Shaler hockey trying to find right formula for stretch run

Thursday, December 26, 2019 | 5:31 PM

Playoff prospects for the Shaler Area hockey team are bleak but still a possibility. Finding a way to join the PIHL Class AA postseason will rely on figuring out a difficult problem.

Coach Steve Stayduhar said he believes Titans have hung tough for two periods for most of their games. Closing out contests in the third has been a difficult task.

“I don’t know if I can figure out what exactly causes that,” Stayduhar said. “It’s not conditioning. I think a lot of it is when we get into the third period against these teams, we see a lot of their first and second lines. We’re going to get challenged at that point. Things haven’t gone our way at that point.”

Shaler (1-10, 0-3) lost three straight to close the first half of the season. When the Titans played in their holiday tournament over Christmas, they were focused on trying to find different combinations.

Shaler, which has been outscored 53-25 this season, was determined to try to find more punch on offense. Doing so required some of their players to take on different roles.

David Cerra has been working more as a forward, and Stayduhar is hoping his presence will allow the Titans to score more goals.

William Junker leads the team with six goals. Joey Laquatra has four goals, and Luke Beran, Justin Newton and Dylan Sarnowski have three each.

“We’re going to play some guys at different positions,” Stayduhar said. “We did that before the South Fayette game and got a win out of it. That was a tight game going into the third, and we outscored them in the third.”

Shaler will have some work to do in order to make the playoffs out of the Northeast Division. Plum leads the conference with 12 points, and Armstrong has 10 and Hampton has four. The Titans will need to find a way to climb into the top two to make the playoffs.

“We’re very lucky to be in the division we are,” Stayduhar said. “We still have a chance to make the playoffs.”


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