Pine-Richland teen Carson Verszyla goes viral with highlight-reel hockey goal

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Monday, June 7, 2021 | 7:19 PM


Carson Verszyla got an early birthday present Monday morning when he saw himself on “SportsCenter.”

Verszyla, who turned 13 Monday and is a sixth-grader in the Pine-Richland School District, scored a highlight-reel spin-o-rama goal Sunday that was featured as the top play on ESPN’s “SportsCenter” top 10.

“It was honestly pretty cool,” Verszyla said. “I was shocked to see myself on there because that’s the kind of thing you dream about. I never expected to be on ‘SportsCenter’ top 10 and be No. 1.”

Verszyla came in on a breakaway and did a full 360 spin while putting the puck flat on his stick and flipping it past the goalie top shelf with a lacrosse-style shot. He was playing in a 3-on-3 summer league game for the Sasquatches at RMU Island Sports Arena.

A highlight of the goal was posted on social media by Carson’s father, Jeff Verszyla, who is a meteorologist for WTAE, and it quickly went viral. It was retweeted by ESPN’s John Buccigross and popular Barstool Sports podcast Spittin’ Chiclets among others.

Verszyla said he tried the move a couple of other times in a game before but didn’t score. He practiced the move both in his driveway at home and during downtime at hockey practices.

“I had done it in practice some while messing around with my teammates. I got the opportunity to do it in a game, so I just said to myself, ‘Why not?’ And I decided to try it,” Verszyla said. “I was pretty happy that I finally got it done. It’s a cool move that you see players do on TV, so it felt pretty good to do it.”

He had a nice celebration with his teammates on the bench after the goal.

“A lot of them were shocked just like I was,” Verszyla said. “They were pretty happy for me because I don’t think they had ever seen it happen in a game before either.”

Verszyla has played hockey since he was 4. He plays for Pine-Richland’s middle school team and the Renegades club team.

He’s a big fan of the Penguins and now has a highlight on ESPN like some of his favorite players that wear the black and gold.

“I started watching the Penguins and just got hooked on the game,” Verszyla said. “I tried it out and it was really fun, so I just stuck with it.”

Jerin Steele is a freelance writer

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