The pristine, smooth ice shines around the rink as the crowd files in. The players are in their dressing rooms, preparing for the next hour that will be filled with joy, frustration, fatigue, anger, and ultimately, either a win or a loss. The players focus on playing their game and how they will overcome the opponent, securing a win for their team.
The Jesuit hockey team started the season with a bang as they won three games (Plano West, Allen, John Paul II) and lost two (Frisco, Plano East/Lovejoy) in October. With many key contributors to last year’s team absent, the Rangers looked to fill the gaps with new talent and defend their state and city championships. So far, they seem to have found their feet, despite a few bumpy obstacles. Here’s a recap of their October games:
In the first game of the season on October 1st, the Rangers faced Frisco, a hockey powerhouse, and, despite a tough effort, fell 2-5. Both goals were scored by junior superstar Carson Platt, one of the returning starters from last year, who noted that “The first game of the season can be and usually is the hardest game of the season because of the lack of team chemistry. As the season goes on, our feel for our teammates on the ice strengthens and helps us to play better as a team.”
Looking to bounce back, the team faced off against Plano West on October 8th and hung on to win the game 3-2 despite a two-goal comeback from the Wildcats in the third period. This time a multitude of players scored for the Rangers, including Louis Helsen ’16, Nic Colombo ’17, and Preston Schwartz ’18, allowing the team to come away with a victory. Coach Kevin Smith commented on the team’s perseverance, saying, “Our boys refocused and rebounded well and played a solid game against Plano West.”
Riding the win against Plano West, the Rangers fought against a team comprised of players from both Plano East and Lovejoy on October 15th, but dishearteningly fell in a 3-4 shootout. However, Michael Schmidt ’16 played a fantastic game, scoring all three of Jesuit’s goals, securing a hat-trick in the process. Coach Smith added that “We were faced with a short bench and a depleted lineup,” giving a reason that may have contributed to the loss. However, he lauded his team for their toughness, saying, “I give full credit to the boys’ [competitive] level during the entire game.”
Attempting to rebound from a two-game losing streak, Jesuit competed against Allen on October 22nd, and this time the team annihilated their opponent, shutting them out 4-0. Again, multiple Rangers contributed to the scoring, as Platt, Schmidt, Helsen, and Nicholas Gibbs ’18 all put the puck in the net to give the Rangers a much-needed win. Also, goalie Royce Allred ’18 played like a brick wall, saving all twelve shots he faced. Platt was not surprised by the shutout win against Allen because “The Jesuit hockey program has continued to get better and will continue to improve in years to come.”
Finally, the Rangers faced their longtime rival, the John Paul II Cardinals on October 29th, and once again destroyed them 6-1 to round out the month of October. While goalie George McBey ’16 only allowed one goal on thirty-two shots, the usual suspects, consisting of Platt, Helsen, Schmidt, Schwartz, plus JonMikal Dragojevic ’19, scored for the Rangers. McBey pointed out that “We had a full lineup for this game for the first time this year and I think it showed on the ice,” which allowed for the team to take care of its rival.
Looking forward, McBey noted that “The team has shown a lot of confidence over the last few games and I think that’s key to having a successful season,” however he reminded himself and the team in saying “The difficult part is keeping it on a consistent basis, but it is something I believe we are capable of doing.”
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