Shaler hockey coach preaches calculated risk taking

Sunday, October 24, 2021 | 11:01 AM

Cory Sakolsky isn’t concerned that the Shaler Area hockey team won’t listen to his instructions. The second-year Titans coach is worried they may listen a little too well.

During Shaler’s 0-2 start — with losses to Armstrong and Latrobe — there has been a major focus on learning the structure and system the Titans want to play with.

Sakolsky thinks for Shaler to start winning games, players are going to need to take risks.

It’s important his players understand this is part of the learning process.

“It’s more about risk and understanding, I’m not going to yell at you,” Sakolsky said. “This isn’t the NHL. This isn’t their full-time job. You have to take risks in life and be OK with the outcome. I want them to stay in structure, but I also want them to make decisions for themselves and do what is best for the team.”

Luca Wallander scored the Titans’ first goal of the year in Shaler’s 8-1 loss to Armstrong Oct. 14 at the Alpha Ice Complex.

While the first period ended tied at 1 and the shots on goal were relatively even — Armstrong held a 10-7 edge — the Titans couldn’t find their footing again.

The River Hawks would finish with a 43-18 edge in shots on goal.

Shaler typically likes to keep a 30/20 shots taken-allowed ratio during games.

“We got the first goal, but we gave up the next one and it put us on our heels,” Sakolsky said.

“We need to understand that we are good enough to hang in a game, but you have to deal with adversity.”

The Titans made some changes in the offseason as well to help out the goaltending. Ryan Bragg has started both games in net for Shaler and works with a private goaltending coach.

Shaler also brought in a goalie coach this season, with former Butler standout Logan Rothbauer stepping into the role.

The Titans are hoping more time to grow together will benefit Shaler, which finished 5-12 and missed the PIHL Penguins Cup playoffs last season.

“We are working on embracing our identity,” Sakolsky said.

“More or less, we are going to win based on how hard we’re working and how disciplined we are playing in our system. We aren’t going to get respect from anyone. As long as we continue to develop we will be a team other teams are frustrated to play against.”


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