December 21, 2016

PDS Boys’ Hockey Takes Rulon-Miller Crown As Coffey’s Scoring Prowess Propels Panthers

STRONG COFFEY: Princeton Day School boys’ hockey player Tyler Coffey heads up ice in game last season. Over the weekend, junior forward Coffey starred as PDS won the championship at its 47th annual Harry Rulon-Miller ’51 Invitational. On Friday, Coffey scored three goals to help PDS defeat Rye Country Day (N.Y.) 8-1 in an opening round contest. A day later, Coffey chipped in two assists as the Panthers topped Chatham High 4-0 in the championship game. PDS, which improved to 6-3-1 with the win over Chatham, was slated to play at Don Bosco on December 20 before taking a holiday hiatus. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

Having missed some games earlier this season with a leg injury, Tyler Coffey made up for lost time last weekend as the Princeton Day School boys’ hockey team hosted its 47th annual Harry Rulon-Miller ’51 Invitational.

On Friday, the junior forward scored three goals to help PDS defeat Rye Country Day (N.Y.) 8-1 in an opening round contest.

A day later, Coffey chipped in two assists as the Panthers topped Chatham High 4-0 in the championship game.

Coming into the weekend, Coffey and his teammates were primed to put on a good show for their fans.

“I definitely think that this tournament was our tournament to win,” said Coffey.

“Before the season started, coach Perry (assistant coach Perry Roscioli) said a lot about having pride in playing at home and I think we really showed that this weekend. We played for Mr. Rulon-Miller and for everybody in the PDS community.”

Coffey helped get the Panthers off to a good start against Chatham, assisting on a goal by Russell Friedman 2:18 into the contest.

“The first goal was on the power play, that was good,” recalled Coffey. “I think that was our first shift out there; it was really quick, probably eight seconds into the power play.”

The Panthers didn’t look back, building a 3-0 lead midway through the first period on their way to the 4-0 triumph. It was the program’s first title at its Invitational since 2013 and a good tuneup for a showdown at Don Bosco, slated for December 20.

“It means a lot for us; we haven’t won it in a while,” said Coffey, who had two assists in the win as PDS improved to 6-3-1. “We can carry it over into Bosco and hopefully later in the season in January when we play some good prep school teams.”

In assessing his role on the Panthers, Coffey is looking to bring offensive punch to the ice.

“I see myself providing more skill and strength,” said Coffey. “I am strong but I need to get faster to play at the next level.”

PDS head coach Scott Bertoli was happy with his team’s fast start against Chatham.

“The biggest challenge for us is just playing up to our potential, playing fast; playing up tempo and being aggressive in the offensive zone,” said Bertoli.

“I think our biggest asset is our speed. We are not the biggest team, we are not the most physical team but when we get going and we get three or four lines into the mix with six defensemen, we skate and we put pressure on teams. I think at times we can overwhelm them; that was pretty evident last night and then again early today.”

The combination of Coffey and star junior defenseman Nic Petruolo is another big asset for the Panthers.

“We are a different team when Petruolo and Coffey are in the lineup,” asserted Bertoli.

“They are the two most skilled guys on the ice just about every time we play. They anchor that top power play unit; you insert them, Nick on the back side and Tyler up front and it just makes every line stronger. It makes us more confident it gives us more of a threat offensively.”

A number of other scoring threats have been emerging for the Panthers in the first month of the season.

“I thought Russell Friedman had a really good weekend; we have made the adjustment and had him come up and play on Coffey’s line,” said Bertoli.

“Since we have put the line together of Coby Auslander, Ryan Lisk, and Ty Eastman, they have probably been our most consistent line. It is not always evident on the score sheet. The line that generates the most offense and consistently has the most offensive zone time is Ian Zyvith with Jack Mascali and Evan Szabo. Ian is one of the most fluid skaters I have ever seen, he has really come into his own this year. Jack and Evan are two of the most disciplined guys on our team and they get in the right spot.”

Senior goalie Logan Kramsky was in the right spot as usual for PDS against Chatham, recording 17 saves in earning the shutout.

“Logan is outstanding, the kid does what he needs to do, game in and game out,” said Bertoli.

“He is a tremendous leader in just everything he does, the way he goes about his business, the way he prepares for games. He just gives you as a coach, and I would guess as a player, so much confidence. When we make mistakes, he comes through. He is just such a good kid; I am glad he has had the success that he has had. We are playing better hockey in front of him right now.”

Experiencing success at the Rulon-Miller Invitational was a confidence builder for the Panthers.

“It has been a couple of years; I just told these guys regardless of who we are playing I want them to play good hockey and play the game the right way; by and large, this weekend we did,” said Bertoli.

“Regardless of what the score is, I want them to go about their business, where they are working on things and are improving.”

With his squad at 6-3-1 after the weekend, Bertoli likes the way his players are taking care of their business.

“We would love to win every game but given some of the circumstances and not always being at full strength and playing some very good teams; I am happy,” said Bertoli, whose team will be on a holiday hiatus after their clash with Don Bosco with their next game scheduled for January 4 against Wyoming Seminary (Pa.).

“We had our crack at Delbarton and fell a little bit short (a 1-0 loss on December 8). Don Bosco is a team we have played and have played well over the last three or four years so we are excited for that. I think we are confident and we feel good about it and we are going to need to because they are a heck of a team with a high skill level. We will be tested in different ways that we have been tested to this point.”

Coffey, for his part, is happy with how things are going so far this winter. “We lost Fletch (last year’s senior captain Connor Fletcher), which is big but we are getting through that,” said Coffey. “I think we are moving forward in a good direction.”