Flahive Relishes Senior Night Ceremony, Hopes to See PDS Boys’ Hockey End with Title
By Bill Alden
For Kevin Flahive, earning a spot on the Princeton Day School boys’ hockey squad took hard work and patience.
After paying his dues by competing for the JV team in his first two years at PDS, Flahive made the jump to varsity last winter as a junior.
“It was exciting. It is a totally different experience for me from any other sport I have ever played,” said Flahive. “PDS ice hockey is a big commitment. It is a lot of fun and it is a great time.”
Last Thursday as PDS hosted LaSalle College High (Pa.), Flahive’s commitment was recognized during the program’s annual Senior Night ceremony.
“It was a big game obviously,” said Flahive. “It is an honor to play for PDS and put on this jersey.”
It turned out to be a tough game for PDS as it fell 2-0. “We have been getting off to a slow start in a lot of the games this year,” said Flahive. “We were never really able to get it going today and get the puck in the net.”
With a year of varsity play under his belt, Flahive has put more pucks in the net this season.
“I have just been playing more and it helps me to be able to adjust,” said Flahive, who competes on the club hockey level for the Princeton Youth Hockey Association (PYHA) Tigers. “Experience is the best teacher in that regard.”
The PDS hockey experience will be leaving Flahive with some indelible memories.
“I am thankful for all of the great times that I have had.” said Flahive.
“It is just the everyday stuff, being in the locker room with the guys and having fun at practice.”
PDS head coach Scott Bertoli is thankful for his senior group, which has been spearheaded by forwards Coby Auslander and Ty Eastman along with defenseman Chip Hamlett.
“They have been impact kids with the work ethic, the leadership, on and off the ice, and the offensive contribution; they are second to none,” said Bertoli
“It will be hard to walk into that locker room next year and not see see those three guys and know that you have got them out there because they are going to give their all. They are going to create their opportunities and play the game the right way.”
Auslander, in particular, has given a lot to the program. “He is one of top two or three kids that we had here all time,” said Bertoli of Auslander, who entered Thursday with 116 points in his career on 68 goals and 48 assists.
“He is right up there with Conrad Denise and Connor Fletcher in terms of the type of impact they have had on this team, the type of respect that that have earned from coaches, teammates, peers, faculty members, and administrators here. I just know without question that every time he goes on the ice, I am going to get 100 percent and you can’t teach that. His energy level and compete level are always off the charts.”
Bertoli is impressed by the level of dedication Flahive has displayed in carving out a role with the program.
“Kevin is example of the kids who just stick with it and have a passion for the sport,” said Bertoli, whose senior class also included defenseman Aiden York.
“They love the school, they want to be a part of it. The kid didn’t even get a shift in the Lawrenceville game, but I know I am not going to hear a thing from him because he wants what is best for the team in that situation. There have been times where we were short and we count on him to play valuable minutes. He gets out there and he had an unbelievable stretch of games there against Holy Ghost, St. Augustine, and the first time we played LaSalle. I was giving him opportunities and he contributed offensively.”
Unfortunately for Flahive and his classmates, the Panthers couldn’t get their offense going in the loss to LaSalle.
“We were missing two of our key forwards; it limited our ability to roll three lines out there,” said Bertoli.
“I thought in the second period we got a little bit of a rhythm; the power play helped. I have so much confidence in our first power play unit with the way they move the puck and create the scoring opportunities. It amazes me that we had the looks that we had tonight and we didn’t score.”
While Bertoli was disappointed to see the Panthers suffer a defeat on Senior Night, he urged them to turn the page as they look forward to playing Hill School (Pa.) in the Mid Atlantic Hockey League (MAHL) semifinals on February 13.
“I just told them that the best thing about this is we get to put it behind you,” said Bertoli, whose team topped Father Judge (Pa.) 6-4 last Monday to improve to 14-11-1.
“Yes, we were playing for something and it didn’t go our way, but next Wednesday at Hill is our most important game of the year.”
With PDS having played Hill to a scoreless draw through regulation before losing 1-0 in overtime on January 9, Bertoli is confident that his squad will rise to the occasion.
“We gave them a great game, but as I watched the video, they were better than us. It is not that they dominated us, but they had the better of the play,” said Bertoli, noting that Panthers are 0-6-5 in their last 11 games against Hill.
“We have to adjust a few things. The schedule that we have played this year has been the hardest schedule we have ever played. They have navigated it well and hopefully we can use some of that experience to propel us to play a good game and give us an opportunity to win.”
Flahive, for his part, believes that the Panthers will produce a big game, looking to book a spot in a championship game.
“We are excited that we have another chance; we are going to work hard and hopefully get a better result and get another chance to play our last game for a title,” said Flahive.
“We can’t stand losing. We are ready to get back out there and give it our best effort.”