November 28, 2018

Featuring Plenty of Offensive Firepower, PHS Boys’ Hockey Has Big Expectations

BIG MAC: Princeton High boys’ hockey player Ryan McCormick, left, goes after the puck in a game last season. Junior forward McCormick figures to be a key producer for PHS this winter. The Little Tigers begin their 2018-19 season this week with games against Hopewell Valley on November 27, Nottingham on November 28, and Robbinsville on November 30, with all three contests to be played at the Mercer County Park rink. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

After making two straight runs to the state semifinals, the Princeton High boys’ hockey team is bringing high hopes into the winter.

“The team is excited; there are a lot of expectations,” said PHS head coach Tim Chase, who guided the Little Tigers to an 18-9-2 record and a spot in the Public B state semis last winter in his debut season at the helm of the program. “We are not going to fly under the radar.”

PHS boasts some exciting offensive talent with the return of senior Keith Goldberg, senior Ben Drezner, junior Stephen Avis, junior Ryan McCormick, junior Aidan Trainor, sophomore Colm Trainor, and senior Robbie Trainor.

“Everybody is back; I want to run three lines and have an extra forward,” said Chase, noting that a pair of freshmen, John O’Donnell and John Christopher Zammit, also figure to be in the mix. “They are all playing travel hockey and they are coming into the season looking pretty good. Scoring shouldn’t be our issue this year.”

Chase is looking for junior standout and converted forward Rocco Salvato to lead the defensive unit.

“I played him at defense the last couple weeks of the season and the playoffs last year, so he was ready for it,” said Chase. “He shored things up there. He has to be offensive, I don’t want him to not score.”

Senior Nate Podgalsky and sophomore Patrick McDonald are ready to play big roles this winter for the defensive unit.

“Nate is back on defense for us,” added Chase. “McDonald looks good; he will definitely be getting a lot of ice time.”

Seniors Harry Skopas and Scott Mayers, along with freshman Daniel Prokoshin, will be in the mix at goalie.

“Skopas and Mayers look good; they both have improved since last year,” said Chase. “Prokoshin has played a lot of travel hockey so he is good; he is a freshman but we will definitely give him some games. Hopefully goaltending will be solid this year. I will probably rotate them for a while and then towards the end, I will pick the one that has been playing better.”

In Chase’s view, PHS should get better and better as the season goes on. “You have to stay healthy and use the first half to get things going and get everybody on the same page,” said Chase, whose team begins the 2018-19 season this week with games against Hopewell Valley on November 27, Nottingham on November 28, and Robbinsville on November 30. “You want to get things clicking for the second half of the season.”