Norwin hockey looks to get back to its aggressive game
Norwin’s hockey team achieved its first goal: qualifying for the PIHL Class A Penguins Cup playoffs.
The Knights hope to check off more accomplishments on their list.
“Any team that makes the playoffs has a shot of getting to the championship. That’s the mentality you have to have,” Norwin junior forward Mason Pivarnik said. “We want to go in there, keep our heads up, work as a team and do the best we can.”
Reaching the postseason seemed like a sure thing for Norwin. The team won six of its first seven games. However, the Knights dropped their next five. The team rebounded a bit to go 2-2 in its next four games for an 8-8 mark with two games left in the regular season.
“I am happy with making the playoffs. I kind of wish we had a couple other wins under our belt that we should have had that we kind of let slip away,” coach Dennis Tokarski said. “But, being in the playoffs is all that matters. It’s a new season, and we can go from there. Our objective right now to win our remaining games to improve our positioning for the playoffs and then get ready for that and see where we can do. ”
The Knights want to get back to the aggressive offensive style that fueled their strong start.
“In some of the games, we still get caught up in the other team’s game, and we don’t shoot as much. Our plan is to shoot every opportunity we get,” Tokarski said. “A lot of times, we try to make that perfect play instead of shooting the puck. We’re stressing shooting and going to the net. When we do that, our results are pretty good. It’s a matter of getting everybody on the same page and getting all the players to do that.
“Early in the season, that was our game, and we got away from it. We started doing some different things, and we stopped shooting and going to the net. We kind of went into a defensive shell, and that’s not our game. We have to be aggressive and use our speed and try to jump on other teams. Even if we’re down a goal, we have to keep playing our game and force other teams to play our game.”
The Knights’ 91 goals rank near the top of the Eastern Division, and they have balance throughout their lineup. Jacob Daily and Pivarnik led the team with 24 points, and forward Aidan Rosko had 22. He had been sidelined with a concussion but is expected to be back for playoffs. Logan Connelly, Nick Diak, Luke Russman, Dan Good, Josh Hoffman, Logan Marsalko, Sal Cerilli, Dom Barca and Anthony Cavallaro are the other top forwards. Nick Pingree, Devin Barrett, Nathan Feczko, Keeghan Murray, Jacob Meier and Nathan Good have contributed on defense, and Eric Miscampbell and Dan Soltysiak have shared a majority of time in goal.
“From the beginning of the season to now, we’ve made so much progress,” Pivarnik said. “We made a lot of progress last year, and we’re making even more now.”
The Knights look forward to starting fresh for the playoffs and playing a complete game.
“This is my first playoffs in four years of varsity. It’s a great feeling to finally have it pay off for my senior year. We’ll try to go out with a bang,” Pingree said. “Even though we had a little losing streak, I think we’ve turned it around for the better.I believe in my team. I think we can bet anyone in our division.”
Joe Sager is a freelance writer.