchner said. “I have played a couple of freshmen and sophomores that are getting some good minutes.

“There have been positives this year with the three all-stars and young players who are developing. The older kids have taken them under their wings and have really helped them.”

Drew Karpen is a freelance writer.


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