Vol. LXII, No. 10
Wednesday, March 5, 2008
(Photo by Bill Allen/NJ SportAction)caption:
SAVING GRACE: Hun School junior goalie Travis Potts makes a save in recent action. Last Wednesday, Potts made 28 saves but it wasnt enough as 14th-seeded Hun fell 1-0 to No. 7 Princeton Day School in the semifinals of the Mercer County Tournament (MCT). The defeat left the Raiders with a final record of 10-12.
Travis Potts was a picture of frustration when the Hun School boys hockey team lost to Princeton Day School this past December.
The junior goalie slammed his stick on the boards after PDS scored three goals in the second period on the way to a 3-0 triumph.
Last Wednesday, Potts and the Raiders were on their game as they got a rematch with the Panthers in the semifinals of the Mercer County Tournament (MCT).
Potts was sharp in goal, making 28 saves as a stingy Hun defense held PDS to a lone goal. Offensively, the Raiders generated some good opportunities, outshooting PDS 29-22 on the evening.
Unfortunately for the Raiders, the PDS defense produced a stellar effort as well, holding Hun scoreless to earn a spot in the MCT title game.
Afterward, Potts was proud of the progress Hun made since the first meeting of the teams.
We stepped it up definitely from how we played the rest of the season, said Potts.
We finally started listening to our coach [Francois Bourbeau], we kept the shots outside and it helped out a lot. I think we played a little better than them actually.
While Potts was happy with the way the team performed, it still stung to lose to PDS which has beaten Hun 16 times in a row since 1997.
I played pretty well all during the game, asserted Potts. They just got a lucky bounce on that goal. Without that, its a completely different game and we are in overtime right now.
With Hun overcoming a mid-season slump to end up with a final record of 10-12, Potts liked the way the team grew through the season.
Coming off last year and losing eight seniors, the upperclassmen didnt know what to expect this year, said Potts.
I think coming off of that, we had a pretty good season. We thought it was going to be a rebuilding season and we exceeded those expectations.
To ease the transition, Potts took it upon himself to assume more responsibility on the ice this season.
I like to think of myself as more of a leader this year, said Potts. I talk a little more, Im a little more confident this year.
Hun head coach Bourbeau saw his teams performance against PDS as the culmination of a season-long learning curve.
I think overall today was the result of what I have been teaching and preaching all year, said Bourbeau.
They had to learn from their mistakes. They had to start playing more and more as a team. They had to make sure they applied the system. I think tonight they put it all on the line. They played the system; they played as a team. They moved the puck. They did everything I taught them all year.
Like Potts, Bourbeau rued the fact that Hun just couldnt cash in any of the chances it generated.
I think its sad that we lost because we played really, really well, asserted Bourbeau.
I just think we didnt get the right bounce. We had a few bounces and we didnt capitalize. I think finishing is one part of our game that we have struggled with.
One constant for Hun this season has been the play of Potts. I think Travis stepped up to the plate, said Bourbeau, a star goalie himself during his college career at Middlebury.
That goal was not his fault at all. He finished the season the way he started it really strong. I was expecting a lot out of him and I think Travis always rises to the occasion. Every time the game is big and on the line, he did his job and made the saves when it counted.
Bourbeau liked the way his younger players matured as the season went on. I think my young guys have been able to help me, said Bourbeau, who got good work from such freshmen as Peter Blackburn, Carrick Porter, and William Sweetland.
At the start of the season I was relying on my juniors. As the year went on, the freshmen, sophomores, and juniors all realized that they needed each other. My lower classes stepped up and it makes the team stronger overall.
The strength of the team is its core of juniors which includes Harry Blackburn, Brendan Gallagher, Jeff Starr, and Stephen Norman, in addition to Potts.
I think my junior class is my nucleus right now, said Bourbeau. The group has been with some successful teams in previous years and a rebuilding season. They went through all of it and they learned. My juniors are good overall as players, students, and people.
In Bourbeaus view, the final effort against PDS portends a bright future for the Raiders.
I look at the season as a learning curve, said Bourbeau. It was a little different this year because we started out strong, we had a little slump, and then we came on strong at the right time. We arent losing any guys next year. If we can play like this all season long, I think we will have a tremendous season.
Potts, for his part, is already looking forward to Huns next meeting with PDS.
I think this game will definitely help, said Potts. Coming this far builds confidence for next year. We stuck with a team we havent beaten in 11 years. We dont lose anyone so were looking forward to playing PDS next year.
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