West Allegheny was already losing 11 players from last season's Class AA Penguins Cup championship team due to graduation.
But Matt Grebosky, a junior this year, decided before the season that he, too, would not play for the Indians so he could concentrate on an increased workload at school.
"I was taking some harder classes because I want to attend medical school someday," Grebosky said.
Grebosky, who also plays amateur hockey for the Pittsburgh Predators U18 squad, was West Allegheny's fourth-leading scorer last season.
But after the school year started, Grebosky realized he had more free time than he anticipated and asked to come back to the Indians.
"He came to the first game and said he already missed being part of the team and wanted to come back," West Allegheny coach Timon Veach said. "He decided he wanted to play for us and we asked the rest of the team what they thought and they were very accepting of him coming back."
Grebosky made his debut against Montour in the Indians' fifth game of the season. At the time, West Allegheny was 0-3-1. But since Grebosky has returned, the Indians are 2-2 (prior to Thursday's game against Chartiers Valley), with both wins coming against the Spartans.
In just four games, Grebosky has already climbed to fifth on the team in scoring with six points. He has tallied a goal in three of the four games while playing on a line with the team's top two scorers, freshmen Jess Ligas and Sean Weber.
"He definitely adds goal scoring to our team," Veach said. "We are very reliant on his line. They have to be a plus line for us every night if we want to have a chance to win.
"So far, they have fit pretty well and are clicking."
And Grebosky hopes he can help lead the team back to the Penguins Cup playoffs.
"We're not the same team we were last year," he said. "I'm not saying there's no chance we could win the Penguins Cup, because anything could happen. But I think it would be a good step if we could make the playoffs this season."
The Indians next game is 9 p.m. Monday against Gateway at Penguins Pond.
Tigers win tournament
The North Allegheny hockey team won the Director's Cup title for the fifth time Monday, defeating Dematha (Md.), 6-4, in the championship of the 17th annual Pennsylvania Hockey Scholastic Showcase.
"I think it was important," said North Allegheny coach Jim Black. "A lot of our guys only play for one team or play split-season amateur hockey, so they aren't playing right now. So to get five games over a three-day stretch over the break was a good thing, especially against good competition. It represents what the playoffs will be like."
The tournament consisted of 12 teams. There were three, four-team divisions that each played a round robin. The winner of each division plus one wild card advanced to the semifinals.
Dematha, a 10-time state champion in Maryland, defeated Shaler in one semifinal, while the Tigers won the other semifinal, 4-3, against Bethel Park on an overtime goal by Charlie Johnson.
Johnson, a senior, scored five goals in the event and was named the Most Valuable Player.
North Allegheny also beat Mt. Lebanon, Serra Catholic and Hun School of Princeton, N.J., in the event.
Other PIHL teams in the showcase were Penn-Trafford, Chartiers Valley, Erie McDowell and Bishop Canevin.
It was North Allegheny's first Director's Cup title since 2005. The Tigers won three in a row from 2003-05 and also won the title in 1999.
Games of the week
• Peters Township at Bethel Park, 7 p.m. today, Bladerunners-Bethel Park -- Tonight's game is a rematch of last season's PIHL Class AAA Penguins Cup championship game, which the Black Hawks won, 2-1. Both Bethel Park (5-2-0 entering Wednesday's game against Upper St. Clair) and Peters Township (5-4-0) will enter with winning records.
• Freeport vs. Mars, 5 p.m. Wednesday, Penguins Pond -- The matchup between the Yellowjackets (7-1-1 heading into Thursday) and Planets (7-2-1 heading into Thursday) will pit two of the top three ranked teams in the PIHL Class A.