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Penn Hills youth team wins national street hockey championship

Penn Hills youth team wins national street hockey championship


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Sunday, May 21, 2023 | 11:01 am

Bradley Mazza’s trip to New Jersey caused some extra nerves.

The Penn Hills Arsenal Penguins A team found themselves in an undisclosed position during the National Street Hockey Association tournament hosted by the Gloucester Township Hockey Alliance.

Penn Hills was in overtime fighting for a championship against the Marlton Chiefs. Mazza, who is 9 and a resident of Indiana Township, had never played in overtime.

“No, never,” said Mazza. “It was really nerve-wracking who was going to score.”

After teammate Coltyn Carlgren blocked a shot, the ball went to Luca Daughterty. Daughterty shuffled it forward to Mazza, who scored the match-winner by faking a shot and placing the ball above the keeper’s shoulder.

The 6-5 win helped Penn Hills become the first Greater Pittsburgh Deck Hockey Center Penguins team to win a national championship in a quarter century.

The Penguins group consisted of players ages 7 to 10.

The Penn Hills Arsenal Penguins A team is 16-0 this season. The championship game tested their mettle.

“It was hard to get into a rhythm,” said Mazza. “They were the strongest team we played against.”

Marlton jumped out to a 2-0 lead and scored with two minutes remaining to take a 5-4 lead.

“In the last game, we never gave up,” said Penn Hills coach John Chmiel.

Brooks Robertson scored a goal with 1:30 left to tie the game for Penn Hills. During the game, Chmiel said Penn Hills needed to change its approach from how they normally play.

Usually they prefer to play it safe. But when they fell behind early, they had to take more risks to catch up.

“Our philosophy is to be conservative within our zone, but have two forwards on the ball in the attacking zone,” said Chmiel. “We play a conservative, defensive first style. In the last game we had to change our style to become a more aggressive, attacking first team. We have adapted our style.”

Penn Hills roster also included Angelo Ambroselli, Logan Chmiel, Joseph Ciccarelli, Maddox Dawson, Cole Mahaven, Jacob Matcuk, Severio Morascyzk, Dominic Sargo, Seth Tutelo and Kaden Williams.

Chmiel was proud to see the players grow throughout the season, including seeing his son Logan develop leadership skills.

“I would say all players have bought our system,” said Chmiel. “Some players sacrificed playing time and some players were double shifted to win the game for the team. The team also changed the game plan during the game because we were in control.

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