Defending PIHL champion Pine-Richland makes jump in classification
Friday, October 11, 2019 | 5:28 PM
The Pine-Richland hockey team enjoyed a year that was as close to a storybook season as a team could have.
The team’s 2018-19 campaign included a PIHL Class AA Penguins Cup championship, a Pennsylvania Cup state championship in the same division and an appearance in the USA Hockey High School National Tournament.
So how can coach Jordan Yoklic and his Rams (0-0-0-1) up the ante on those accomplishments in his second year leading the program? By attempting to do it all over again in the PIHL’s highest classification, Class AAA.
“Last year’s team did all they could do. Now, we have a hungry, young group of guys that are excited to compete at triple-A and prove what they can do,” Yoklic said.
“Overall, collectively, the goal is to win another state championship. And it’d be extra special to do it again at the triple-A level this time. So, we’re just looking to be hungry this year, to compete and do whatever it takes to get some W’s.”
The Rams certainly have their work cut out for themselves as they seek to maintain their high level of success despite graduating more than a dozen players.
Still, Pine-Richland features a small but strong core of returning players who will look to provide leadership for the newcomers.
Defenseman Joseph Folmer is filling the role of team captain, with forward Jack Carnovale and defenseman Jack Tyndall serving as assistant captains. The Rams also return an experienced goal scorer in Richard Wild, who is expected to provide leadership to the team as a senior, according to his coach.
Another returning player of note is goaltender Danny Stauffer, who was named a PIHL all-star after helping the team to an 18-0-1 regular-season record. Stauffer also turned away all 24 shots he faced against Downingtown East to notch a shutout in the state championship game.
“We’re fortunate to have him back in net; he’s a key piece and was a big part of the success we had last year. From a leadership standpoint, we have three great captains and we have a couple of other seniors that could very well be captains given what they provide us,” Yoklic said.
“I think we have the pieces. We’re still trying to play around with lines to see what fits best from a personnel standpoint but, overall, it’s coming together. At the end of the day, I think if we put the time and the effort in, we’ll see the results. But we understand the mountain we have to climb and who’s in front of us between now and March. It’s a 19-game schedule and we’re just going to take it one day at a time.”