When Brad Stern assisted on a second period tally to give the Hun School boys’ hockey team a 3-0 lead over visiting Calvert Hall last Friday, it looked like the Raiders had things under control.
But Calvert Hall responded by outscoring Hun 5-1 over the rest of the period to take a 5-4 lead into the last 15 minutes of regulation.
Stern acknowledged that the Raiders relaxed a bit after building the three-goal cushion.
“They had bus legs coming up from Maryland and we did let off a little bit,” said senior defenseman Stern.” We were very undisciplined, I would say, taking a lot of penalties.”
Coming into the third period, Hun was looking to tighten up. “The message after the second was lots of intensity, and lots of discipline,” recalled Stern. “We wanted controlled intensity.”
Displaying his intensity, Stern ripped a one-timer that classmate Spy Avgoustiniatos directed into the back of the net early in the third period to pull Hun even at 5-5.
“It was a good pass up from Alec Karanikolas and then I just shot it on,” said Stern.
“There was a good screen in front and it went right in. I did think we were going to win after that.”
Unfortunately, Hun took a string of penalties and yielded a goal with 2:17 left in regulation to fall 6-5 and taste defeat for the first time this season.
“It wears you down when you are shorthanded the whole game,” said Stern, who ended up with three assists on the game. “It is tough.”
With a roster containing four freshmen and five sophomores, Hun’s youth showed through in the defeat.
“We were flying a little high,” said Stern of the team’s 3-0 start which saw it outscore its foes 33-14. “It was like football games with us scoring 13 or 14 goals. We have a lot of young guys.”
Stern is looking to be a mentor to Hun’s group of newcomers. “It is a very, very different team so I have to lead by example and vocally on and off the ice,” said Stern. “I just keep up what Eric Szeker did last year when he was our captain.”
Hun head coach Ian McNally saw great leadership from Stern on the Calvert Hall game.
“Brad was awesome today; I told him that was one of the best games I have seen him play for us,” asserted McNally.
“It was not only the way he played but the way he led. Every time he was on the bench he was over talking to somebody in a positive way. He showed the most leadership I have seen from him. He had the on-ice game to back it up as well.”
In McNally’s view, his team can take some valuable lessons from the defeat to Calvert Hall.
“Unfortunately this is something that we needed,” said McNally, whose team plays at Gloucester Catholic on December 20 and then will be competing in the Purple Puck tournament from December 28-30 in Washington, D.C.
“We have been getting away with giving up eight goals and winning. It hasn’t bit us like this. Hopefully this is a wakeup call. We let them come back into the game and then in the third period we did turn it on. We were there, we were going to win the game and we shot ourselves in the foot with penalties that were consistently called the whole game. We need to be more disciplined. We are doing a lot of watching the puck. Every one of their goals was within five feet of the net and the guy who shot it was not contested at all.”
Hun’s group of freshmen, though, has scored plenty of goals right from the start.
“We have got Evan Barratt, who is an incredible, dynamic hockey player,” said McNally, who is also getting good play from two other newcomers, Blake Brown and Tanner Preston.
“He is very much a go-to guy on the team already. Jon Bendorf is lights out. Without those two guys, we would be in a much different situation in all of these games. We are pretty lucky to have those two.”
With a 3-1 start, Hun appears to be in a good situation going forward. “The energy is good,” said McNally. “The emotions are high but mostly in a good way. Everything is looking pretty good right now so we will keep hammering. The issues we have are easy to fix.
In Stern’s view, the Raiders are headed in the right direction. “We are jelling very well, we have good chemistry on the ice,” said Stern. “We are very optimistic. We just need to be grounded a little.”