Senior leadership, sophomore talent helps Norwin reach Pennsylvania Cup final

Thursday, March 24, 2022 | 11:53 AM

While the roster lists them by their sweater number and class, Norwin hockey players say they identify as one.

In other words, in their minds there are no sophomores or seniors, freshmen or juniors. Just a bunch of talented players on the same team with the same goals.

Big, realistic goals.

Like doubling down on their first Penguins Cup title with a state championship Saturday when the Knights (16-4-2) take on defending champion West Chester East (17-0) at 11 a.m. in West Chester in the Pennsylvania Cup Class A final.

“We’ve all been friends for years, and it has worked out perfect,” senior forward Logan Fear said of his younger teammates. “We have played together for so long. Through middle school, we all kept in touch.”

In particular, the meshing of sophomores and seniors has pushed Norwin over the top. Norwin has nine seniors, and most of them play significant roles.

Fear, Anthony Cavallaro, Jake Meier, Will Dillner and Ty Shigo are among them.

But six sophomores, including leading goal scorer Alex Thomas, Mario Cavallaro and goaltender Owen Burmeister, have blended into a championship roster with nary a flinch.

These aren’t whipper-snappers looking to steal the thunder from the upperclassmen; they’re dependable teammates with big-game smarts and playmaking ability.

They also have mutual respect for the seniors and the first-liners.

“There’s no question, the seniors are leading this team,” Norwin coach Mike Robinson said. “We have saying. On bad teams, no one leads. On good teams, coaches lead. On great teams, players lead. Our guys don’t hide behind that.”

Thomas has four goals and three assists in the postseason. Mario Cavallaro has four goals and one helper.

“We’ve watched our guys jell,” Robinson said. “From top to bottom. Our top line, with the seniors, and a freshman, and the sophomores, they have all come together.”

Robinson said the spotlight of the PIHL playoffs has not been too bright for his sophomores, thanks to the guidance of the seniors.

That means no game is bigger than another, at least from a mental approach.

“They were all business from the time we got here, through the game,” Robinson said. “The mood as light. They were all formal.”

Thomas was thrilled to take the postgame skate Monday, hoisting the cup with his teammates cheering him.

“We all bond well together. There are no problems,” Thomas said. “We’re one big family.”

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at or via Twitter .


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