US Hockey Season Update


Photo taken by Daniel Zbarzh (’24)

Oliver Thomas, Staff Writer

After a hectic and covid infused 2020-2021 season, the Preppers are making a statement so far this season. After a tough loss against Walsh Jesuit in last year’s playoffs, it is clear that the Preppers have come back motivated and energetic in the hope of a State title. The Preppers, an experienced group of men, have led the team to a 9-8-1 record. The record itself might not jump off the sheet, but the Preppers have faced some of the best competition around, facing numerous out-of-state opponents. US has been able to compete with the best, as even in tough losses to schools like Gilmore and Findlay, the Preppers have kept in within 1 goal. In in-state competition, the Preppers have been fantastic, showing that they are a contender for the state title, as they took care of business by a score of 4-0 against defending state champions, St. Frances de Sales. These two ended up facing off again about a week later in a game that didn’t finish the way US may have wanted, but through these games, it is clear that when playing at their best, the Preppers are second to none. 


The goal-scoring ability shown in that game has been apparent all year, as captains and leading scorers Colin Counahan and Mark Berglund have both scored 9 goals so far this year. The goal scoring ability of the Preppers has been shown by young and promising underclassmen as well. Sophomores Luke Palmer and Anthony Messina have both found the back of the net 3 times this year. The sophomore talent goes beyond goal scoring, as the assist leader, Sam Wade has been fantastic in his second year with the Preppers. Fellow left-wing, Sammy Martin is second in assists with 9, as both have made left-wing a strength in the Preppers roster. This group of sophomores assures that the Preppers will be in good hands after graduating this year’s talented senior class. 

Goal scoring for the Preppers is a strength that hopefully can continue as the Preppers aim to make a deep run in this year’s playoff. The Preppers take on the team who knocked them out of the playoffs last year, Walsh Jesuit, on January 30th, in a game in which the Preppers will look for revenge on their senior night. Goalie-wise, Evan Crawford, has been in net most games for the Preppers. Crawford has been fantastic with a .933% save rate, which is 3rd highest in the conference. The Junior class has played a big role as well, as assistant captain Kellen McGarry alongside defensemen Will Genovesse have been a key piece in this year’s success. 

The Preppers have plenty of more challenging opponents for the rest of the regular season, facing defending state runner up St Edward twice, in two games that will be key to show how the Preppers can compete with one of the favorites to win the state title this year. The Preppers haven’t defeated St. Edward since 2018, however with the large amount of talent on this year’s team, the Preppers have proven that if playing at their best, they can end the streak. US will have a 3rd match with the Gilmore Lancers, in a game that will decide the 1-1 split that these two teams have. Both teams being very skilled, the rivalry has not disappointed. In the first meeting, Colin Counahan sealed the deal in overtime to knock off the Lancers 2-1 in an electric opener to the rivalry. The second meeting didn’t end how the Preppers may have wanted, but the Preppers still have another chance and plenty of time to prepare for what will be a highly anticipated home game for the Preppers. In two weeks the Preppers will be heading to Shaker Heights, to face the team who the Preppers started the year playing, as the US came out victorious 4-1 in the season opener. 

This year, the Preppers greatest opponent or challenge isn’t any team or game like it has been in the past- it’s covid. In the last two seasons the Preppers have dealt with numerous quarantines and game delays, and many other bumps in the road. Last year especially, covid made things as simple as ice time an obstacle.  Losing players for short periods is a challenge for everyone, and especially for US. Having to play games missing key players is never easy, and it is important that the Preppers can keep their full roster healthy at all times this year, especially the playoffs.

The Preppers will have high expectations to finish the year strong and make a statement in the playoffs, and it is evident that a close knit group of guys who have competed with the best are prepared and able to win the first school state championship since 2009.