Seniors took Baldwin hockey program to remarkable heights

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Sunday, May 23, 2021 | 11:01 AM


The seven seniors on the Baldwin hockey team have a combined 87 years of experience on the ice.

That experience paid off greatly in 2019-20 and 2020-21 seasons.

After skating to a 19-1 record and two PIHL playoff wins, Baldwin saw its 2019-20 season shut down by covid-19 pandemic concerns.

This year, the Highlanders were near-unbeatable again, rolling up a 21-1 record while winning both the PIHL Pens Cup and Class AA state championships.

That totals to a dominant 40-2 mark over the past two seasons while Baldwin racked up a 210-61 overall scoring advantage.

“It’s very impressive what the players of the last two years have accomplished,” said Justin Glock, Baldwin coach and team architect. “Each team was able to finish the playoffs by winning its last game. That doesn’t happen often.

“Both got better as the season went on, and they were both the epitome of the word team. We had different players step up and have big moments in the last two seasons. Both teams overcame playoff adversity and overcame it to be victorious. I know it was super tough for the 2019-20 seniors to have their season end prematurely, but they paved the path forward for expectations this season.”

Defenseman Robbie Aranos (15 years) and center Keith Reed (14 years) have been playing hockey for most of their lives. Reed served as team captain in 2020-21.

Wingers Zach Borman and Joey Jacobs, along with center Dylan Belak and defenseman Blake George, have competed for 12 years, while defender Bruna Maietta has been skating for a decade.

“We had great senior leadership,” said Glock, the Highlanders’ fifth-year coach. “Three of the seniors were our captains. They led by example and really wanted to win and honor the preceding senior class, given that our 2019-20 season ended due to the pandemic.

“This year’s seniors are a great example for the underclassmen to look up to continuing their careers at Baldwin. They all deserved to go out on top the way they did.”

After graduation, Aranos is hoping to either play AAA hockey or junior hockey, preferably in the North American Hockey League.

“Robbie has become one of the most talented defensemen in the PIHL,” Glock said. “He has a skillset that allows him to successful defend and provide offense.

“He’s dramatically improved his game from the time he entered the Baldwin organization.”

Reed’s post-graduation plan consists of attending Slippery Rock to study business.

“Keith has been an integral part of Baldwin’s success over the past few seasons,” Glock said. “He’s led this year’s team on and off the ice. He’s worked tirelessly at becoming a better goal scorer, and he’s matured and become a better person on and off the ice.”

Borman and Belak plan to go to Penn State with Borman studying in the school of engineering and Belak studying kinesiology. Maietta will stay local at Pitt and major in computer science.

Jacobs’ college destination is West Virginia, where he will major in business, and George is deciding between mechanical engineering or project management at WVU or Robert Morris.

Undoubtedly, hockey has had a major influence in each of the seniors lives and in teaching them life skills. Their parents, and coach Glock, can be proud.

Here’s what each said:

• Borman: “Hockey has taught me that it is very important in life to be a hard worker along with having leadership and teamwork skills.”

• Reed: Hockey skills will help “meeting new people and making connections with successful people and learning on what to do right in life to be successful.”

• Maietta: “Hockey has taught me how to deal with adversity and to have a good work ethic. It has taught me that teamwork and communication are important in order to succeed.”

• Belak: “Hockey has been my entire life and given me great life skills. I would say my communication and leadership skills that I have developed from hockey will definitely help me in the future.”

• Jacobs: “A few skills I can take away from playing hockey are accountability, work ethic and respect. Being accountable for your mistakes allows you to become a better version of yourself. A strong work ethic gives you a better chance to achieve your goals. And respect is a good quality to have. When you do not respect your opponent, they usually end up beating you.”

• George: “Hockey has taught me to be a team player, to be disciplined (and about) dedication and commitment. These are key characteristics to have a successful career and life.”

• Aranos: “Hockey has brought responsibility, respect and leadership into my life.”

Aranos and Belak were alternate captains this year.

“It’s been an honor to coach both teams the past two seasons,” Glock said. “I hope they are both remembered as two of the best teams to play at Baldwin.

“Both have raised the bar for players remaining and coming into the organization. I hope that’s the legacy they’re remembered by when looking back.”

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