US Hockey Preview

George Brinn, Staff Wrtier

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As fall begins to wrap up it comes time to travel down to the Cleveland Heights Recreation Center, lace up the boots, and hit the ice. With the majority of athletes in the program practicing year round while playing with their pre-post hockey teams, this year’s team shows loads of potential. With last year’s team making it to the state semi-finals, losing to the eventual state champions 4-3 in a double overtime matchup, this year’s team has big shoes to fill.

On the offensive end, the team loses last year’s senior captains JD Clemons and Tommy Nook. Both athletes were all region and state renowned players and recorded mass amounts of goals and assists, totaling a combined 133 points last season. With the numbers these two produced, it is evident the team has a large hole to fill. Luckily with the return of Ethan Whetstone, this year’s senior captain, totaling 19 goals and 35 assists in last season, we are in good hands. With other talented forwards on this year’s roster, Whetstone will have loads of help. These notable forwards include junior stars Henry Saada and Jack Henry Muha, who both played key roles on the second line and power play, contributing a combined 43 points last season. Also, with the addition of a fellow collogue from down the road, senior Andre Berglund, opposing teams now have a fourth offensive threat to look out for. Look for these four stars, among others, to make game changing plays this season.

Additionally, with the loss of last year’s star goalie, Jackson Polish, we look to junior Critter Coughlin to protect the pipes this year. However, because of Polish’s phenomenal season being recognized as News-Herald player of the year, GLHL goalie of the year, MVP of the team, along with breaking a state record (stopping 52 shots in the state semi-final loss against Cleveland St. Ignatius), young Critter Coughlin sure has big shoes to fill. Despite this daunting task for Critter, the team has complete faith in his ability. Critter made the varsity team as a freshman where he played along side all-star goalie Alec Silver. With Critter’s non-stop work ethic in the offseason and the mentoring of two of University School’s best goalies, Critter is clearly the man for the job.

In spite of the changes needed for this year’s offense and goaltending, the team is returning nearly all its defensemen from last year. This includes senior captain Reid Anderson, senior Trip Gorman, senior Adam Alt, and junior George Brinn. Adding to this superb defensive lineup, junior Leo Frontini has decided to cut his ties with the nationally ranked AAA Cleveland Barons and play for his school. Leo is one of the better athletes in the junior class, but likely one of the best hockey players and strongest defenders this school has ever seen. However, don’t let his relatively small size fool you. Leo’s exceptional speed allow him to constantly deliver board shaking body checks, leaving his opponents shaken, confused, and aching in pain. The expectations for Leo are high, and junior Jack Henry Muha put it best: “We [the team] will be looking for Leo to hit hard, protect our boys, and entertain our fans and classmates.” Look for Leo to fulfill the team and Muha’s expectations and then some.

With talented young players filling the roles of last year’s senior class, there is now only one flaw in this year’s team: the lack of manager. With the departure of the only four-year lettermen in last year’s senior class, manager Tommy Neff, the team is uncertain of the future of this role. Overall, despite Neff’s absence, this year’s 2017-2018 hockey team shows endless amounts of potential and looks to make another successful run in the post season.

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