1980 – 1981
The Big Win against WVU
Records for the 1980 – 1981 season are only partially available as of the original date of the publication of the SVC Hockey web page. Attempts are currently being made to reconstruct the season from articles and the memory of the players. As the web page is visited by former team members who participated during the last three seasons of the team, before its rebirth in 1999 – 2000, we hope to collect additional photos and stories to finish a more complete history during the first run of ice hockey at the college. Should you happen to be one of those players, please contact Mike Ziemianski. He will assemble the material and publish as complete a story as may be available.
After a disappointing 1979 – 1980, for the first time in the history of the college an active recruiting campaign was enacted by Head Coach Bob Farrell as an attempt to bolster the strength of the team for 1980 – 1981. Finding an interest in several local players, Bob encouraged them to enroll in the school to both continue educational pursuits and be able to play the game that they loved near their homes in Western Pennsylvania.
The names of Mike Woods, Dave Carroll, and Jim Trogolo would soon become recognized throughout the league as a powerful force with Woods and Trogolo supplying much needed offensive punch and Carroll solidifying the blue line with his terrifying shot, huge hits and smart playing making. Unfortunately from the previous year, league standout Lou Nicolai moved to Southern California. But even without “The Animal”, the season was a coming of age for John Nelson and obtainment of star status for Pat Felton. John Trovato regained his scoring touch, Dave Wagner, with more blue line help thrived as one of the most mobile defenseman in the league, and John Greiner consistently turned in outstanding game after outstanding game. The freshman from the previous season had progressed to a new level, and John Konfala completed the uncomparable journey he had started as a freshman when he began the difficult process of transitioning from a forward to a goaltender at the collegiate level.
The fact that the season was a success goes without saying. The details need to be resurrected and the filler must be added. But in brief, the following article says it all.
“Polar Bearcats Sting WVU Eye Playoffs”
Larry “Peach” Petro
“A standing room only crowd of 2,000 W.V.U. fans witnessed our Polar Bearcats upset their Mountainers 5 to 1 in a game which was a must win situation for the “Cats” to receive a berth in the playoffs.
Because of a hip injury to regular goalie John Greiner, senior goalie John Konfala finally got a chance to prove himself, and prove himself he did. The Mountaineers had 36 shots on goal and in the end only got one by the “Big Man”. The highlight of the game was when John rose to the occasion and snuffed out a frantic Mountaineer rally in the third period to put the game in the win column for the Polar Bearcats.
The Polar Bearcats finished with 26 shots on goal and saw three goals knocked in by Mike Woods in the second period. Jim Trogolo also scored in the second. The final goal goal, an empty net tally was scored by Pat Felton with less than two minutes remaining in the game.
The first round of the playoffs for the Polar Bearcats will be March 25 at Lake View Arena. Opponent and time has yet to be determined.”
St. Vincent defeated Penn State McKeesport in the first playoff round and lost to Duquesne University in the second frame. Duquesne won the championship in the final round.
It was a sad ending for both John Konfala and John Trovato who, after two season of directing the team as students, turned over the reigns to Pat Felton. At the athletic awards banquet however, “J.T.” followed in the footsteps of Dan Morris and Mike Ziemianski from earlier teams and was given the Rafferty Award as the school’s top scholar athlete for the year.