NHL Playoff Predictions

The NHL Playoffs have started, and after one of the most exciting seasons in history, many fans are looking forward to watching how it will all end. There are a lot of uncertainties for this year, and many questions to be answered. Here are my predictions for this year’s NHL Playoffs. 

Eastern Conference Winner: Carolina Hurricanes 

The Carolina Hurricanes had an incredibly successful season, finishing 3rd overall in the league. With Vezina-caliber goaltending and an incredibly deep roster, the Canes can compete with practically any team. Their biggest worry is starting the playoffs without their starting goaltender, Frederik Andersen, but if they can get him back and make it through the first round, they will likely go all the way. There aren’t really any holes within this team, which cannot be said about many of the teams in the playoffs. 

Western Conference Winner: Calgary Flames 

The Calgary Flames were the third winningest team in the Western Conference and confounded many expectations to get to the top of the Pacific Division. Their offensive output was ridiculous, with 2 100-point players in Johnny Gaudreau and Matthew Tkachuk, as well as 3 40-goal scorers. Additionally, their play in their own end was solid, with a strong defensive core as well as another Vezina candidate out of Jacob Markstrom. Because of this, the flames let in the 3rd fewest goals in the league. The flames have a relatively easy route to the conference finals, and whoever they end up facing there likely will not be prepared. 

Stanley Cup Winner: Carolina Hurricanes 

The Flames and Canes will be a spirited series from two of the most consistent teams, but I believe the edge will have to go to the Hurricanes. However, this will be an incredibly evenly matched series that will likely come with a couple of surprises. 

 

Dark Horses 

Edmonton Oilers 

Edmonton is a weird case. They have struggled a lot in recent seasons, both in and out of the playoffs, despite having the two best offensive players in the league. They have been on a losing streak in playoff games going back to 2017. Their defense and goaltending are incredibly shaky, and average at best. But the Oilers are one team I could potentially see making a solid run. They are a speedy, offensive team that can catch a lot of teams off guard. They were revitalized mid-season with the appointment of Jay Woodcroft as Head Coach, going 26-9-3 in his control and ending the season with a ton of momentum. And at least Oilers goalie Mike Smith has a decent history in the playoffs. 

 

Toronto Maple Leafs 

Toronto has not won a playoff series since 2004. If they can do as much as win this series, they could probably do anything. 

 

Series To Watch 

St. Louis vs Minnesota 

This will be the most evenly matched series in the playoffs. Two heavily offensive teams, who experienced incredibly passionate regular-season matchups, are to face off in the first round. There shouldn’t be a single game that isn’t a war. 

 

Edmonton vs Calgary 

The battle of Alberta, one of the best rivalries in the NHL, will likely return for the first time in 30 years, if there aren’t any surprises. It should be an excellent match up of star power and offense. 

 

Conn Smythe Winner-Frederik Andersen 

If the Carolina Hurricanes win the cup, I believe Andersen would be the winner as long as he could recover from his injury and previous playoff woes. He will be an important backbone to an already deep team and be a major help every step of the way. 

 

Breakout Players 

Seth Jarvis, Carolina Hurricanes 

Jarvis had a solid rookie season, with 17 goals and 40 points in 68 games. If the Canes do end up making the cup run, he will definitely be one of the many cogs that helps them get there. 

 

Bowen Byram, Colorado Avalanche 

Colorado’s 2019 first round pick had his rookie season cut short due to lingering concussion issues but was strong in the sample size we got from him. If Colorado makes a deep run, which is likely, Byram, Devon Toews, and Cale Makar will set a dangerous offensive standard for blueliners in the league. 

This year’s playoffs look to be incredibly exciting. Many teams have already defied expectations, so it’s not always easy to predict what will happen next. But no matter what happens, it’s important to just sit back and take it all in. It’s still a long road to the finals.

Soccer Team Competes in Dallas Cup 

While most students and faculty enjoyed their first week of spring break relaxing, the boys’ soccer team took on their biggest challenge of the year. The U17 and U19 teams traveled to Texas to compete in the Dallas Cup, the largest amateur club soccer tournament in the United States and the culminating tournament for the Northwood squads.   

Travel to Texas began early on Friday April 8th as the boys drove to Albany Airport. After a flight to Baltimore, the boys grabbed smoothies in the airport and got ready for their flight to Dallas. Upon arriving, each team went out for Tacos and got settled into their hotels.  

The first few days prior to the games were spent resting and having light tactical training. The tournament is set up with each team put into a group of four teams. To advance past the group stage a team must be one of the two best teams in the group.  

The U19s started the tournament playing Tuesday morning against a Mexican academy team. Unfortunately, the older boys lost the game but fought hard and had plenty of chances. This was a reoccurring theme for the older squad, and they did not get a win in the group stage. The remainder of their games they dominated in possession and chances but could not put the ball in the net.  

The younger squad started off the tournament positively with a 3-1 win on Thursday afternoon. This marked a strong start for the U17s which would have a highly anticipated night game on Thursday evening. However, the rest of the tournament did not bring success for the U17s either.  

Overall, this will be remembered as a learning experience by the players and coaches who hope to improve in the future.  

Season Recap: All Three Boys’ Hockey Teams Have Winning Seasons 

The 2021-2022 boys’ ice hockey season has been one of ups and downs for the three teams at Northwood School. Despite many struggles between these teams, the new three-team format was one of success on multiple fronts. With efforts from Prep, Varsity, and High School teams, there was no shortage of boys’ hockey this year at Northwood.  

The boys Prep team, under new management from Head Coach Mark Morris and Assistant Coach Steve Mallaro, had a highly successful season in their first year with the Prep Hockey Conference (PHC). This team joined an exclusive group of Northwood boys’ hockey teams to hit 40 wins in a season, with a record of 41-19-2. In the PHC Playoffs, the Huskies defeated Culver Academies and South Kent Selects, while finishing second in their division.  

Coach Morris was satisfied overall with the team’s progress and was happy with the way the season went. 

Varsity goalie Ben Norton ’22 (Photo provided)

“It was great to work with this bunch, and I thought we got a lot out of it, individually and collectively. We were able to knock off some of the top prep teams in the country, and it was also a great league we were a part of this year with the PHC.” 

With over a dozen seniors graduating at the end of the year, there are obviously some big shoes to fill in terms of players. However, Morris is more than ready for what is ahead. 

“I felt like we accomplished a great deal as a group and look forward to the future with a lot of excitement and anticipation.” 

The Varsity team was also treated to a winning season, going 21-20-2 with 113 goals on the year. Despite the loss of Head Coach Jeff Miller for most of the season due to health issues, the team continued to develop, with Tim Wolford acting as an interim coach. While not playing for league playoffs such as the Prep team, the Varsity boys continued to fight with every game, and were buoyed by the return of Coach Miller for the final stretch of the season. 

The Varsity team also stands to lose a few players, however not as many as the Prep team. Despite the inconsistencies and changes, the team stayed strong, and retains a lot of hope for the upcoming seasons. 

The High School team, which unofficially merged with the Varsity team throughout the season, also had a successful year, despite only playing 23 games. The team went 13-9-1, for a winning percentage of .587.  

Despite all the changes from previous years to this year, it managed to be successful across the board for boys’ hockey at Northwood School. As the organization continues to go down this road, it is safe to say many of the challenges faced this season will be ironed out. There is plenty of hope ahead for each of the teams. 

Luge Athletes Pursuing Their Dreams

 Northwood school is widely known for its athletic success, especially in hockey, skiing and soccer. Two students are following a different path this year and pursuing Luge with the hopes of earning a spot on the junior national team, and eventually the Olympics.  

Luge is a winter sliding sport where athletes (called “sliders”) race down an icy track on a small sled. The fastest time down the hill wins the race. The sport is not unlike sledding children do when they take their plastic sleds and speed feet-first down a snowy hill. But luge sleds weigh 50 pounds and can hit speeds of 90 miles per hour. Clearly bravery and adrenaline are involved in luge. 

Like many sliders, Darryl Cooper ‘24 and Sadie Martin ‘25 had interesting ways of finding the sport. “My parents saw an ad on Facebook to try luge,” said Martin. “The people that I met were nice and they told me that I could be good at it,” she added. Darryl came to the sport when he saw some people trying these plastic sleds one day while skiing. Both students train in Lake Placid, the home of USA Luge and one of only two luge tracks in the country. They occasionally travel to Park City, Utah for training and competition on a different track. They hope to compete internationally. 

Both student-athletes have major goals for this sport. “My goal is to make it to the Olympics,” Martin said. Cooper has his sights set on the Youth Olympics “I am currently training and hoping to participate in the 2024 Youth Olympic Games. Also, I and hoping to be doing Youth World Cup races starting 2023.” 

Overall, this introduction of a new sport at Northwood is extremely exciting and the community cannot wait to see where it takes them! 

Did You Know? Kei Takahasi ‘98 (above, left) competed in Doubles Luge for Japan in the Olympic Games in 1998 and 2002. 

Did You Know? Current faculty member Ms. Raychel Germaine (above, right) is a former member of the USA Luge National Team. She competed internationally for 9 years between 2010 and 2019.  

Many Ski Racers Find Success at State and National Championships

This year’s ski season was filled with many accomplishments and lots of hard work. The Mirror recently caught up with Alpine Program Director Tommy Biesemeyer to get the highlights.

At the U16 level, Lincoln Norfolk ‘24 won overall New York State Champion at Bristol Mountain, while Cara Dempsey ’25 also podiumed (was among the top-three finishers) at States. Bodhi Boschen ‘24 became known as the “dark horse,” Biesemeyer said, because he had the ability to come from behind. Boschen started way back at 49th place in the Super G race at Regionals at Burke Mountain, but finished in 3rd place. That performance qualified him for U16 National Championships at Sugarloaf Mountain in Maine. All racers in the U16 age group had a podium finish at the regional or state level.

The U18 FIS women were led by Elizabeth Creighton ‘24 who had multiple podiums at the FIS level, which lowered her points, leading her to be one of the top Canadian first year FIS athletes this season. This resulted in her getting invited to a prestigious training camp in Sweden. 

The FIS boys were led by Dominick DeGuardia ‘24 who placed sixth at U18 National Championships in Vail, Colorado. DeGuardia was just three-tenths of a second off the podium.  Kieran Delay ‘23 also showed a lot of promise and good results. Delay, along with Rowan Norfolk ‘22 Macie Eisenhart ‘23 and Pedro Gonzalez ‘23 all qualified for U18 Nationals.

Biesemeyer was impressed with the FIS racers this year. “When you start FIS-level racing, it’s a really difficult start because you are racing against guys that are in college,” Beisemeyer noted.

The Nordic program was led by Bella Wissler ’23 and Sophia Kelting ‘23 who both qualified for Nationals. Bella recently placed 3rd overall in her age group at Biathlon Nationals in Lake Placid.

The 2021-2022 Northwood Ski Team

Most of 2021-22 ski racers (Photo: Facebook).

Bodhi Boschen ‘24 (U16)

Kate Broderick ’22 (FIS)

Maegan Byrne ’24 (FIS)

Savanna Coppler ’22 (FIS)

Elizabeth Creighton ‘24 (FIS)

Leah DeFilippo ’22 (FIS)

Dom DeGuardia ’24 (FIS)

Kieran Delay ’23 (FIS)

Cara Dempsey ’25 (U16)

Edoardo Eigenmann ‘22 (FIS)

Macie Eisenhart ’23 (FIS)

Clayton Fuller ’25 (U16)

Pedro Gonzalez ’23 (FIS)

Karleigh Hollister ’22 (FIS)

Sophia Kelting ’23 (Nordic)

Sebastian La Roche ’23 (FIS)

Hillary Larsen ’22 (FIS)

Cilla Nee ’22 (FIS)

Lincoln Norfolk ’24 (FIS)

Rowen Norfolk ’22 (FIS)

MJ Prince ’22 (FIS)

Caroline Purcell ‘24 (U16)

Sophia Schupp ‘24 (FIS)

Denny Sebek ‘25 (U16)

Cole Van Etten ’25 (U16)

Teegan Wardlaw ’25 (U16)

Zach Wargo ’25 (U16)

Bella Wissler ‘23 (Nordic)

 

Wissler 2nd in Biathlon Nationals

Bella Wissler ‘23 at the biathlon range in Lake Placid (photo provided).

Bella Wissler ’23 recently placed 2nd in her age group at the Biathlon National Championships in Lake Placid. Biathlon is a winter sport that combines cross-country skiing and rifle shooting.

In a biathlon competition, athletes are required to Nordic ski a loop then go into a range to shoot 30 targets as quickly as they can using a .22 caliber long rifle. There are larger targets about the size of a dinner plate and smaller targets the size of a ping pong ball. When you shoot at the larger targets you are standing and when you shoot at the smaller ones you are in prone position, laying on your stomach. Each shot you miss you must ski a penalty lap, adds time to your race. 

Wissler started as a biathlete from a young age going to kids programs her grandparents brought her to. From there she began going to Dewey Mountain Ski League in Saranac Lake, where she learned skate skiing and racing. She then had the opportunity to train at a biathlon camp at the Olympic Training Center, which led her to further pursuing the sport and eventually training full time. 

Bella trains six days a week, usually resting on Monday. During the summer her training is most intense and during the winter the training is less intense as she prepares for competitions.

Going forward Bella is hoping to continue training with her coach in Vermont who is an Olympic gold medalist. For her next goal she states, “My soon goal is to go to junior worlds over in Europe, I would qualify for that in December.” After worlds, she hopes to join the International Biathlon Union World Cup, which has season-long competitions and is the highest level of competition for biathlons, even bigger than the Olympics.

New League for Soccer Team

The Northwood Soccer team has joined a new league that is considered the best pre-college league in the United States. USL Academy has been created to enhance the level of play for hundreds of players throughout the United States.

The new league is an affiliate of the United Soccer League (USL). Originally founded in 1986, the United Soccer League has become, according to its web site, “one of the most sophisticated soccer organizations in North America over the past decade.“

The USL Academy League season is aligned with the pro calendars of Championship & League One, meaning play begins in April and continues, through the summer, until November. The league believes this alignment will make the transition from the youth to pro levels easier for the top pro prospects.

“The USL Academy League and Academy Cup will give our boys regular games against top competition and a proving ground to be evaluated for our USL League Two team,” head coach Jon Moodey said.  Our goal is to win trophies and we expect to be competitive at the national level.”

Northwood’s soccer team competed in the USL Academy league’s inaugural season in 2021. Northwood (and Black Rock Football Club) is the only team in the league consisting of students attending the same school. Most of the other teams are affiliates of professional or club programs.

League play starts for the Huskies after spring break and continues into November, including numerous matches during the summer break.

Robotics Team is Headed to Nationals 

The Northwood Robotics Team has qualified for its first-ever national championship. The Huskies are headed to Houston during spring break for the 2022 FIRST Championship.

Some of the member of the Northwood Robotics Team (6300), including (l to r) Mr. Jeff Martin, Kirk NguyenLe ’23, Mitchell Tuttle ’24, and David Garvey ’22 (Photo: .

The Robotics team qualified for the national championship by winning the “The Engineering Inspiration Award” at a regional competition earlier this season. This award recognizes a team’s engineering and design skills for their robot; it also recognizes how well they work together and work with other teams. The Northwood Robotics Team showed great perseverance and resilience which inspired many Northwood students and staff. 

The 2022 FIRST Championship is April 20 – 23 in Houston, Texas. FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) is a robotics community that inspires young people to be science and technology leaders and innovators, by engaging them in exciting mentor-based programs that build science, engineering, and technology skills, that inspire innovation, and that foster well-rounded life capabilities including self-confidence, communication, and leadership. 

The Northwood students on Team 6300 always work to help other teams,” Mr. Jeff Martin, the mentor for the robotics team, said. “At this event they specifically gave a great deal of help (programming, parts, strategy, etc.) to the Lake Placid High School team,” Martin added.  

Martin believes the Huskies deserved the engineering award. “The judges at the event were impressed by how well kids knew and understood their robot design and how well they communicated their ideas to the judges,” Martin said.  

Earning a trip to nationals is a huge honor. “Winning this award qualified the team for the FIRST Robotics Competition World Championship in Houston in April,” Martin said. “Only 3 awards at any competition will earn you a trip to World Champs. They also earned a $5,000 NASA sponsorship,” Martin boasted. 

“It was a fantastic tournament,” robotics team member David Garvey ‘22 said of the event that qualified the Huskies for nationals. “It was only our second tournament this year. It could have been better though. We got unlucky with some of our assigned alliances. However, we still succeeded.” 

Garvey has high hopes for the Huskies in Houston. “We are excited to compete against the top 600 teams in the world,” Garvey said. “We are aiming to place really high in that tournament and potentially win it.” 

Students interested in getting involved in robotics should reach out to Mr. Martin or Ms. Carmichael.  

This Robotics Team has inspired many students and faculty around campus. Northwood wishes the Robotics Team good luck in Houston and hope they come home with a trophy. 

Vegas Dispatch: Off-Pitch Activities Provide Bonding and Fun for Soccer Team

The team enjoying some free time in Las Vegas (Photo: BRFC).

Northwood’s soccer team recently traveled across the country to Las Vegas to compete in the Players’ College Showcase. Both teams had four games over the weekend, competing in front of some of the best colleges in the country.

After a long day of traveling, the Huskies arrived in Nevada late Tuesday night and had a team meeting covering the goals for the trip. For both teams, the goal for the showcase was to go 4-0.

Wednesday morning kicked off the preparations for the weekend with a hike that overlooked all of Las Vegas. The players spent the morning enjoying the sun before training that evening. Training included lots of passing and possessions drills to help the players focus after a long travel day. After dinner, the team went out to get some local Mexican food and enjoyed the hotel’s outdoor heated pool, which would later be used for recovery.

Thursday marked the final day before the games began Friday morning. Players woke up early for a tactical training session. The weather was very windy, which cut the training short, but nevertheless the team was ready for the upcoming matches.

The games would be 80 minutes long and take place on grass fields in the heart of Las Vegas. College coaches from all over would attend, including Stanford and UCLA, making this a huge occasional for Northwood’s uncommitted players.

U19 Undefeated in Black Rock FC Invitational Showcase 

This Saturday, Northwood’s soccer team, operating under the Black Rock FC banner, organized a showcase in which teams from around the Northeast and Canada came to a BRFC-hosted showcase in Albany to compete at a high level. 

Soccer players in recent match (photo: Black Rock FC).

Coming off very good results in the Las Vegas Players’ Showcase, the U19 squad continued on the right track, drawing the first match and finding victory in the second and third contests. 

On the other hand, the young U17 Huskies had trouble finding victory and concluded the weekend with three defeats. 

Regardless of the result, both teams are once again working to achieve a good performance in the NEFC tournament in Boston and hope to conclude the event with the Black Rock FC name on top. 

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