Latrobe trio again leads team deep into PIHL Penguins Cup playoffs
TribLIVE Sports Videos
It only seems as if the trio of Shane Brudnok, Josh Singley and Rob Vasinko has been starring for the Latrobe hockey team forever.
Then again, they have played in Mellon Arena — and the site of their greatest triumphs representing the Wildcats has long since been demolished, cleared and turned into a parking lot.
The final remaining links to Latrobe's run of three consecutive Class AA state championships, the high school careers of Brudnok, Singley and Vasinko end this month.
Latrobe played a PIHL Class AA Penguins Cup semifinal Tuesday; the championship is next Wednesday at Consol Energy Center and the state title game three days later in Aston, Pa.
“We've been on the team together for four years now,” Singley said. “Ever since I moved out here in eighth grade, Shane and Rob have been real good friends of mine and always included me in other stuff outside of hockey. They're good buddies.”
A group of buddies who have been the heart of the Latrobe hockey for the past four seasons.
Singley, a forward, was the Wildcats' leading scorer during the past two seasons, their second-leading scorer as a sophomore and had 10 points in four playoff games as a freshman state champion.
Brudnok, a goalie, has played in 82 of Latrobe's 91 PIHL games since joining the team as a freshman, posting 18 regular-season shutouts in that time.
Vasinko, a defenseman, has missed only five regular-season games for Latrobe over the past four years. He's a reliable presence and two-time all-star.
“Put together,” said Vasinko, “the three of us have done some pretty good things.”
In addition to being teammates for Latrobe, Vasinko, Singley and Brudnok also have played together for the Westmoreland Eagles. They helped the U18 Midget AA Eagles reach the semifinals of the state tournament this past weekend.
Singley has been Latrobe's captain as a senior with Vasinko as the alternate captain. Surely, Brudnok would hold a formal leadership role, too, if goalie's were traditionally allowed to have letters stitched on their jerseys.
“Josh is such a good leader, definitely the more serious one on our team,” Brudnok said. “I'm more of a jokester — Josh and Rob, they keep our team ready and prepared for the game. I'm just the guy who keeps them loose and calm and laughing.”
Brudnok's intangible contributions might involve brevity — but his production on it is serious. He went 15-3 with a 1.73 goals-against average and .919 save percentage with three shutouts this regular season.
“Without Shane,” said Singley, “we wouldn't make it as far as we have. We owe it all to him.”
Singley calls Brudnok “the heart and soul” of the Wildcats. He calls Vasinko “the backbone.”
“For four years, he's always been solid for us,” Singley said of Vasinko. “You always can count on him to be consistent and make the right play every time for our team.”
Singley closed out his high school career averaging almost exactly two points per game during the regular season — 62 goals and 103 assists for 165 points in 83 games. He is leaning toward attending Penn State next year to major in engineering and play for the school's club hockey program.
“The way he understands that when the big plays need to be made, he's making them,” said John Winebrenner, who coaches both the Latrobe high school team and the Westmoreland Eagles. “He's a motivation for the team.”
Just like his good buddies Vasinko and Brudnok have been for so long now.
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.