East Xtra: Hot-scoring senior leading Latrobe hockey

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Greater Latrobe senior forward Josh Singley has always been an unselfish hockey player.

"He creates a lot of opportunities for others," Wildcats coach John Winebrenner said.

But this season, he has looked for his shot more often. It has led to Singley leading the PIHL Class AA in points early in the season and has helped the Wildcats, a perennial league power, to a 4-1 start this season.

"I've always been a pass-first player," Singley said. "This year I'm shooting more and I've been finding the net."

Singley, the team's captain, has eight goals and eight assists this season, including a five-goal, three-assist game against Franklin Regional. His 16 points are two more than the next closest player in Class AA, Moon's Trevor Handlovitch.

This after Singley led all players with 18 points at the St. Margaret's Foundation Fall Faceoff preseason tournament.

Latrobe is hardly a one-man show, however. The Wildcats have had 12 players score at least one goal this season and five players who have at least eight points.

One of those players is Adam Ferguson, an assistant captain as a junior. He is second on the team with 12 points (five goals, seven assists). The 12 points are good for fifth in Class AA. He has scored a goal in every one of Latrobe's games this season.

"Adam will be one we will look to in the future for leadership," Winebrenner said. "Adam has worked very hard to get into the fifth-place position in points by working hard every shift."

Winebrenner also said both are very good two-way players, which has helped the team allow only 11 goals in five games.

"We preach defense first," Singley said.

It helps that the Wildcats have an experienced goaltender in Shane Brudnok.

Brudnok has stopped 82-of-93 shots and sports a 2.20 goals-against average this season. During the 2011-12 season, Brudnok went 13-9-1 with a 2.29 goals-against average and .887 save percentage. He tied for second in Class AA with six shutouts last season.

"Shane is a great goaltender," Singley said. "He finds a way to keep us in every game."

And just as the Wildcats forwards help out with the team's defense, Brudnok often helps start Latrobe's offense with his stick-handling skills.

"Shane possesses excellent puck-handling ability and he provides quick puck movement on breakouts," Winebrennner said. "It is like having six players on the ice."

Brudnok, Singley and Ferguson will all be key pieces if the team wants to reach its expectations.

"We want to win a state championship," Singley said. "But first we have to try to win every shift of every period. We can't take any team lightly."

Latrobe's next game is Monday against Gateway.

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