PITTSBURGH — Change isn’t always a bad thing.
The Pittsburgh Huskies Under-16 Class AA hockey team lost nearly half its players from last year’s roster — and is headed to this year’s USA Hockey Tier II National Championships.
The 16-team tournament takes place April 3-7 in Troy, Mich.
“We had seven or eight players move on from last year for various reasons,” coach Vic Whann, a Butler resident, said. “Despite so much turnover in the roster, the kids on this team were very receptive to executing the way we like to play.
“They believe in our system. They stick to it. They listen to what we’re saying.”
The Huskies play in the Pittsburgh Amateur Hickey League and will take a 29-10-1 overall record into the national tourney. The 18-player 16-under team features six players from Butler County.
Forwards Nick Whann, Dustin Davis and Connor Scott, defenseman Dalton Scott and goaltender Clay Bachman are from Butler. Forward Nick Makozy is a Mars resident.
Bachman has been shouldering the netminding duties since fellow goalie Cley Pujol underwent hip surgery in the beginning of February. Pujol attends Franklin Regional High School.
“Clay does so much for this team ... We rely on him too much,” Whann said. “When we have a hiccup defensively, it’s easy to figure Clay will clean it up.”
The Huskies recently won the USA Hockey Tier II Pennsylvania State Championship, dropping a 2-1 overtime shootout decision to the Mid-State Mustangs before reeling off wins of 5-2 over the Steel City Renegades, 5-3 over the North Pittsburgh Wildcats and 3-2 over the Butler Valley Dawgs.
Bachman stopped 137 of 145 shots in the tourney.