Prep Team Goes 2-3 in Invitational [Photo Gallery]

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Prep team action at the Northwood Invitational.

For the past 39 years, It’s been a Northwood tradition to host the invitational Hockey Tournament. With forty-five teams competing in four divisions, it’s on the Lake Placid’s biggest hockey weekends of the year.

The prep team played five games. Four round robin games and one consolation game. They faced the U18 Islanders Hockey Club, Cheshire Academy, Fountain Valley School and Le Sommet in the round robin and the Valley Forge Minutemen in the consolation game. The Huskies fought hard and managed a 2-3 record for the tournament.

In game one, not knowing what to expect, they faced off against the Islanders Hockey Club. The game was played with a lot of effort and heart. Both teams came out of the tunnels ready to battle. The Huskies played an aggressive and offensive game. The Huskies won both halves of play and won every shift. Goals came from Sutton Allard (Forward, 2019’), Weston Batt (Forward, 2019) with 2 goals, Grey Pfefferkorn (Forward, 2019), and Alexander Ray (Forward, 2019). The team didn’t play as individuals, but worked as one cohesive unit to get the win on the Herb Brooks 1980 Arena, earning Wyatt Friedlander (Goaltender, 2019) his first win of the tournament.

In game two, the Huskies ran into a Cheshire Academy team that was a lot better than the Islanders. Cheshire was big, strong, and talented on both ends of the ice. The Huskies had to change their style of play to try and match the speed and intensity of Cheshire. It was a rough game from start to finish. With all of the scoring taking place in the first half. The final was 8-2. The team had to compensate for the first half of play and play a defensive game and not let in any more goals. The only goals for Northwood came from John Biechler (Forward, 2019) and Finlay Ulrick (Forward, 2019).

In game three, Northwood faced the Fountain Valley School from Colorado. Before the game, the coaches had to make some changes to the lineup in order to get the win and keep the team’s hopes of going to the championship game alive. The game against Cheshire was a wake-up call; the team needed to play a much better game than the day before. In the first, the Huskies did just that. They played with good systems and it all worked out for them. They outplayed Fountain Valley offensively and defensively in all zones of play. By the time the second half of the game was over, the Huskies came out on top with a score of 2-1 with goals from Weston Batt (Forward, 2019) and game-winning goal from Zachary Ellsworth (Defense, 2019).

Being tired from the past three games didn’t stop the Prep Team from slowing down, but instead going into the game with energy. This was the team to beat. In order to move on, the Huskies had to defeat Le Sommet. Le Sommet was somewhat small and explosively speedy. But that didn’t mean anything. The Huskies came out in the first half of play with the intention to win battles in the corners and have a sense of urgency to get the puck. When the first half of play was complete, the Huskies were going into the locker room with a strong 2-0 lead with goals from Sutton Allard (Forward, 2019) and Zachary Ellsworth (Defenseman, 2019). When it was time for the second half, things got rough and nasty. Both teams were battling hard and it was physical game throughout the entire game, especially in the second half. The Huskies were trying to keep the shutout for Friedlander, but it didn’t turn out that way. Le Sommet scored three unanswered goals to eventually get the win against the Huskies.

After the heartbreaking loss to Le Sommet, the Huskies were not moving on to the semi-finals and ended up playing in the consolation game for fourth place. The Valley Forge Minutemen were the Huskies final contest of the weekend. Even though the Huskies played their hearts out, it just wasn’t enough to earn the win. The Huskies started the game strong, but the Minutemen were better that day. The Minutemen struck first, and that was all of the scoring as the teams went to the locker rooms at the end of the first half. Things broke loose in the second half. The Minutemen scored one after another after another. Eventually the Huskies struck a tally to make the score 5-1. The only goal scored for the Huskies was Cisco DelliQuadri (Forward, 2020).

It was a solid, well-played weekend for the Huskies, but there is a lot more that the team could have showed. Assistant Coach, Dave Vitale reflected on the weekend. “We played pretty well against a couple of good teams,” said Vitale. “I thought our game against the U18 Islanders was one of our best of the season. Wyatt was on his game and all the lines contributed. As the weekend went on and we played other very good teams, fatigue and frustration played their part and we made too many mistakes. Moving forward,” he added, “I think we need to find a way to reign in that frustration and limit those mistakes. We can be a very good team if we play the game the right way.”

The Huskies now look forward to two league games on January 27th and 28th against league rivals Boch Militia in their home rink at Boch Ice Center in Dedham, Massachusetts.

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All photos by Mr. Michael Aldridge

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