Shaler hockey beginning to emerge
Like many hockey teams, the Shaler Titans must battle the schedule as much as their opponents. With several players splitting time between the Titans and amateur teams, coach Curt Hetz has only had his full complement of players for a handful of games.
In a recent contest against Norwin, Hetz had everybody available. Although his bench was full and the Knights' was a little sparse, he did not go into the game with a false sense of security.
“They had that same bench last time and beat us, 7-4,” Hetz said. “We didn't change our strategy this time, we preached to play the way we do in practice ... stay high in the zone when we ask, and that caused (Norwin) to make mistakes.”
Hetz was right, as the Titans clobbered the Knights, 13-2, despite falling behind, 1-0, early.
The offense started to click, and with four goals in the first period and four more in the second, Hetz said his team was able to take the game away.
“Norwin did not play badly,” Hetz said. “We put our two strongest lines and put them against theirs and kept the puck away from their big guys.”
Braeden Harbison tied the score, 1-1, in the first period, but Norwin took the lead back. Ryan Fischerkeller gave the Titans a lift with his goal that tied the score at 2, but Mike Klena netted the go-ahead goal on a power play.
Luke Grossman blew the game open with three straight goals at the end of the first period and two early in the second.
“We have had a good month of practice, and the chemistry with my linemates led to the goals,” Grossman said. “We showed we can move the puck and have success. This is the first week we had all our guys.”
Klena struck again in the second period, and Matt Bour scored on a slap shot from the blue line. Austin Martz poured in on in the third period with four goals, leaving Norwin searching for answers.
“I got two breaks on them shorthanded,” Martz said. “The first goal I found the right spot. The second was a lucky shot, and the third one I kind of fanned on it and it went in ... kind of lucky, but it still works.
“It's a great system, and we are clicking. Things are just starting to work now. We just have to keep the momentum going.”
Mason Werry added a score as the Titans pushed their record to above .500.
“These were two big points. Now we just have to stay focused and carry this momentum,” Grossman said.
Hetz said this game was huge not just from a scoring output perspective but because the players saw the potential of this team.
“It's huge, now they understand ... one of my coaches called it an epiphany,” Hetz said.
Jerry Clark is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-779-6979 or firstname.lastname@example.org.