Junior Mandleur Assuming Leadership Role As Hun Boys’ Hockey Produces 2-1-1 Start
MAN AMONG BOYS: Hun School boys’ hockey player Kyle Mandleur heads up the ice last Friday against Morristown-Beard. Junior forward Mandleur scored three goals in the game as Hun pulled away to a 5-2 victory over the Crimson. The Raiders, now 2-1-1, play at the Academy of New Church (Pa.) on December 14 before hosting Pingry on December 15 and Glen Rock High on December 19. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)
By Bill Alden
When the Hun School boys’ hockey team fell behind Morristown-Beard 2-1 early in the second period last Friday, Kyle Mandleur wasn’t overly concerned.
“We are pretty confident that we are a good team; they popped out and got a few on us,” said Hun junior forward Mandleur. “We always say we can score five a game so it didn’t really bother us.”
Displaying his confidence, the 6’6, 230-pound Mandleur came up big, scoring two goals in the second period on assists from Eddie Evaldi as Hun took a 3-2 lead into the third period.
“I had a good period; Eddie Evaldi was feeding me from behind the net, setting up the shot and all I had to do was tap it in,” said Mandleur.
With Hun clinging to that 3-2 advantage, Mandleur came through with his third goal of the contest with 11:39 remaining in regulation to give the Raiders a 4-2 lead and they never looked back on the way to a 5-2 win.
“Everyone was saying on the bench that the next one was going to be important,” recalled Mandleur, who also had an assist on the evening.
“Either we get up by two or they tie it up, so we were just really focused on getting that one.”
In Mandleur’s view, getting the win against Mo-Beard was important for a Hun squad that started the season with a 5-2 win over Holy Ghost (Pa.) but then tied Princeton High 3-3 and lost 7-6 to LaSalle College High (Pa.).
“It was a really good game, the first game against Holy Ghost,” said Mandleur.
“We realized we were a good team and we could play with anyone. Then we had rough games against PHS and LaSalle but we think this one solidifies it.”
Going with a short bench, utilizing just 13 skaters in most games, has been a good thing for the Raiders so far this season.
“We like it because everyone is in the action, everyone is getting involved with more shifts and it is better,” said Mandleur.
The team’s top line of Mandleur, senior Guillaume Hebert, and freshman Matt Argentina has dominated the action so far this season for the Raiders.
“Guillaume is a big guy, he works hard, gets down low and he can tap it in when he is in front,” said Mandleur.
“He is always fun to play with. Matt is a good player, he has been a really good addition. He is getting three assists every game, it feels like.”
Having soaked up lessons from previous Hun stars Jonathan Bendorf and Blake Brown, Mandleur feels like he needs to pick up where they left off.
“It is a good feeling; I have been on the team for two years and I watched them,” said Mandleur.
“I learned from them, they did a great job when they were here so it is like passing the torch. I am trying to play well and get our team some victories.”
Hun head coach Ian McNally credits Mandleur with emerging as a leader for the Raiders.
“Kyle was the one on the bench that kept going up and down saying we have got to get to 4-2,” said McNally.
“Kyle has really matured this year. He has always been big and good. It has been very positive.”
The elusive 5’6, 130-pound sophomore Evaldi is making a positive impact in switching positions.
“Eddie is playing really well as a defenseman, where he has very little experience,” said McNally.
“We are asking him to play half a game basically at defense and he is putting up more points than he did as a forward so he has been doing really, really well. Kyle gets to celebrate because he hits it into the net. Every single play it is a movie montage where you look in there in the background and there is Eddie.”
Goalie Jackson Cole did really well in the win over Mo-Beard, making 40 saves.
“Before the game today I grabbed him and said any time we have really needed you last year we had big games,” said McNally of his sophomore netminder.
“Any time we have really needed you, you have showed up and I said, ‘we need you’ today, and he did it.”
In McNally’s view, the Raiders needed the win against the Crimson to feel better about themselves.
“I think this was kind of necessary for them to feel that they are actually good and didn’t just get a lucky win against Holy Ghost,” said McNally.
Mandleur, for his part, sees good things ahead this winter for Hun.
“Every game that we have played we have been right in it; there has never been a game coming in where we didn’t think we could win it so that is an awesome feeling,” said Mandleur.
“I feel like last year there were some games we would come in and we knew that we weren’t going to win. The year we are working hard and everyone is ready to go. I feel like we are going to win every one.”