Dangerous top line leads Norwin hockey to best season in years

Friday, February 21, 2020 | 6:02 PM

The Norwin hockey team made a statement this season.

They weren’t the same old Knights.

Norwin is preparing for as return to the PIHL Class A playoffs after starting the season 14-4. That is the most wins for the program in a decade.

“It’s been great,” coach Adam Tokarski said. “It’s different from past seasons. A lot of players stepped up to prove Norwin hockey isn’t anything to scoff at anymore.”

The Knights’ success starts with their offense. Norwin has scored the second-most goals (111) in Class A. And the production starts with its first line.

Seniors Jacob Dally, Mason Pivarnik and Logan Connelly have had prolific seasons. Dally and Pivarnik both have 44 points. Connelly has 40.

“Those players dictate the game,” Tokarski said. “If they have a great game, chances are we’re going to win. They all provide leadership. They are all vocal, and they want to win.”

But Norwin isn’t a one-trick pony. The team has quality depth scoring, something that should be a benefit in the postseason. Senior Logan Marsalko continues to improve and has 13 goals and five assists.

Tokarski says Aidan Rosko has brought an “explosive energy” to the ice. Rosko has six goals.

“He battles for the puck on the boards,” Tokarski said. “He can explode faster up the ice than anyone. He’s got a phenomenal shot.”

As good as they’ve been on offense, the Knights are still looking to improve the power play. The team’s power-play percentage is only 18.6 this season.

“We score a lot of our goals on the rush,” Tokarski said. “We tend to overthink when we’re on the power play. We’ve had some practices where the focus has been on the power play.”

While an offensively sound unit, Norwin has been solid on defense as well. The Knights have surrendered just 24 goals this season — the seventh-best total in Class A.

“I think one of our biggest strengths is our backcheck and limiting shots on goal,” Tokarski said. “The players understand that having a good offense starts with playing good defense. They get back to the defensive zone and get the puck out as quickly as possible.”

Goalie Sam Coll has been solid, making 297 saves for a save percentage of .853. Jacob Meier is a spark for the team.

The sophomore defenseman has six goals and 12 assists.

“He has stepped up a lot since last year,” Tokarski said. “He wants the puck more than anyone else on the ice. He has gone from end to end and scored a couple times this season.”

With the Penguins Cup playoffs coming up, Norwin has gotten a sneak peak thanks to a tough late-season schedule. The went 0-3 in showdowns with playoff-bound Thomas Jefferson, North Catholic and Bishop McCort.

“Unfortunately, we’ve been dealing with some injuries and sickness,” Tokarski said. “But I think all the players are going to be up and ready for action when the playoffs start.”


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