Shaler hockey focuses on improving decisions
Before the Shaler hockey team played Latrobe on Oct. 23, first-year Titans coach Steve Stayduhar mapped out every goal scored against them in the first three games.
A pattern began to emerge. When Shaler gave up goals, it was because of bad decision-making, which contributed to an 0-3 start.
Despite being outshot 38-25 by the Wildcats, the Titans (1-3) picked up their first PIHL Class AA win. Shaler, which played Hempfield on Monday in a game that ended too late for this edition, still is figuring out things.
“Every single one, you can attribute it to one or two different guys not doing what they were supposed to do,” Stayduhar said. “The good news is, when we correct that we're in business because we aren't giving up many scoring chances. We're making two or three mistakes a game, and they end up in the back of the net.”
Two of Shaler's losses came despite the Titans getting more shots on goal. Upper St. Clair and Penn-Trafford were outshot by Shaler, 47-39 and 29-17, respectively.
“We outshot our opponents pretty good the first three games. We couldn't get a break,” Stayduhar said. “The one we got outshot, we scored more goals.”
Against Latrobe, the Titans broke through for a season-high five goals, including three in the first period. Mitchel Fuchs, Michell Werry, Cameron Wycich and Blake Kucharski (two) scored for Shaler.
It's the start of what Stayduhar hopes will be a potent offense. In the previous three games, Shaler had been shut out once by Baldwin and scored three apiece in the other two games.
“Keep working on getting quality shots,” Stayduhar said. “We don't have a scoring chance this year off the goalie's pads, getting him down and getting a rebound.”
Playing with Wycich and Zach Sarnowski has helped put Fuchs in good position. Fuchs, who finished with 32 points (18 goals and 14 assists), leads the Titans with five points (four, one) this season.
“He's one of our best skill players on the team,” Stayduhar said. “He's on a line with Sarnowski and Wycich. They move the puck well.”
Continuing to shore up the defense will be key if the Titans want to make a run at another playoff bid.
Stayduhar feels Shaler goaltender Wyatt Wolf, who is 1-3 with a 4.25 goals-against average, is off to a strong start.
He would like to be able to focus solely on goals the Titans score.
Rather than the ones that end up in their own net.
Josh Rizzo is a freelance writer.