Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXII, No. 52
 
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
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(Photo by Tim Pitts)
caption:
CURSE BREAKER: Hun School senior goalie Travis Potts, middle, makes one of his 24 saves in Hun’s 4-1 win over Princeton Day School last Wednesday. It was Hun’s first win over the Panthers since the 1990s. The Raiders, now 3-2-1 on the season, are next in action on January 7 when they play Lawrence High at the Lawrenceville rink.

Utilizing Preparation, Aggressive Play, Boys’ Ice Hockey Ends PDS Curse

Bill Alden

Coming into last week, Francois Bourbeau wasn’t exactly sure when the Hun School boys’ hockey team last posted a victory in its heated rivalry with Princeton Day School.

“Someone said we last beat them 12 years ago,” said Hun head coach Bourbeau, who is in his seventh season guiding the Raiders. “It was certainly before my time here; it was more than 10 years ago.”

When Hun hosted PDS last Wednesday at Ice Land Skating Center, Bourbeau was sure that his players were ready to get the PDS monkey off their backs.

“I felt this was the year we would do it,” said Bourbeau, whose team did tie PDS 4-4 in the 2006-07 and lost 1-0 to the Panthers last season in the Mercer County Tournament semifinals.

“Last year we came really close. My team was coming into this game real intense. We wanted to break through; we were well prepared.”

Over the first two periods, though, Hun’s intensity and preparation wasn’t enough as the teams skated to a 1-1 stalemate.

In the third period, the Raiders wasted little time getting the upper hand, taking a 2-1 lead on a goal by Sam Rosenberg.

Hun added two more goals as Brendan Gallagher and Ryan Samuels found the back of the net, putting the nails in the PDS coffin on the way to a sweet 4-1 victory.

Afterward, the Hun locker room was a noisy place. “They had a huge celebration; they deserved it,” recalled Bourbeau with a laugh.

“We played our best game of the year; we played the system to a tee. I think they know they can win if they play the system and play together.”

Bourbeau was particularly pleased by how his team kept its pedal to the medal after it went ahead in the third period.

“We made it 3-1 quickly and the guys on the bench were saying remember two years ago when we were up 4-2 and they tied it at 4-4,” said Bourbeau, whose team improved to 3-2-1 with the victory.

“They stayed focused; they kept their intensity. Sometimes a team gets a lead and tries to hold on. My guys were still aggressive; they kept playing hard offensively.”

Hun has been getting hard play all season long from senior star Gallagher.

“Brendan has been really intense every game,” asserted Bourbeau. “He has been maturing through the four years; right now he is at a peak in playing ability. He is also a good leader in the locker room. That combination makes him a real asset.”

Another nice asset for the Raiders is improving sophomore forward Peter Blackburn.

“Last year he was a freshman and he was a little shy,” said Bourbeau”. He produced on the ice but he needed to figure out the difference between club and high school hockey. In club, the players are his age while in high school, he is playing against kids who are 17, 18. He understands his position a lot better now.”

Nobody on Hun is playing his position any better than senior goalie Travis Potts, who recorded 24 saves in the win over PDS.

“He is the backbone of the team,” added Bourbeau, a former standout goalie himself at Middlebury College.

“Even in the win; he had to come up with some important saves. I am never nervous with him in the net; I know he will produce in the big games.”

Bourbeau is getting production throughout his lineup. “All of my guys are progressing well,” said Bourbeau.

“Every player is understanding his position; where he is supposed to be on the ice and what he is supposed to do. It’s not one single guy, they are all playing well.”

With Hun now on break until 2009 after its game against Landon last Friday was cancelled due to inclement weather, Bourbeau is worried that his players could lose their edge.

“We are off until January 5; it concerns me,” acknowledged Bourbeau, whose team’s next game on January 7 when it plays Lawrence High at Lawrenceville.

“We are making progress; I hope the guys stay in shape. We will have to regroup when we get back; it may take a little time.”

When Hun does resume action, Bourbeau hopes they will build on the good time they had last Thursday against PDS.

“Hopefully we can keep playing like we did against PDS,” said Bourbeau.

“I think the PDS win can be a turning point for us to really play well and have a big season.” 

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