Latrobe to be well represented at PIHL all-star game
The well-heralded Latrobe hockey team has gotten off to another strong start this season and four players, plus the coach, are being rewarded for their role thus far with selection to play in the PIHL Class AA all-star game.
Latrobe, which entered the week 9-1, will be well represented on the PIHL Class AA Northeast Conference All-Star team, which will face a team of Southwest Conference all-stars Feb. 10 at Robert Morris University's Island Sports Center.
The Wildcats will have four players on the squad, including all-star returnees senior forward Josh Singley, senior defenseman Robert Vasinko and senior goaltender Shane Brudnok.
Junior forward Adam Ferguson is a first-time selection, and first-year head coach John Winebrenner will also be making his initial appearance on the bench.
“It was a privilege to be selected and to be looked at by my coaching peers like that. It was a privilege for sure,” Winebrenner said. “The success of the team makes it easy, but we have been putting in a lot of hard work. We are trying to make it back to the Penguins Cup.”
The main reason for the strong start for the Wildcats can be attributed to the stellar play in net. The Wildcats have allowed the least amount of goals in the PIHL due in large part to Brudnok, who has allowed 15 just goals in nine games with a 1.69 goals against average and .907 save percentage.
“I thought it was a great honor. It means you're one of the top elite goalies in the league. It's a special honor,” Brudnok said. “I think we are doing pretty well as a team, and we hope to make another run at the state championship. I'd like to go out on top.”
Singley, the Wildcats' captain, leads the team in both goals (13) and assists (19) and will be making his third trip to the all-star game.
He currently ranks in Class AA's top 10 for scoring, averaging around three points per game.
“Josh is the captain of the team,” Winebrenner said. “He leads by example and he's a great motivator for his teammates. He speaks up when something needs to be done and works well with the coaching staff.”
The Wildcats' defense will be represented by arguably their best defenseman. On the stat sheet, Vasinko, who will make his second trip to the game after being an alternate in 2011, has four goals and three assists and is typically relied on to stop the other team's top forwards.
“It's pretty exciting. It's not something everyone gets to do. The skill level is pretty high, and it's my last year playing hockey since it is my senior year,” Vasinko said. “It's a great experience and good time. We get to meet (and make) new friends.”
Ferguson is second on the team in scoring with 12 goals and 15 assists.
The alternate captain will be looked to next year after Singley and rest of the seniors graduate.
“It's an honor. It will be fun playing with the other guys. They have been there before,” Ferguson said. “(Singley's) been a great influence to me on and off the ice, and he has shown me how to lead the team. I'd like to follow in his footsteps.”
Winebrenner will be the co-head coach with Pine-Richland's Mike Bagnato.
“Mike and I have been good friends since the early 90s. There was a tie so we decided to be co-head coaches,” Winebrenner said. “We feel the Northeast Conference has really good core talent. It should make for a very fast game.”
Andrew John is a freelance writer.