Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXI, No. 51
 
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
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PLEASANT SURPRISE: Hun School boys’ hockey head coach Francois Bourbeau smiles after a game last season. Bourbeau likes what he has seen so far this season as his freshman-laden team has gotten off to a 3-1 start. In upcoming action, Hun will play at Princeton Day School on December 20.

Finding Strength in Unified Approach, Hun Boys’ Hockey Produces Hot Start

Bill Alden

Coming into the season, Francois Bourbeau thought his Hun School boys’ hockey team was headed for a bumpy ride.

Losing several superb seniors to graduation and breaking in a bunch of freshmen, head coach Bourbeau thought it would take a while for his team to find a winning formula.

Bourbeau’s pessimism seemed to be justified by Hun’s opening day 3-1 loss to Kinnelon High.

But the Raiders rebounded for a 5-0 win over Academy of New Church. Building on that triumph, Hun proceeded to beat Calvert Hall 5-2 and then edge Germantown Academy 3-2.

The team’s hot start has Bourbeau adjusting his expectations for the winter. “I think it’s a good surprise,” said Bourbeau, who is in his sixth season guiding the Raiders.

“Right now I think we can go farther than I thought; I think I’m changing my goals for the season.”

In Bourbeau’s view, Hun’s early success has been the product of an unselfish, team-first attitude exuded by his players.

“I think the main reason for this is that the guys realized they had to be unified to be strong,” asserted Bourbeau.

“The older, veteran players realized they couldn’t carry the team for three periods; they had to get help from the younger players. We have to utilize everyone; even if someone is not the best player he must contribute in some way.”

Bourbeau credits a trio of juniors with setting the tone on and off the ice. “Steve Norman, Jeff Starr, and Brendan Gallagher are all doing well on the ice,” said Bourbeau.

“Norman is a good leader; since he became captain he has been a good voice in the locker room. He is really setting a good example.”

Freshman forward Peter Blackburn has set a good example for the veterans with his opportunistic play.

“He has brought a lot as a freshman,” said Bourbeau of Blackburn who scored a goal in Hun’s win over Germantown and had two in the win over Calvert Hall.

“He’s shown that as a freshman, he can do well at this level. He has shown the veterans that he is coming up and they have to work hard.”

Hun’s other freshman have also given the team some good work. “I think all the freshmen have come up in their own way,” added Bourbeau, whose 18-player roster includes seven freshmen.

“William Sweetland has good skills. Greg Seelagy may not be as skilled but he comes out with a lot of intensity and battles hard in front of the goal.”

The Raiders are lucky to have star junior goalie Travis Potts manning their goal.

“I don’t think we would be 3-1 without him in the net,” said Bourbeau. “He’s the backbone for us; he’s made some big saves. One save can change the momentum of a game and he has come up with some of those.”

Bourbeau is hoping his team can keep up its momentum this week as it faces two tough tests before the holiday break as it was slated to play Bishop Eustace on December 18 before playing at Princeton Day School on December 20.

“It is our biggest week of the season,” said Bourbeau. “It will tell us where we are and what we have to work on. We have had some good games but we haven’t played teams like this.”

If Hun can keep unified, it could be looking at a lot of other big weeks this season.

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