Dalto part of all-star winning team

CORAOPOLIS – Usually, Matt Dalto’s name is all over scoresheet for the Altoona hockey team.

He was shut out Sunday at the PIHL Open Division All-Star Game at the Robert Morris University Island Sports Center, but he didn’t care – he was just happy to be part of the game.

Dalto’s Northeast Conference all-star squad held on for a 4-2 win over the Southwest Conference team.

“It’s just a fun experience,” Dalto said. “Getting the win was good, too. The goalies played a good game. We just played pretty well together. We connected well for not playing together before.”

Indiana’s Camden Lydick gave the Northeast a 1-0 lead through the first. Hempfield’s Avery Lavella made it a 2-0 game 7:13 into the second. Blackhawk’s Robbie Swinderman broke the Southwest’s shutout with a goal 57 seconds later. Greensburg Salem’s Vinnie DeFazio and Wheeling Central’s Michael Tighe traded goals to leave the Northeast with a 3-2 advantage late in the period. Hempfield’s Anthony Ciocca’s goal with 43 seconds left in the second gave the Northeast a 4-2 advantage.

Dalto, a forward, enjoyed skating alongside many of the players he plays against during the regular season.

“It’s a great experience getting to know them and seeing how they play with their teammates rather than against them as opponents,” he said. “They are fun guys in the lockerroom. You hear them joking around, cracking jokes. It was a good day.”

Dalto was happy to be part of the game. Recently, he missed two games for the Mountain Lions with a concussion. He returned to action for Friday’s 4-1 win over Carrick. He had a goal and an assist in that game.

“I was out for a little bit, but I am back now. I feel good,” he said. “Hopefully, we’ll do well in the playoffs.”

Dalto leads Altoona (11-6), which is third in Section 3 with 22 points, in scoring with 34 points and 17 assists. The squad has three games left before the postseason.

“We really need to step it up because we haven’t been playing too well defensively,” he said. “We just have to get back to the way we know we can play.”

A junior, Dalto hopes to play in next year’s all-star game as well.

“I hope so,” he said. “It’s real fun. I can’t wait to get back.”