Rosica Keeping the Fires Burning at William Tennent


Hockey has a long history at William Tennent High. The Panthers first joined the Suburban High School Hockey League for the 1975-76 season and won the SHSHL title the next year. An additional title followed in 1979 before Tennent joined the short-lived Northern Scholastic Hockey League for the 1985-86 campaign

Two years later the Panthers won the Class AA state title while skating under the NSHL banner; the following year they claimed the Class AAA Flyers Cup. They rejoined the SHSHL for the 1989-90 season and lost to Council Rock in the championship series before going on to win the league championship in 1992 and the Class AA crown in 2006.

Tennent has endured some lean years of late but first-year head coach Vince Rosica appreciates his players’ enthusiasm. Rosica skated for the Panthers himself; as a senior, he played for long-time head coach Nick D’Aurizio. He served as an assistant coach last year before taking over the program this fall when D’Aurizio retired after 11 seasons behind the bench.

“Nick just wanted somebody to take over the program who obviously was part of the organization,” Rosica said, “had played for him, and I think most importantly really cared.”
This year’s version of the Panthers is dealing with a lack of numbers; the roster includes just 12 skaters and two goaltenders. Even in the SHSHL’s American (Class A Division) that leaves the team shorthanded. Heading into this week, Tennent is winless in seven starts; they’re scheduled to face Quakertown on Wednesday.

From the start, Rosica’s focus has been on improvement and player development.

“I told the kids from the beginning ’Look, we’re not going to be the best team this year, but all I want is for you guys to improve and develop, and work hard,’” he said. “That’s the most important thing. I don’t care if we lose by three goals, if we lose by 10 (as Tennent did, to Abington, in its last pre-holiday start). As long as the guys are working, showing me that they’re listening to me, that they’re giving me the effort, that’s all I can ask for. If that comes along with wins, so be it.

“As long as they know that, that’s our mentality. We come in with a game plan with the numbers we have.”

Rosica says the veterans on the roster have been positive role models.

“At any level it’s important for your older guys to maintain a sense of composure and not go off the rails when you’re losing every game,” he said, “It’s important. 

“I think (defenseman) Gavin Loughlin is a good example. He stays composed. He wants to win but he’ll get a little too eager sometimes and get frustrated by the score but I think he does a very good job.”
Tom Lomas (the Panthers’ veteran goaltender) is very quiet and reserved as it is, so, he’s always calm but I think for the most part our seniors do very well with that. I think they’re starting to understand the position that we’re in with the amount of numbers that we have that it’s going to be a battle and that we’ve all got to stick together, which is the most important thing.”

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