Shaler hockey team skates its way back to .500
For two periods, Curt Hetz's Titans played the kind of hockey he preaches and with which he has won a championship.
Playing unselfish synchronized hockey and keeping the mistakes to a minimum earned the Titans the Penguins Cup in 2009.
Entering the game against Mt. Lebanon, the Titans were 5-6-2, and a win would go a long way toward their goal to get back into the playoff chase with a 5-2 win.
Shaler built a 4-0 lead before the third period, and on senior night, the upperclassmen shined.
Senior Cam Stott got things going early with an unassisted goal, and fellow senior Mike Klena pushed the score to 2-0 with a goal off an assist from Austin Martz and Alex Ficorilli.
Damen Hays netted a short-handed goal, a score that turned out to be the winner.
“It was nice that all the goals were scored by seniors,” Klena said. “We buried them, but they came back. We never lost control, but we do need to work on our breakout.”
Stott scored on a power play in the second period off a feed from Braedon Harbison and Ryan Fischerkeller.
The Blue Devils got a pair of goals in the third period, and although the score offered some hope, Klena's second score on an empty net took sealed the Titans' sixth win.
“We had a flow going, and I was playing four lines the entire time,” Hetz said. “We looked tired in the third period, and we took some penalties.”
Hetz began the season with two solid lines and worked it so he could use three by integrating the veteran players with the up-and-coming players.
“I have two freshmen on my line, and we have great chemistry,” Klena said.
Stott said he got some speed in the zone and found the goalie's five-hole wide open for the first goal.
He credited his teammates for his second score.
“The second goal came off a great pass from Ryan,” Stott said. “We have worked hard to get the offense going, and we just need to stay focused.”
Focus is the key, as the Titans took four early penalties in the third period, which is a big reason a game that was in the process of being a blowout briefly became competitive.
“That stuff happens with the penalty trouble,” Hetz said.
The coach lauded goalie Vince Evans, who stopped 16 shots to help Shaler earn the victory.
“Vince has been playing better and is very strong,” Hetz said. “He was screened on the first goal, and the other came on the tail-end of a penalty. We broke down but were able to get our flow back.”
Hetz hopes the flow continues as the Titans host North Allegheny at 7:30 p.m. on Monday.
Shaler then will head to State College on Feb. 14, for a game at 6:45 p.m. and then north for a showdown with Seneca Valley at 6:30 p.m. on Feb. 19.
Jerry Clark is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-779-6979 or firstname.lastname@example.org.