Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXII, No. 49
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
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IN SYNCH: Princeton Day School boys’ hockey star John Inman controls the puck in a game last winter. Coming off a season which saw him score a team-high 35 points, senior forward Inman figures to be PDS’ go-to guy on offense this winter. PDS opens its 2008-09 season on December 3 when it hosts Kinnelon High.

With Jabs and Inman Leading the Way, PDS Boys’ Hockey Looks Strong Again

Bill Alden

Nick Jabs showed last winter how a hot goalie can carry an ice hockey team.

With the Princeton Day School boys’ hockey team lacking depth to start with and then getting hit with injuries, Jabs was called on to be sharp in the crease to keep the Panthers in games.

Jabs rose to the occasion, producing one clutch performance after another as PDS finished 13-7-3 and advanced to the title games in both the Mercer County Tournament and the state Prep tourney.

As PDS looks ahead to the 2008-09 season, PDS head coach Scott Bertoli is looking to his senior goalie to pick up where he left off last winter.

“I’d love to see him repeat what he did last year; so far he is giving every indication that he will,” said Bertoli, whose team opens the season by hosting Kinnelon High on December 3 and then plays at Rye Country Day on December 5 before hosting Montclair Kimberley on December 8.

“He is coming off a good football season; he’s motivated, excited. He is a good all-around kid and a good student athlete. His mental frame of mind is his strength. So many goalies are uptight but Nick is relaxed in his role. He’s not playing club hockey this winter so he is not juggling as much.”

The Panthers have some battle-hardened defensemen playing in front of Jabs in juniors Theo Casey and Brooks Herr. “Theo and Brooks saw a lot of time last year,” said Bertoli. “They will be our main guys back there.”

Bertoli has confidence in his other defensive guys. “Will Powers had a limited role but he has been working hard in the offseason; he should contribute more,” added Bertoli who will also use senior Erik Lefebvre and sophomore Sam Mehrberg along the blue line.

“Tyler Olsson plays with the Mercer Chiefs; he is a big kid. We are looking at them to keep us in games and give us a chance to win games in the third period.”

The Panthers will be looking for senior John Inman to provide the offense that can turn close games into victories.

“John is one of the best players, if not the best player, in the county and in the area,” said Bertoli of the senior who had a team-high 35 points last winter with 18 goals and 17 assists.

“He was the best player on the ice in most games last year; he is a great two-way player. We will be relying on him a lot.”

PDS has an emerging force in sophomore forward Skye Samse, who showed flashes of potential last winter.

“Skye Samse will be key for us” asserted Bertoli. “He is a big kid; he’s grown since last year; he did a good job working hard in the off season.”

Seniors Max Popkin and Spencer Gabin also figure to play key roles up front. “Max is good; he chips in,” said Bertoli. “He is a good two-way player as is Spencer. They will have opportunities to contribute offensively; I’d like to think they can score more this year.”

It won’t take long for Bertoli to get a good read on his team because PDS is playing several critical games in December. “We have our invitational on December 13 and 14; that is a big deal for us,” said Bertoli.

“We have some big teams coming in for that. We are playing some big teams in December like Montclair Kimberley, Mo Beard, Malvern Prep, and Bishop Eustace. We need to compete against these teams and be successful.”

In Bertoli’s view, his team needs to compete smartly in order to experience success this winter.

“I need to have them ready to play every night; even against teams they think they should beat,” said Bertoli.

“We will put a premium on being a good defensive team; we need to be disciplined and stay out of the box. We have so few premium guys up front; we need to have a successful power play and stay out of short-handed situations. Nick has to be good.”

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