There’s something keeping hockey coaches across Delaware County up at night—or better yet, someone.
Matt Menta, the senior captain of the Penncrest High School ice hockey team, is a nightmare waiting to happen for any opposing coach of the four-year varsity starter. Playing at center, the two-time All-Delco star has obtained the reputation as one of the best players, if not the best, in the county.
However, one coach doesn’t mind seeing number 89 on the ice. Currently in his 21st season at the helm of the Penncrest varsity team, coach Steve Mescanti has nothing but great things to say regarding his star player.
"Matt is without a doubt one of the most talented players I’ve ever coached," Mescanti said. "The special thing about Matt is that he makes the players around him better, too."
This season, Mescanti has guided the team to an 8-8-4 record and they have plenty of potential, according to the coach. He’s aiming at a first-round bye in the playoffs and a good seed in the Flyers Cup.
"The opportunity is there, and the team has a hunger in them from last year’s Cup run," Mescanti remarked.
Even though he missed seven games for the Lions this season, the electrifying Menta leads his team in goals, assists, and total points.
When he’s not there, Menta said, "the whole team, different guys every night, step up and get the job done."
His coach agreed with those sentiments, and noted, "the burden falls on our senior defenders."
Led by Senior Evan Del Casale, the seasoned defensive crew keeps the games low scoring for Penncrest; in addition, the team has the very convenient dilemma of two talented goalies in Daniel Ardekani and Garrett Johnston, both seniors.
The squad is also boosted by the play of Junior Forward Brendan Howanski, who is second on the team with 11 goals and 10 assists behind Menta’s 13 and 12.
Now in his final year on the team, Menta anxiously awaits one last run at the Flyers Cup title. He believes that between the team’s talent and experience, they have a shot at every team’s ultimate goal of a championship.
One thing that will aid Menta in a post-season run is the elite competition he faces while playing for his Jr. Flyers club team.
With such great talent, all eyes and tremendous expectations fall on Menta to play at high level each game. Nevertheless, he tries not to focus on the pressure.
"I don’t worry about how I do or how much I score. I just want to help the team win," Menta said.
After high school, Menta hopes to continue his hockey career with a scholarship at a Division 1 school. For now though, he’s just worried about helping the Penncrest ice hockey team make the most out of their season as they approach the playoffs—and he’ll certainly trouble a few opposing team's coaches along the way.