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(Photo by Rebecca Blackwell)

LUCKY SEVEN: Princeton Day School goalie T.J. Krall stops a shot in the Panthers' 7-0 win over Montclair-Kimberley in the state Prep B title game last February as the program notched its sixth straight state championship. PDS will start its quest for a seventh straight Prep B crown on December 3 when it hosts Germantown Academy to open its season.
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PDS Boys' Hockey Is Going Defensive In Chase for 7th Straight Prep Crown

By Bill Alden

Chris Barcless isn't overly optimistic as he assesses the prospects this season for his Princeton Day School boys' ice hockey team.

"We're a young team," said Barcless, who is his seventh year coaching the Panthers. "We're not all on the same page yet, the inexperience is showing. They are skating in one direction when they should be skating in the other."

Barcless, however, sounded a similar gloomy tone before last season and his squad posted a 17-7 record as it went on to win its sixth straight state Prep B title and the PDS Invitational.

Acknowledging that the Panthers will certainly be in the hunt for a seventh straight crown, Barcless believes the strength of his team will be its defense.

"We have four seniors on defense and two senior goalies, we should be good from the goal out," said Barcless.

The PDS corps of defenders will feature seniors Peter Rossi, Mike Crowley, John Siemann, and Laddie Sanford together with junior Charlie Bird.

In net, Barcless will have two solid options in seniors T.J. Krall and Mitch DePace. Newcomers who should see action in PDS' defensive set-up include freshmen Brett DePace and Peter Hann.

Up front, Barcless will be relying on senior Will Denise and junior Keith Nelson to provide much of the team's scoring punch.

"Keith and Will need to score more for us," maintained Barcless. "Keith showed he could do that last year as the season went on. Will was our team MVP last year and he was more of a set-up guy. He plays steady and we just need more goals out of him."

Helping Nelson and Denise in the offensive zone will be senior Sean Rochford and juniors Chris Baker and John Siani. Barcless is also expecting some production from his group of freshmen forwards which includes Justin Mimmo, Pat McDonald, Derek Mayer, and Marty Rose.

The Panthers will get the chance to test themselves against what Barcless calls a "brutal schedule." PDS plays in the Barber Tournament in Massachusetts against St. Marks and Middlesex, has a road trip to Pittsburgh, faces Lawrenceville and Hill, and ends the season with its Invitational, which it has won four times in the last six years.

Barcless, whose club opens its season on December 3 with a home contest against Germantown Academy, believes that the key to the program's continued success rests on a simple formula.

"We need to be able to play hard for all 45 minutes and not take a physical pummeling," explained Barcless.

Based on the team's success during the first six years of Barcless' tenure, it appears that PDS will be meting out its share of punishment again this winter.

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