“Building a Foundation”
2000 – 2001
“Competitive League Play”
After a successful 1999-2000 season, a large group of returning players, and many new additions, the 2000-2001 year appeared to be off to a promising start. Mike Ziemianski, Vince Kadlubek and Denny Brunetta returned to coach the team for a second season. Tom Holowaty, Faculty Advisor and Off Ice Director of the program had not only scheduled 17 games, but also secured additional practice ice during the week. New players included Tom Delcoco from the Westmoreland Amateur program, John Dobos, a transfer student who had played for Pittsburgh Central Catholic, Jesse Macklin from Jeanette, Vic Reseski from Indiana, Ryan Tucek from Gateway High School, Brian Heckler from the Columbus Ohio Amateur program, and a new face, former Serra Catholic blue liner and SVC junior, Marc Bilinski. Goaltending depth appeared in the faces of Andrew Tulley, from Forest Hills High School as well as Joe Talano, a transfer from Notre Dame who played locally at Greensburg Central Catholic.
There was a lot of optimism. The first line started with Brett Martz, Jesse Podlucky and John Dobos. Ryan Tucek, Tom Delcoco and Jesse Macklin looked strong as a newly formed freshman unit. Jason Boone, Rick Showman, Dave Avolio, and Tim Holowaty, Matt Grand and Dave Teske had the ability to round out two more solid units. Unfortunately, a key defenseman from 1999-2000, Mike Beaver, elected to not play, but the addition of Brian Geckler and Marc Bilinski to defense rounded out what looked to be a solid unit anchored by Brian Kosczuk.
The season started well with a victory over UPJ. After a loss to a CCAC team that had several minor league professional players recruited to it, a scoreless tie with UPJ and a win against Allegheny College, the team held a respectable 2-1-1 mark. Then through an unfortunate series of events and injuries the team lost several key players. At times the Polar Bearcats were reduced to as little as 4 defenseman and 2 experienced centers. Teams with whom SVC was competitive the season before had started to recruit heavily into their programs and even though the Green and Gold worked hard, several times throughout the course of the year outstanding goaltending efforts by Sokolowski, Talano, and Tully were not able to keep SVC from the loss column.
A late season surge almost pulled St. Vincent into the playoffs, but a loss to CMU in the final regular season game eliminated the Polar Bearcats from any hope of post season competition. The final record stood at 5-11-1.
In spite of the disappointment, there were highlights from the campaign. On several occasions goaltending stole games and even in some lopsided losses the number of saves that were made deserve recognition including, a shared shutout of UPJ by Joe Talano and Andrew Tully; a 33 save performance and an SVC win for Josh Sokolowski against Allegheny College; an incredible 30 saves on 31 shots in one period by Sokolowski against W&J; and a 55 save game by Joe Talano against Penn State West in a losing effort. Tim Holowaty scored a late game winning goal against Slippery Rock on a break-a-way. It was a first goal for Matt Harvey. It was an empty net goal from the far blue line by Jesse Podlucky to seal the victory against Allegheny College. It was a season of big hits by Marc Bilinski.
For recognition of their performance, Joshua Sokolowski, Brett Martz, John Dobos, and Brian Kosczuk were named to the WPCHA All Star team. It was a season in which a great team personality, Nick DiNardo played his last game as a December Grad. It was also a season of tragedy when Vic Receski unexpectedly passed away after transferring to IUP. It was a building year for one of the most successful team in the history of the school the team of 2001-2002.