West Xtra: Despite low numbers, Beaver hanging tough
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There are some teams in the PIHL, such as Pine-Richland, that run out four different lines each game.
Beaver doesn't have that luxury. In fact, in one game this season, Beaver had just four forwards dressed.
"It's taken a pretty big toll on us," Beaver senior captain Kevin Orndorf said. "Sometimes we only have two guys on the bench and our shifts last five times as long as they should.
"We just don't have the numbers."
Beaver (4-10-0) has 12 players rostered, so if the whole team is present, it will have two full lines and a backup goaltender.
But often, there is one or more players missing. In the Harbor Creek game on Dec. 20, Beaver had just four forwards and three defensemen dressed in a 7-1 loss.
The lack of players changes the way the team has to play.
"It changes how we forecheck, how we run our bench, how we run our offense and defense," Beaver coach Jim Hickey said. "But we're not going to bellyache about it. We just try to pull together."
Despite the lack of numbers, Beaver has already surpassed its win total from last season. The 2011-12 Bobcats won just three of 20 games, but Beaver won four of its first seven this season.
Orndorf and a female teammate, Tara Treloar, have been the team's standouts. Orndorf has switched between defenseman and forward, leading the team in goals (9), assists (7) and points (16). His play earned him a spot on the Open Division's Southwest Conference All-Star team.
"It's pretty big," Orndorf said. "I was an alternate last season, but to be selected is one of the bigger things you work toward in your high school career.
"It says a lot about what the other coaches think of me."
Treloar is starting in net for the second consecutive season. Her goals-against average (6.11) doesn't indicate how well she has played, because on average she faces 45.4 shots per game.
There have been seven different games where Treloar has faced more than 50 shots, including the aforementioned Harbor Creek game, when she stopped 67-of-74 shots.
For the season, Treloar has a save percentage of .869 and is in third in the Open Division in total saves (553).
"She's a tough little goaltender," Hickey said. "She has faced a bunch of shots this season and has kept us in games."
Treloar is from New Castle, one of the four other schools with which Beaver has a co-op agreement (Riverside, Ellwood City and Hopewell are the others). The team's second-leading scorer, junior Brandon Brown, comes from Hopewell and was an alternate for the all-star game.
Hickey is hoping that with so many schools in play and freshman and junior varsity teams that have at least 16 players, the future rosters will be more plentiful.
"We'll probably also graduate a handful of players this season, so we'll just have to see what manifests itself," Hickey said.
First Published January 24, 2013 12:00 am