Hun Boys’ Hockey Cruises Past ANC 8-0, Primed for Title Run at Purple Puck Tourney
MAN UP: Hun School boys’ hockey player Kyle Mandleur controls the puck in a game earlier this season. Sophomore forward Mandleur tallied three goals for Hun as it defeated Academy of New Church (Pa.) 8-0 on December 16 to improve to 2-3. The Raiders are in action this week when they compete in the Purple Puck tournament in the Washington, D.C. area from December 28-30. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)
After losing three of its first four games, the Hun School boys’ hockey team was hoping for a breakout game when it hosted Academy of New Church (Pa.) earlier this month.
“We played four games and two scrimmages before and there are a lot of good moments that came out of each one but we definitely needed a feel good game,” said Hun head coach Ian McNally.
The Raiders ended up enjoying a very good game against ANC, rolling to an 8-0 win in the December 16 contest.
“We scored a ton, which was great,” said McNally. “We actually do have the tools and they are buying in to what we are trying to do. Obviously if you don’t have a game like that every once in a while it is tough for the kids to realize what the light at the end of the tunnel is.”
Senior co-captain and star forward Blake Brown and sophomore standout Kyle Mandleur lit up the scoreboard for Hun in the win as Brown tallied three goals and two assists while Mandleur contributed three goals.
“Kyle and Blake went back and forth on goals,” said McNally. “They were playing on different lines so we had two lines that were competing with each other for goals.”
Along the blue line, senior co-captain and stellar defenseman Tanner Preston helped trigger the scoring outburst.
“There was one time when he came off the ice that I told him that it was the best shift I had ever seen him play for Hun,” said McNally. “He was very, very good for us; a couple of those goals where Tanner passing to our goal line to Blake on a breakaway. Tanner has been great as a captain; he has been giving us what we need from him.
While Hun isn’t off to a great start with its 2-3 record, McNally believes the team is headed in the right direction.
“Certainly you would love to be 5-0, the last two games we have played have been good,” said McNally.
“We played ANC and won. Before that we played La Salle (Pa.) and got outshot pretty badly (in a 3-1 loss on December 7) but in all honesty, we could have tied or won the game. We were pretty shorthanded, we didn’t have Blake or Tanner and a couple of other guys. Our freshman goalie, Jackson Cole, showed consistency against LaSalle; that was a coming out party for him. We showed everybody else what we can do even if we are being outshot. Without those guys, the other guys showed each other that they can still play a strong team themselves so that was good.”
The Raiders have been getting strong efforts from senior Griffin Ferrara and junior Kyle DePalma, who have moved to defense to help shore up that unit.
“We have had to do this shuffle of forwards playing defense; Griffin Ferrara is playing defense over the last couple of games and is doing remarkably well,” said McNally.
“Missing guys against LaSalle, he played half the game and didn’t know what he was doing but he did unbelievably well in that role. Kyle DePalma has been playing defense and he is typically a forward so those two guys have come through out of necessity.”
McNally is looking for his team to do well as it competes in the Purple Puck tournament in the Washington, D.C. area from December 28-30.
“For us, it doubles our games, we just spent a month and we only have played five games,” said McNally, who has guided Hun to two straight titles at the annual competition
“If we make it to the last day, you play five games here too. It is a chance to get going and get some momentum over a three-day span. Obviously you can greatly improve your record.”
In addition, succeeding in the event over the years has given the Raiders confidence heading into the meat of their schedule.
“I think that the past three or four years been, it has been a launching pad into the January season for us,” said McNally, noting that such players as Preston and former Raider star Frankie Vitucci have used the tournament as a jumping off point for big seasons.
“In January, we play all of our league games so this has been a way to not have two weeks off in a row and also have the guys bond, hang out together, go on a road trip, and win some games together to get that feeling to start us off in January.”