Trib HSSN’s PIHL Player of the Week: Burrell’s Dylan Zelonka
By: Kyle Dawson
Sunday, January 6, 2019 | 10:39 PM
Five of the top 12 point scorers in the PIHL’s Division II classification play on one team, the division’s best team.
Burrell is one of the three unbeaten teams in the PIHL, at 13-0, as a result of Thursday’s 7-6 win over Central Valley.
In that contest, senior Dylan Zelonka, now Division II’s second-leading scorer, had two goals and three assists, including a helper on the game-winning goal for the Bucs.
Zelonka, who attends Apollo-Ridge High School but plays for Burrell in the co-op, is this week’s TribLIVE High School Sports Network PIHL Player of the Week.
“The start wasn’t one of our best, but I think after we started warming up a little we started playing our game and scoring some goals,” Zelonka said. “We were breaking the puck out well out of the zone to allow me to go with speed. Both of my goals were on two on ones.”
Central Valley raced out to a 2-0 lead in the first eight minutes, before Burrell scored the next four goals. Both from Zelonka came in that window, and within 58 seconds of each other in the second period. Zelonka assisted on the fourth goal of that Burrell rally, as well. Central Valley tied the game at four before taking a 5-4 lead late in the second.
The Bucs then responded with three goals to take a 7-5 lead, the first and last of which were assisted by Zelonka, before CV scored to bring the game to its final of 7-6.
“I like to pass the puck a lot more than shoot it,” Zelonka said. “I’m more of a playmaker.”
The game itself wasn’t the best display of Burrell hockey, according to second-year coach Max Rickard.
“To be honest, I thought it was one of our poorer performances of the year,” Rickard said. “We aren’t really used to having to battle back in games this year, so we just needed a better performance, but they picked it up in the third period.”
Zelonka has 17 goals and 24 assists to total 41 points, which is three points behind teammate Tyler Stewart for the Division II lead. Zelonka is 15 points ahead of linemate Jonas Sopko, who has the third highest points total on the team.
A big part of Zelonka’s success, according to Rickard, is a result of his work ethic and skating ability.
“He moves like the wind. He’s very agile, and if he gets moving in a straight line there’s not many that can catch him,” Rickard said. “He shoots the puck hard. He’s a dream player. I think he’s one of the most underrated players in the PIHL.”
Zelonka and the Bucs will take the ice next Jan. 14, when they host Trinity at the Frozen Pond Arena at 7:50 p.m.
PIHL Honorable Mentions (Week Of Dec. 31)
* Bishop McCort’s Nikita Zapolski had six points in a 9-0 win over Greensburg Salem. He had a hat trick, scoring the fourth, sixth and seventh goals of the night, while assisting on the first, second and fifth goals for the Crimson Crushers. Matsvei Kurylovoic had four goals and an assist in the same game, with two of the goals coming late.
* Upper St. Clair forward Anthony Carone scored a goal and had two assists in the Panthers’ 6-2 win over Hampton Thursday. Carone’s goal was shorthanded and was the game winner. Forward Devin Rohrich added two goals for Upper St. Clair.
* Ryan Bowser’s Armstrong team lost 4-3 in a shootout to Mars, but the goaltender stopped 51 of the 54 shots he faced in the defeat.
* In Latrobe’s 5-0 win over Moon, Cole Novak scored two goals, while Gregory Ferri and Jarred Stein both lit the lamp and added an assist. Ferri’s goal was the game winner.
* Morgantown’s Quintin Smith scored two goals and had four helpers in a 7-3 win over McDowell, while Braden Phillips added a hat trick.
* Ringgold’s Noah Schroeder had a hat trick and two assists in the Rams’ 10-1 win over Trinity.
* Carrick goaltender Joseph Forster stopped all but one of the 28 shots he faced in a 4-1 Carrick win over Bishop Canevin.
Kyle Dawson is a freelance writer.