December 15, 2021

PDS Boys’ Hockey Ties St. Augustine 2-2 As Ewanchyna Brothers Provide the Offense

By Bill Alden

It was Ewanchyna day for the Princeton Day School boys’ hockey team as it hosted St. Augustine last Wednesday.

With 8:19 left in the first period, PDS freshman forward Wyatt Ewanchyna scored to give the Panthers a 1-0 lead.

St. Augustine tallied two unanswered goals to take a 2-1 lead into the second period and minutes into the frame, PDS junior forward Ace Ewanchyna, Wyatt’s older brother, found the back of the net.

That turned out to be the final score of the contest as the foes skated to a 2-2 tie.

“It is pretty cool seeing my little brother go out there and score points here in high school,” said Ace Ewanchyna. “I guess it shows I am a good influence.”

Ewanchyna is enjoying getting the chance to team up with his younger brother for the Panthers.

“It has been a ton of fun, I have done it a couple of times in the past,” said Ewanchyna.

“The last time we played together a ton was squirts. It has been cool to see him out there. Hopefully, he is learning a little from me.”

On his second period goal, Ewanchyna was in the right place at the right time.

“It was a good pass from my teammates, I didn’t do too much,” said Ewanchyna.

“I was really looking for a rebound, I was more confident in my teammate Ollie [Hall] scoring than I was myself. It is mostly my teammates, I can’t really give myself credit.”

While PDS didn’t pull out the win over St. Augustine, Ewanchyna liked the teamwork exhibited by the Panthers.

“It shows what we can do when we are all working together well and not just playing as individuals but playing as a whole team,” added Ewanchyna.

Having transferring to PDS this year from Lawrenceville, Ewanchyna has quickly found a comfort level.

“Most of it is trying to adjust to the new teammates and stuff, some of the guys I had already known having been here in the past for middle school,” said Ewanchyna, who picked up two assists as PDS defeated St. Peter’s Prep 6-1 last Friday to improve to 2-1-1.

“It is a pretty good group, they introduced me well, I got situated pretty quickly.”

PDS head coach Scott Bertoli is certainly happy to have the Ewanchyna brothers join his squad.

“I have known the family a long time and they are great kids, they play hard,” said Bertoli.

“Wyatt plays the game the right way, what I like big picture is that we scored a rebound goal. Ace needs confidence so hopefully that will come from scoring a goal or two. He didn’t play high school hockey really the last two years. He did play a little bit of JV as a freshman at Lawrenceville and they didn’t have a season last year. Scoring and feeling good about yourself and your line are things that are going to help anyone.”

Bertoli felt good about how his team started against St. Augustine.

“You start looking at stats, at the NHL level it is almost like 70 percent of the teams who score the first goal win,” noted Bertoli.

“It didn’t work out tonight but I was happy that we were better in the first period than we were the last time we were at home against Pope John (a 3-2 loss on November 29). That was encouraging.”

While Bertoli saw some encouraging signs in the tie with St. Augustine, he is looking for his squad to play a smarter brand of hockey.

“We carried most of the play down there; as much as we are doing that, we still take unnecessary chances because we are not willing to keep it simple and just extend the shift,” said Bertoli, whose team hosts Gloucester Catholic on December 15, plays at Christian Brothers Academy on December 20, and then hosts St. Joe’s Montvale High on December 21.

“We are forcing the puck to the slot and then the puck turns over and they transition the other way. Those are just little things. We are going to play a lot of really good teams and in three or four seconds it is going to be an odd man rush the other way. It is all things we can clean up. I saw some things that I liked tonight and obviously some things that we need to improve on. That is our responsibility as coaches to identify those and work on them. I told them it was a good effort. It wasn’t a great performance but it was an OK result and that is fine.”

Ewanchyna, for his part, believes that things will turn out fine for the Panthers.

“We have got a lot of skill, it is nice knowing that everyone can is pretty much equal and can create a bunch of plays,” said Ewanchyna.

“We don’t have to rely on one person or another. I can trust my teammates pretty well even though I haven’t been here for too, too long. We definitely have to pick it up from here.”