St. Vincent College Hockey: Game Video Highlights

Tuesday, November 10
1969 - 1970 Season

“In the Beginning”

 

1969-1970

 

The First Season of Saint Vincent College Ice Hockey

 

 

            The origins of the Saint Vincent College Ice Hockey Club and Team are traced to some unknown date in a room on the second floor of Bonnaventure Hall.  It was in the confined space of a dormitory setting that Bob Farrell and Gerry Hyner thought of and germinated a tradition that now spans more than four decades of intercollegiate ice hockey competition at the college.

 

            Three Saint Vincent students, Bob Farrell, Gerry Hyner, and Dick Bienvenue started to play hockey on Sunday mornings at the Kirk S. Nevin Ice Arena with the Pittsburgh Knights, a semi-professional team formed by the Rizzo brothers of Pittsburgh amateur hockey fame.  After several months of play, the three were frustrated by the behaviors and attitudes of the Knights toward them.  Farrell and Hyner were thinking about a way to get even with some of the players on the semi-pro team and eventually came up with the idea of a college team to play the Knights.  Bob pushed for the idea while Gerry wondered how it could happen.  There were the problems of funding, acquiring ice time, finding a coach, getting equipment, finding uniforms, and of course would there even be enough students on campus to be able to form a squad.  But Farrell had his mind made up.  By the time the meeting was over, little did the college realize that it was going to have an intercollegiate ice hockey team.

 

            In the first few weeks of the spring semester of 1970, sometime in late January, preparations were being made.  Flyers were posted on campus to attract the attention of any interested students.  Dick Bienvenue , having played on Sunday mornings with Bob and Gerry and also being an ice guard at Kirk S. Nevin immediately joined the effort.  Dick was successful in acquiring donations from local Greensburg merchants and enlisted Dave Gray, a member of the faculty at Seton Hill College to be the first coach.  During college, Dave was the captain of the St. Lawrence University Ice Hockey Team and immediately added credibility to the team.  Then came the moral and spiritual support of Brother Patrick Lacy O.S.B.  When the publicity campaign had closed, Farrel, Hyner and Bienvenue had a list of 15 names of both students and Greensburg/Latrobe natives who were to form the core of the first team.

 

            In the February 6’th edition of the 1970 “Review” the team made its first official appearance in an article titled “Hockey Lives”, by Gerry Hyner.

 

            “The fast moving, hard checking game of Ice Hockey has finally made its appearance on the Saint Vincent Campus.  The Greensburg Ice Arena has been the site of a month’s worth of practice—coached by Mr. David Gray, Psychology Professor at Seton Hill.  Coach Gray is an alumnus of St. Lawrence University, where he was the captain of the Vikings’ squad.  Preliminary lines have been formed with Joe Repucci holding down the center position, and with Terry Hemlock and Frank Sylvester at the wings.  On defense, Gerry Hyner and Dick Bienvenue with Bob Farrell and Tom Robbins will assist goalie John Savage, in support of the offensive lines.  Forwards Owen Grumbling, Keith Mielke and Brandy Wehe will aid in scoring with the rest of the squad.

Help and support, of course, are needed from the student body.  With their backing Saint Vincent could have a tough and ready hockey team.”

            Money in hand along with a coach and players, the team was ready to go to the next level.  Dick Bienvenue had learned of several other colleges who either had or were in the process of forming teams.  Dick was able to arrange three matches for the Saint Vincent Icers before the end of the spring term…Carnegie Mellon University, Saint Francis College of Loretto, and Duquesne University.

 

            Unfortunately, the students still looked more like a group of pick up players than an organized college team.  Most wore sweats and those who had uniforms displayed colors from all sorts of different teams.  Bob Farrell discovered a sale on uniforms at a Pittsburgh sporting goods store and used the tuition money sent to him from his parents to buy the first set of uniforms.  The players who joined Bob on the trip could not decide which color of uniform to purchase.  Since it was Bob’s money (or at least his parent’s), he made the final choice.  Hailing from Connecticut and a follower of the Boston Bruins, Bob felt the Boston Bruin Black and Gold scheme made the most sense; and so the first uniforms were Bruin replicas.

 

            With the original money raised by Bienvenue fast being spent on ice time, and with Farrell needing $300 in tuition, the team drew up a constitution and approached Student Government for an allocation.  With funding already being allocated to the Intercollegiate Football Club, the Ice Hockey Club argued precedent and was successful in gaining funding for the student body sponsored sport.  This first donation enabled Farrell to pay the College Business Office the back tuition money as well as permitting the team to finalize game schedules and acquire more practice ice at Kirk Nevin Arena.  The students did schedule a scrimmage with the Knights in which both squads were split to avoid any altercations.  Soon the first real game was drawing near.

 

            There is no recorded date of the first game, but it did take place against a second year Carnegie Mellon team.  Though not possessing the overall talent of the Tartans, the Polar Bearcats did hold their own.  Bright spots included the play of Terry Hemlock, Ed Touhey, Cat Robbins, Frank Sylvester, Gerry Hyner, Tom Chandley, Jim Dolney, Bob Farrell, and Vince Kadlubek.  Al Reinshagen, a backup goaltender for the Pittsburgh Knights provided extra help in goal.  Terry Hemlock was credited for the first score in Saint Vincent Hockey history.  Unfortunately, team captain Joe Repucci was injured in the contest and was lost for the rest of the season. The final score, CMU. 5 St. Vincent 2.

 

            The next encounter pitted Saint Francis of Loretto against SVC.  The members of each team matched up well except for the legendary Joe Gentile.  The Captain of the Frankie team, one of the first black hockey players in Western Pennsylvania, scored four of the five St. Francis goals while the St. Vincent could only put in three tallies.  Goaltending was split between John Savage and Al Reinshagen. With an 0-2 record, the team prepared for its final game against Duquesne University.

 

            In the last game of the 1969-1970 season, the Dukes started quickly putting 3 goals behind Savage in the first period.  Desperately wanting to pick up a victory, Coach Gray switched goalies to Al Reinshagen at the start of the second.   He kicked aside enough shots for St. Vincent to trim the lead to 4-3.  Then, playing inspired 3’rd period hockey, the Polar Bearcats outhustled the Dukes 4-2, to finish with the first victory for the team 7-6.

 

            So ended the first season. A few students with dedication who were willing to take some risks created an actual team in less than one year.  The seniors who graduated depleted the talent ranks for the next season.  With Ted Savage, Joe Repucci, Dick Bienvenue, Owen Grumbling and Mike Gilliland gone, the question remained, what would be next?

 

Bob Farrell (L) & Gerry Hyner (R) at a practice in 1969-1970.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Face off practice.  Dick Bienvenue (L) squares off against Dave Gray (R) in 1969 1970.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A dangerous group. Standing from left to right: Terry Hemlock, Bob Farrell, Dave Gray, and Gerry Hyner.  Tom “Cat” Robbbins on the ice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The First SVC Ice Hockey Team 1969-1970

 

Kneeling (L-R): Andy Gustafsen, Gerry Hyner, Al Reinshagen, Bob Farrell, Tom “Cat” Robbins.

 

Standing (L-R):  Dick Bienvenue, Terry Hemlock, Tom “Slush” Chandley, Frank Sylvester,  Brother Pat Lacy, O.S.B., Dave Gray (Player Coach), Bob Lloyd, Brandy Wehe, James J.D. Dolney.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


The game that started it all. On some un-named date in history a group of SVC students were pounded by the Semi-Pro Pittsburgh Knights.  It was the start of the original organized team.

 

 

 

 



Tuesday, November 10
1970 - 1971 Season Summary

“Growing Pains”

 

1970 - 1971

 

The First Season of True Intercollegiate Play

 

 

            Friendships were renewed quickly during the fall semester of 1970 as the student body returned to their now familiar “home away from home”, Saint Vincent College.  But things were in a state of flux for the hockey club.  Dave Gray, the coach of the first team had left his faculty position at Seton Hill College. Frank Sylvester, one of the better players of the 1969-1970 season had transferred to another school.  Dick Bienvenue, the first Team Director had graduated.  The club had no money, and of course, finding more players, especially with several seniors having graduated, was an issue. 

 

            Bob Lloyd immediately sprung into action and took control of the off ice affairs of the team by assuming the role of Director of the club.  Aided by an imaginative fund raising transfer student from Gannon University, Mike Kaleina,  the two slowly built up the treasury for the team by a variety methods including the collection of dues, raffles, and by lobbying the student government association for an allocation.  Al Reinshagen, who helped the team as a goalie in the previous season and Tom Mailey, an alumnus, were approached to coach the team.  The loss of the seniors was compensated by a group of Freshman that included Mike Bernacki, Len Hohenfeld, Ross Mauro and the brother of Joe Repucci, the team’s first Captain, Pete Repucci.  Lloyd had contacted other schools in the area who were fielding teams and a schedule of 9 intercollegiate contests were on slate for 1970-1971.  Finally, Farrell and Hyner talked a fellow Junior, Andy Labrasca into play goal for the team, a move that solidified the college as a legitimate member of the Western Pennsylvania college athletics.

 

            The team stepped onto the ice for its first practice on October 19, 1970.  A few weeks later, in the November 9 edition of “The Review” the team published “Press Release No. 1”.

            “Saint Vincent College has taken to the ice this year in the form of the Bearcat Ice Hockey Club.  Following the path of Club Football started at Saint Vincent in 1968, the Ice Hockey Club is a student managed and operated club playing intercollegiate ice hockey.  The Club, organized in January of 1970, finds its financial support coming from many of the local business establishments in the area as well as the Student Government of the College.

            “Al” Reinshagen, goalie for the Pittsburgh Knights Hockey Team will lead up the team this year as head coach.  Mr. Reinshagen, a resident of Greensburg, has played with the Knights for several years now and last year was very instrumental in organizing the Bearcat Team.  Assisting with the coaching duties will be Tom Mailey, an alumnus of Saint Vincent College, also a player on the Pittsburgh Knights Team.  Both coaches Reinshagen and Mailey are extremely optimistic about the team’s success in the 1970-1971 hockey season.

            October 19’th marked the beginning of practice for the Bearcats and the Club has slated a three away and five game home season.  Saint Vincent College will open against Gannon College of Erie, PA, on January 24 in Greensburg and will meet St. Bonaventure University of New York and February 7 at home.  The Saint Vincent College team will also tackle Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA, February 14’th away and Saint Francis College of Loretto, PA February 21at home.  On march 12th the bearcats will engage St. Francis College in Johnstown, PA, and March 14 and 21, respectively, will play Gannon College and Carnegie Mellon University at home.

            All home games will be played at the Kirk S. Nevin Ice Arena of Greensburg, PA, and face off will be at 4:00 P.M.  The price of admission will be 75 cents for adults and 50 cents for children.  The Bearcat Ice Hockey Club can only provide the community with a hard hitting, low cost game of ice hockey if the community will support the club.”

 

                                                           

                                                            Club Director:                         Bob Lloyd

                                                                                                            Class of ‘72

                                                            Assistant Club Director:         Mike Kaleina

                                                                                                            Class of ‘71

            As the first semester rolled on, more students took an interest in the team.  Soon, Ted Auffenrode was helping in the nets as Labrasca’s backup, letting Al Reinshagen concentrate full time on his coaching responsibilities.  As fall finals ad come to a close, the team was prepared for a full slate of games for the spring semester.

 

            The first match of 1970-1971 ended in a 6-6 tie with West Virginia University.  Even though the team seemed to be competitive its early stages, some players did not take the game as seriously as others. The next contest against Gannon College made an immediate impact on the team.  Except for a score by Ed Touhey, the team was embarrassed by a score of 15-1.  This caused some marginal members to drop off the team and forced the more casual players to change the attitude from one of a group of people having an easy skate at a Sunday Hockey Club to something more along the lines of an actual intercollegiate sport.  At the next “outing”  a more serious approach netted a 12-2 victory over I.U.P. as Vince Kadlubek struck for 4 goals. The team then lost a hard fought 10-7 decision at the hands of Saint Bonaventure, a game in which Bob Farrell amassed 26 penalty minutes in a single period to extract a measure of revenge after being kicked in the back by a an opposing player.  After the Joe Gentile/St. Francis game, a tough 5-4 setback, Saint Vincent traveled to Pittsburgh to face C.M.U.

 

            It was publicized as the first collegiate game in the history of the Pittsburgh Civic Arena.  2,000 stragglers from a just completed NHL game with the Pittsburgh Penguins had stayed to see the opening of the contest.  Unfortunately for the SVC Center, he did not check to make sure his teammates were prepared for the initial drop of the puck.  With one defenseman relacing his skate at the St. Vincent blue line and Andy Labrasca saying a prayer on one knee, without yet having secured his mask, gloves or goal stick, the officials dropped the puck.  Eight seconds later, CMU had a 1-0 lead and eventually cruised to a 10-3 victory.  The Polar Bearcats also had the misfortune of losing Gerry Hyner during the contest as he had to be removed from the game and taken to Mercy Hospital to obtain 5 stitches needed to close a cut from a CMU high stick.  The final disappointment occurred within the last 15 seconds remaining in the game.  With a stolen puck, Bob Farrell raced toward the CMU goal on a breakaway.  Thinking the buzzer had sounded to end the game, he disgustedly slammed the puck into the corner, only to realize there were still 3 seconds left to play and what he really heard was the sound of an air horn from a CMU fan celebrating the Tartan victory.

 

            To date the team had managed a 1-4-1 mark.  It was not what they had expected at the start of the season and with powerful Gannon College next on the schedule, it looked as if another loss was immanent.  But then something amazing happened.  The team went into a defensive shell against Gannon and simply played for a break.  Emphasizing keeping the play wide, denying the slot, and not permitting odd man breaks into the zone, Lumpy was able to significantly slow down the game with numerous glove saves.  In spite of being badly outshot, SVC entered the third period with a 0-0 tie.  Then on one of the few attacks that the Polar Bearcats mounted, Captain Terry Hemlock deked the goalie, went behind the net and wrapped the puck into the goal.  Lumpy continued to frustrate the Gannon team and the defensive strategy worked.  In a Herculean effort, the team walked away with a 1-0 victory behind an unbelievable 60 save effort by Labrasca.

 

            In the next game, SVC built on the momentum of the Gannon victory and beat IUP a second time 6-5.  Finally, extracting a measure of revenge against CMU, the final game of the year was played on home ice in Greensburg; the result, SVC 7 CMU 2.  The season ended with the team posting a respectable 4-4-1 mark.

 

            Throughout the course of the season, many of the Polar Bearcats became fixtures in the Greensburg Hockey Community.  Several took positions as ice guards, some volunteered to coach kids in the Greensburg Amateur Hockey Association, no pay, but plenty of extra ice.  The players became such an integrated part of the arena, the late Greensburg Recreation Board Director, Mr. Kallagher, actually let them stay overnight at the rink with the group sometimes skating until 4 A.M.  The spirit of the team and the dedication of its members had solidified into a real sense of dedication.

 

            In the final edition of the “Review  during the 1970-1971 school year, Gerry Hyner summed up the season with the article, “Hockey Club Concludes Season”.

 

            “As Club Hockey draws to a close this writer looks back to October when Saint Vincent College Hockey began its first regularly scheduled season.  Having been recognized as a club and receiving an allocation from the student government, the team began regular practices on Monday and Wednesday nights.  For once, the team could concentrate on hockey instead of trying to find the money to pay “out of their pockets” for each practice.

Schedule Begun

            Coach Al Reinshagen, goalie for the Pittsburgh Knights, called the practice to order and a five month schedule began.  Ed Touhey started to get out the kinks.  Terry Hemlock led laps around the rink.  Bob Farrell and Gerry Hyner practiced slap shots,  and Andy Labrasca skated into the goal crease for his first attempt at stopping shots.  As the practices wore on, the Freshman began to assert themselves.  Missed checks began to decrease and once in a while someone scored.  Touhey and hemlock began to take charge—but the team spirit wasn’t there.

Gannon Changes Team

            Then came the trip to Gannon College.  Saint Vincent was soundly beaten, but a new team began to emerge.  Ringers (players from semi-pro teams or other colleges) became a common word in the locker room.  Saint Vincent College was to encounter five other teams besides Gannon, who had more players from other colleges than their own in the lineup.  As it became enticing for Saint Vincent College to beat these loaded teams the spirit began to pick up, both in practice and in games.  Unfortunately, Saint Vincent was often outclassed, but every game was hard fought and close.  It is hoped that next year, when Saint Vincent College is in a league, only undergrads will play as in Club Football.

 

Remember Raffles

 

            So, as this season comes to an end,  this writer remembers the raffles to raise money for the equipment;  the leadership of Touhey and Hemlock; some of Labrasca’s fantastic saves in the net; the goals by “Cat Robbins”, Dolney and Kadlubek;  the aggressiveness of the defense—Farrell, Hyner, Chandley, and Ballerstein; fired up freshman, Len Hohenfeld; the Civic Arena game, stitches and the late night practices.  All these have becomean integral part of the lives of twenty men.  Unfortunately, as far as Saint Vincent goes, this is about where student support ends.  Twenty-two Saint Vincent College-Seton Hill College students topped the attendance at one game this year.  A hockey sponsored skating party was promised two free buses from Seton Hill—they never came.  Without the support of the Greensburg community at the party, at the games, the Hockey Club would have folded after the first semester.  So this is the summary of most of Hockey’s season this year.  It is also an appeal for more student support of club sports on which club members depend.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The 1970-1971 Polar Bearcats

 

Kneeling (L-R):  Bob Lloyd, James J.D. Dolney, Andy Labrasca, Ted Auffenrode, Lenny Hohenfeld, Gerry Hyner.

 

Standing (L-R): Coach Al Reinshagen, Ross Mauro, Bob Farrell, Mike Shapert, Mike Bernacki, Ed Touhey, Pete Repucci, Tom Chandley, Kevin Finlay, Tom Ballerstein, Terry Hemlock, John Coyne, Tom Robbins, Brandy Wehe, Steve Schneider.

 

 

 

 

 

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At the end of the 1970-1971 season the team donated its excess funds to a local charity.  Mike Kaleina presents the check.  Bob Farrell is in the front left, Andy Gustafsen front middle and Lenny Hohenfeld far right. The “C” is being worn by Terry Hemlock.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A shot of the team at a practice from an Article published on Thursday, February 18, 1971 in the Greensburg Catholic Accent. The shot represents some of the core players from the early years that SVC had a team.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Below is a reproduction of the lead page from the article:

 

 

 

 


 

 

 



Welcome to the Polar Bearcats Game Highlights

This section is dedicated to the great goals, saves and hits that your Polar Bearcats have made all season.  Enjoy the game by game video highlights by the Polar Bearcats.  Follow along all season and be sure to sign up for our YouTube channel at http://www.youtube.com/ThePolarcats.

After each week we will update the video and the newest will appear at the top of list and all videos are in HD.  To view them in HD, just click on the settings at the bottom of the video and select 720p.

Videos from the 2011- 2012 Season - NEW

 St. Vincent vs University vs Robert Morris University

 St. Vincent vs University vs WVU

 

St. Vincent vs University vs Shippensburg

 

 St. Vincent vs University vs Penn State Behrend 

 St. Vincent vs University vs Fredonia State

 St. Vincent vs University vs Penn State Altoona

 St. Vincent vs University vs Robert Morris University

 

 St. Vincent vs University vs University of Pittsburgh Johnstown

 


Past Seasons

Videos from the 2010 - 2011 Season 

St. Vincent vs University of Pittsburgh Greensburg

St. Vincent vs Neumann University

St. Vincent vs Robert Morris University

St Vincent vs Penn State Altoona

St. Vincent vs University of Pittsburgh Johnstown

The Polar Bearcats Drop an Overitme Shootout game to WVU 5-4

The Polar Bearcats are Victorious over Penn State Behrend 3-2

The Polar Bearcats lose to University of Pittsburgh Johnstown 7-3

The Polar Bearcats knock off West Virginia University 9-6

The Polar Bearcats lose a tough game to Fredonia 8-6

The Polar Bearcats are knocked off my Neumann 7-2

The Polar Bearcats defeat East Stroudsburg 9-6

St Vincent Polar Bearcats Drop Game to California University 12-1

Saint Vincent Polar Bearcats Lose to Fredonia State 6-1

Saint Vincent Polar Bearcats Defeat East Stroudsburg 6-5 in OT Shootout

Saint Vincent Polar Bearcats Lose to Robert Morris University 6-2

Saint Vincent Polar Bearcats Knock off Loyola in Overtime Shoot Out 5-4

 Saint Vincent Polar Bearcats Lose Opener in Altoona to Penn State


Saint Vincent Polar Bearcat Pre Season Video

 Videos from the 2009 - 2010 Season