Canfield hockey seeking success

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Canfield hockey seeking success

Joe Scolieri and Brandon Stratton

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In wake of the near conclusion of the football season and other fall sports, many winter sports at Canfield High School have begun to start up their season. The Canfield hockey team is doing just that. Despite performing well in the regular season last year– posting a respectable 7-3 record – the team failed to make a deep run into the postseason after a heartbreaking loss in the first round in the Baron Cup Playoffs.

With this devastating defeat in mind, the team has returned hungrier than ever. With this mindset comes a handful of high expectations.

“We want to win our season-end district tournament, the Baron Cup, and get to at least the third round of the state tournament. I believe these are absolutely reasonable goals, as we have strong players on the defensive end, depth in our offensive lines, and two remarkably strong goaltenders,” said assistant captain Jonas Epp.

Players on the hockey team believe they have a lot of potential this year, despite losing some key players that played last season from their roster. On the bright side, the team has acquired new talent this year, which can help fill the shoes of those that are gone.

“I believe we are a team that has a lot of potential as we move into the upcoming season. We had no players graduate after last season, but we did lose some skilled players like Algot who moved back to Sweden and Robbie Stanko who seems to be out for the season with a back injury. Most of the people from last year are still on this year’s team, with the addition of a couple freshmen and other newcomers. Overall, I think the team as a whole will step up and fill in the holes” said Epp.

The team has been working hard over the off-season in order to start the season strong. The players have endured nearly two months of on-ice and off-ice conditioning. However, it is still hard to determine how the team will perform in the season as a whole.

“Right now it is hard to say if we are prepared or not. I think practices are going fairly well and the team is getting stronger on the ice together. We just need to get our first few games in together with some of the newbies. Once we get some ‘W’s’ under our belt, I feel like we will be just fine,” said Epp.

Individually, players have worked hard over the off-season to not only get themselves in shape, but to better their skills for the season to come. Sophomore Tyler Christie, for example, has spent the off-season improving a variety of facets to his game.

“One thing I’ve been focusing on this off-season was perfecting my shot – my accuracy and power. I have also been working on my stick-handling skills at the rink and at my house. Conditioning wise, I have been lifting weights and doing cardio,” said Christie.

In order to perform at a high level in both the regular season and playoffs, the team has to build off of their strengths, and improve upon their weaknesses.

“I think that our strengths come from our overall physicality. We make good hits and pressure the other team pretty well. We also can move the puck efficiently up and down the ice. The weak part of our game is that we don’t always start our games strong. Last year we would come out slow and have to make up for it later on in the game. Occasionally we will lose our temper and get stupid penalties,” said Christie.

In spite of their 7-3 record last season, the Canfield hockey team will have to heighten their game this year if they want to live up to their expectations in the postseason. Players are prepared to step it up this year and are ready to fill in the shoes of the players that are absent this year. It is without a doubt that the hockey team has their eyes set on being the best this upcoming season.

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