December 13, 2017

Auslander Enjoys Breakout Performance As PDS Boys’ Hockey Rolls Past Portledge

BREAKOUT PERFORMANCE: Princeton Day School boys’ hockey Coby Auslander races up the ice in a game last year. Last Wednesday, junior forward and co-captain Auslander enjoyed a career game, tallying five goals and three assists to help PDS defeat the Portledge School (Pa.) 9-5. Over the weekend, the Panthers went 2-1 at the Albany Academy (N.Y. ) Rider Cup tournament as they moved to 4-3 on the season. In upcoming action, PDS hosts the Delbarton School on December 13 before playing at Rye Country Day (N.Y.) on December 14. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Coming off a frustrating 1-0 loss to North Yarmouth Academy (Me.), Coby Auslander and his teammates on the Princeton Day School boys’ hockey team were looking to break the ice early as they hosted Portledge School (N.Y.) last Wednesday.

“We always look to get that first goal,” said junior forward and team co-captain Auslander. “It is important to score that first one and get the boys going.”

Auslander got things rolling early for PDS, scoring a goal 10 seconds into the contest and then adding another tally minutes later as the Panthers jumped out to a 2-0 lead.

“Everybody is talking that we have to score more goals; coach [Scott] Bertoli is always saying in practice we have to score more goals,” said Auslander. “It was good to get that first one out of the way.”

Continuing to score for the rest of the game, Auslander ended up with five goals and three assists as the Panthers posted a 9-5 victory.

In reflecting on his scoring outburst, Auslander credited his linemates, junior Ty Eastman and senior Ryan Lisk.

“It is easy to feel in a zone with the two guys I am playing with; it is a connection right away,” said Auslander.

“Ty Eastman is such a good hockey player. He is big and strong. Ryan and I have been playing together for eight years. It is a very unselfish line, which is important. Everybody contributes, everybody is doing well.”

As a battle-tested performer, having seen a lot of ice time from the time he joined the program as a freshman, Auslander is looking to contribute more in other ways this winter.

“I think I have more of a leadership role this year,” said Auslander. “Last year I was one of the guys and we had a bunch of seniors. They were great guys who taught me what it is like to lead. We have a young group in there, so it is important for me to get all of those guys and help them learn the game a little bit and get used to the speed.”

PDS head coach Bertoli liked the way Auslander and his linemates took the lead in the win over Portledge.

“Coby’s line has been the best line on the ice every time we have played,” said Bertoli.

“They haven’t always produced, but their play has been indicative of them being the best line. It was just a matter of time to have a breakout performance like that. It is well deserved.”

The Panthers were productive all night long, jumping out to a 7-2 lead after two periods and holding off a late Portledge charge.

“When we play the way we are capable of, we are really effective,” said Bertoli.

“We put a lot of pressure on teams, we create a ton of scoring opportunities. It just so happened tonight that we were able to capitalize on that.”

The team also got scoring from the blue line as junior defenseman Chip Hamlett tallied a goal and an assists with senior Eric Sherman chipping in an assist.

“Chip has been solid back there,” said Bertoli. “He and Eric [Sherman] are our two best two-way defensemen. They are reliable and they make the right plays all of the time.”

Bertoli acknowledged that the PDS defense wasn’t as reliable as he would have hoped, yielding three goals in the third period.

“Defense and goaltending is an obvious concern; Portledge is a good team and the big picture for me is that we need to be really good against really good teams,” said Bertoli, whose squad went 2-1 at the Albany Academy (N.Y.) Rider Cup tournament last weekend, topping Rice Prep (Vt.) 1-0 and Wyoming Seminary (Pa.) 4-3 and falling 6-0 to host Albany Academy as it moved to 4-3 on the season.

“We have to be really good next Wednesday against Delbarton. We are not beating Delbarton 6-5, I can tell you that, there is no chance.”

Auslander, for his part, believes that the Panthers have a good chance against the perennial powerhouse.

“It is a good test; it is a main focus of this year to win that Delbarton game,” said Auslander.

“We will try to get better this weekend and then go into Wednesday with fresh legs and play pretty well.”