Marky Billson profiles the South Park hockey team.
(Photo: South Park's Tyler Gerhold, left, tries to skate around Montour's Anthony Hartwick. John Heller/Post-Gazette)
"A generation ago Derek Podalak was part of the South Park hockey team's glory days as first a player then an assistant coach.
From 1993-97 the Eagles' varsity hockey team was 71-3-4 in the regular season, moving from Class A to AA, and playing for the AA Penguins Cup (Western Pennsylvania championship) in 1995.
But when Podalak became head coach of the South Park varsity program this season, he inherited a program at perhaps the nadir of its existence. The Eagles were 2-19 last season and had dropped to the second tier of Class A. Talented players such as goalie Joseph Recktenwald would give the Eagles a short try before deciding to use amateur hockey as the sole path to junior hockey.
It's too early to say the Eagles are back to their powerhouse status, but what can be said is they equaled last season's victory total in their first two games, exceeded it in three, and led Class A's Tier II with a 6-3 record entering this week."