Latrobe hockey team keeps rolling
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Don't bother trying to match up against the Latrobe hockey team — line after line, talented player after talented player, the Wildcats keep rolling at you seemingly in waves.
“We don't have to worry about matchups,” Wildcats captain Josh Singley said. “We have enough guys, we just roll our bench — and it works.”
It's worked so well that the deep Wildcats are in first place at 6-1 and are on the short list of teams to beat in PIHL Class AA this season.
Latrobe has outscored opponents, 53-12, has five players averaging at least two points and boasts four more skaters averaging at least one goal. Thirteen players have at least one goal (10 have two or more), and all but two players on the roster have a point.
“A big plus for us is we're getting production from all of our players,” coach John Winebrenner said. “You look around league, most teams have four or five guys who put up points. We have 10 or 12 guys putting points on the board consistently, which makes a big difference.”
Latrobe was almost too deep for its own good to begin the season. With so many players qualified for duty on the first line, discovering the proper combinations took some thought and experimentation.
It wasn't until after the Wildcats' only loss — Nov. 19 to Chartiers Valley — that Winebrenner and his staff shook things up and ultimately settled on the lines they employ now.
“We made some changes in the lineup, and it's made a big difference both in offensive production and on the defensive side of the puck,” Winebrenner said.
No player has been more productive offensively than Singley, a senior who leads Latrobe in goals (11) and assists (13).
Forward Adam Ferguson and defenseman Rob Vasinko serve as alternate captains, and Shane Brudnok is another of Latrobe's senior leaders. Brudnok and Singley are the final key components left from Latrobe's most recent of three consecutive state championships from 2008-10.
A four-year starter at goalie, Brudnok has a 1.73 goals-against average and a .905 save percentage.
“He's the backbone of our team, and he has been since his freshman year,” Singley said. “We rely on him to step up big for us every night — and he always comes through.”
Ferguson ranks second on the team in goals (nine) and assists (nine). Junior Chris Johnson has eight goals and six assists in Latrobe's seven games, and a pair of freshmen — Dalton Hunter and Brendan Johns — each have 12 points in six games to tie for fourth on the team in scoring.
Junior Nate Winebrenner and sophomores Joe Wright and Can Carr also are valuable forwards. Carr has versatility in that his two-way play translates well to the blue line when Latrobe needs an extra defenseman for a shift or game.
Sophomore Dan Staffen and junior Drew Tonks join Vasinko as the heart of the defensemen corps.
Only about a third of the way through its season, Latrobe has an eight-point grip on the Section 3-AA lead.
The Wildcats also already have defeated two of the other section leaders (Pine-Richland and Moon), and Winebrenner has no reservations about proclaiming that his team is aiming to win every game it plays the remainder of the regular season so it can get the No. 1 seed in the Penguins Cup playoffs.
“The ultimate goal for us is what we've said from Day 1 — to bring another state title back to Latrobe,” Vasinko said.
Chris Adamski is a freelance writer.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Steelers clinch playoff berth with win over Chiefs
- Diane Stafford: Consider digital footprint
- Starkey: Chryst a miserable failure at Pitt
- Police investigate alleged institutional sexual assault at Pine youth treatment center
- Energy sector adjusts to global oil plummet
- Groom cited at Farmington wedding reception being filmed for reality TV show
- Fatal fire under investigation in New Castle
- Jeannette company’s miniature steam engines coveted for decades
- Pitt players support Rudolph for job
- Car wash explosion, fire injures 2 in McDonald
- Ghostly snailfish found at record depth