Sewickley Academy hockey team starts season on right foot

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Sunday, January 17, 2021 | 9:01 AM


The Sewickley Academy hockey team may have a small roster made up of just 13 players, but they make up for their lack of depth with hard work and talent, and they have gotten off to a hot start this season.

Through four games, the Panthers have already matched their win total from a year ago when they lost their first 17 games but finished out the season winning two of their final three. Now they are hoping to build for the rest of their season.

After dropping their first game of the season to Chartiers Valley, 7-2, they have won two of their past three and have outscored those opponents 17-9.

“We’re definitely heading in the right direction, and we have a good group of players this year that have great attitudes, guys that really enjoy playing together,” Sewickley Academy coach Chris Chiusano said. “They are really trying to do the small things to try and make themselves better and help the team.”

Although they lost to Greensburg Salem on Dec. 7, 7-3, the Panthers earned a big 6-1 win over Blackhawk in November, then added their second win of the season with a convincing 8-1 victory over Beaver on Jan. 11.

Both wins happened in convincing fashion, but Chiusano said the victories were the product of honest effort.

“They were working hard, winning battles, making good decisions with the puck and getting the puck to the net,” Chiusano said. “That’s one of the things that I preach to my guys. It’s never a bad thing when you put the puck on the net because that’s usually when good things happen. At the root of it all is just the work ethic of the guys, shift in and shift out.”

Through the beginning part of the season, forwards Jack Gordon and Mathew McEnroe have been at the center of Sewickley Academy’s success. They currently have eight and seven goals respectively, which is tied for the second and third most in Class A. Gordon has also tallied four assists while McEnroe has added two.

Last year, McEnroe had seven goals and nine assists while Gordon led the team with 21 goals and eight assists. This season, Chiusano said he’s been playing Gordon and McEnroe on the same line, which has helped them open up space for each other.

“Typically, Matt will play center and Jack will play on one of the wings,” Chiusano said. “They are both pretty good players, they both have a good scoring touch, and they’ve been playing the game for a long time. They complement each other pretty well playing together, and it makes it difficult for other teams to try and defend against the line specifically.”

McEnroe has scored in every game this season other than the loss to Chartiers Valley. Against Blackhawk, he scored a hat trick and tallied two assists, while scoring two goals in the Panthers’ other two games.

Gordon has scored in every game this season and tallied five goals and an assist in the win over Beaver.

Although there is a lot of time left in the season, the Panthers are off to a good start. They are getting solid play from goaltenders Brady Moseberger and Thomas Sykes and several players have stepped up to play in different positions than normal.

Now the Panthers are just looking to continue to improve as the season goes on.

“I’m pretty optimistic about where we are going to be at the end of the season,” Chiusano said. “I think we are going to continue to improve, and I think we’ll be a pretty competitive team before the end of the season.”

Greg Macafee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Greg by email at gmacafee@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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