North Xtra: Grossman adaptable skater for Shaler

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Luke Grossman has been a chameleon for the Shaler Area High School hockey team the past three years.

During his sophomore season, Grossman was a frequent call-up from the junior varsity team, so he said he just wanted to be a spark plug and hit anything that moved.

Last season, Shaler had a very good scoring line, so Grossman said his job was to just be the defensive center the team needed on its second line.

Now this season, with the team needing some additional scoring, Grossman entered this week in the top 10 in scoring in PIHL Class AAA.

"Coming into each season, I just find out what my role is and do whatever I'm asked to do," Grossman said. "This season, I had to step up as a scorer so I'm trying to take advantage of every opportunity I have."

Grossman entered this season with 13 goals and 25 points in 39 career games. He has 13 goals and 29 points in 17 games this season for the Titans (6-11 after an 11-0 loss Tuesday against Peters Township).

In addition to being asked to be a scorer, Grossman has also needed to take on more of a leadership role. Prior to the season, Grossman was voted the team's captain by his teammates.

"He was an appropriate pick," Shaler coach Curt Hetz said. "He's a quiet kid, but leads by example on and off the ice."

Grossman will speak up when it's called for, however, as was the case last week against Seneca Valley.

In the Titans' 8-3 loss to Seneca Valley, seven players were given game misconducts, including four on Shaler's team. The game got very chippy after Seneca Valley scored five third-period goals to pull away, and it continued after the game, where a skirmish ensued.

Grossman said he addressed the team afterward to let the players know it was poor judgment to have that happen.

"I told them it was unacceptable and that's not the way we play at Shaler," Grossman said. "We're usually aggressive and physical, but we stay within the rules. It was embarrassing for the players and our organization. We just have to class things up and try to earn back the respect."

Although the Seneca Valley game may have been a black mark against the Shaler program, Hetz has no reservations about the type of person Grossman is.

"He's a good-natured kid," Hetz said. "He's very respectful and disciplined, for the most part. He's very coachable and will do anything we ask him to do."

Grossman has shown that with his willingness to change his role every season, which could come in handy down the line as well.

After graduating, Grossman is looking to play junior amateur hockey. He believes his well-rounded game and ability to adapt will help him in whatever role he is asked to play.

"I don't know what to expect, but I'll fill whatever role they need me to fill," Grossman said.

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