Patrick McCormick is shouldering a lot of responsibility this winter for the Princeton High boys’ hockey team.
As the senior captain and star defenseman for PHS, McCormick knows that he needs to set the right tone on the ice.
“My role has changed a lot from last year; because we have lost guys on offense, I have had to take more of an offensive role,” said McCormick.
“In desperate situation mode, I try to rush it up as much as I can and try to get those goals. As a senior, I have to take charge of the team but the other guys match my efforts and keep up with me.”
McCormick is taking charge in the role of older brother, as two of his younger brothers, junior Connor, and freshman Brendan, also star for the Little Tigers.
“It’s fun, it’s different, it has never happened here before,” said McCormick. “It is just awesome when the three of us are out there together.”
The McCormick clan had a lot of fun last Thursday as PHS rolled to an 8-0 win over WW/P-S. Connor and Brendan each tallied two goals and two assists with Patrick chipping in a goal and two assists.
“Of course we have a connection on the ice,” said McCormick, reflecting on the family’s big night.
“We are always playing road hockey together, even in these temperatures. We will be raking leaves, and we take a 20-minute break to play free-for-all road hockey against each other.”
The McCormicks have been on the ice together for a long time. “Connor and I started playing together when we were real young,” said McCormick, noting that he took up hockey when he was around 5 or 6 at the IceLand Skating center through its Learn to Skate program.
“The funny thing was the little guy, Brendan, always wanted to come and play with us so that’s why I feel he is one of the stronger players on the ice out there. We used to be rough on him. There is a 7th grader brother, Ryan, and we rough him up the most. He is a tough, little kid, I will tell you that, he is trooper.”
PHS head coach Terence Miller knows his squad is a lot stronger due to the presence of the three McCormick brothers.
“It is fun, not only are they good players but they are great kids,” said Miller.
“Patrick as the senior, he is the captain and he takes the lead. Brendan and Connor are hard workers, very coachable. It is a real pleasure to have the three of them on the team this year. We have Brendan and Connor on the same line together and they have some nice chemistry working together on that line.”
Noting that the Little Tigers built on a 3-1 third period the day before in a 4-4 tie against WW/P-S, Miller was happy with the way his team pulled away against the Northern Knights.
“We came flat tonight; it took a few shifts for us to get our legs going a little bit,” said Miller, whose team topped Hopewell Valley 6-2 last Monday to improve to 5-0-1 with Brendan McCormick scoring three goals and Patrick McCormick contributing two assists.
“Once we got it going we were able to find a rhythm and we got a lot of guys some ice time. It is always fun to see guys get ice time.”
McCormick, for his part, believes that it is going to be a fun winter for PHS.
“We are sitting pretty but we haven’t faced our toughest teams,” said McCormick, who will look to keep up his hot play as PHS faces Pennington on December 19 at Mercer County Park and then hosts Cranford the next day at Baker Rink.
“If anything, I think it is good that we start off this way because it is preparing us for later in the season when we face those tougher teams. I am impressed with our effort, game after game. We are short on guys but we are always going as hard as we can, doing the best we possibly can.”