By TOM ROBINSON
For The Dallas Post
Casey McAndrew, David Payne and Eric Gotoweski provided the leadership for a successful season by the Back Mountain Blackhawks.
The three Dallas High School students will be back together on the ice Friday night when the Northeast Pennsylvania Scholastic Hockey League conducts its All-Star Game at the Mohegan Sun Arena.
McAndrew, the team captain, was selected to the all-star team along with alternate captains Payne and Gotoweski and Lake-Lehman student Hunter Hackling. The Blackhawks also had Tom Brady, an Easton player who joined the team last season, selected and Northwest’s Logan Obes listed as an alternate.
McAndrew, Payne and Gotoweski captained Back Mountain to a 9-5-0 record and third place in the varsity standings. The Blackhawks then routed Susquehanna Valley, 11-0, in the quarterfinals before having their season end with a 9-3 semifinal loss to Wyoming Valley West.
“It was disappointing to lose in the semis, but it was a good season,” Back Mountain coach Jack Ciaccia said.
McAndrew centered the top line.
“He’s a well-rounded, excellent hockey player,” Ciaccia said.
Payne played both forward and defense.
“He was tremendous for us in tough situations,” Ciaccia said. “He has a great wrist shot that is very accurate.”
Gotoweski led the defense.
“He’s a very physical player,” Ciaccia said. “For any team, it’s nice to have that physical player on defense that keeps an offense on its toes when it tries to enter your defensive zone.”
Hackling played defense. Ciaccia praised his all-around ability, including his work on the special teams.
The Blackhawks drew players from eight school districts on the varsity level and six on the junior varsity level where about half the team was made up of Tunkhannock players.
Most of the team’s games were played at the Revolution Ice Centre in Pittston, although some games were also held at the Coal Street Complex in Wilkes-Barre.
Dylan Pilger, Eric Yenchack and goalie Corey McAndrew were the other Dallas players on the varsity roster.
John Butler, Alex Hoyt and Jimmy Loeflad were the other varsity players from Lake-Lehman.
The Blackhawks also had some swing players, who were available for both the varsity and junior varsity rosters. Those players included Patrick Newhart and Liam Barrett from Dallas, J.P. Natishan and Zacharia Ouladelhadjahmed from Lake-Lehman and Paul Ciaccia, a home-schooled student from the Lake-Lehman district.
The junior varsity team had similar results, finishing third in the standings with an 8-3-1 record and winning a quarterfinal playoff before losing in the semifinals.
The JV team included J.D. Barrett from Dallas and Drew Poslock from Lake-Lehman.