February 15, 2023

Hun Boys’ Hockey Edges Malvern Prep to Snap Skid, Looking Forward to Ending Season on a High Note

SUPER SAVER: Hun School boys’ hockey goalie Stephen Chen turns away a shot in recent action. Last Wednesday, senior standout Chen made 37 saves to help Hun edge Malvern Prep (Pa.) 2-1 as it improved to 9-12. In addition to starring for the Raiders, Chen recently competed for the China squad in Division II, Group B of the 2023 Ice Hockey U20 World Championship in Iceland. In upcoming action, Hun plays at Princeton Day School on February 16 and then hosts Academie Saint-Louis (Canada) on February 18. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Emotions were running high as the Hun School boys’ hockey team hosted Malvern Prep (Pa.) last Wednesday at the Ice Land Skating Center.

Hun was holding its annual Senior Day ceremony and was hoping to use the occasion to snap a three-game losing streak.

“It was great because it was senior night. We have a huge crew — we have 11 kids between varsity and JV,” said Hun head coach Ian McNally. “It was, ‘wait a minute, we are on a little skid here, let’s fix it today.’”

Hun went on to fix things, pulling out a hard-earned 2-1 victory as it improved to 9-12.

“It was timely, they played really well,” said McNally, who got goals from Brendan Marino and Charles Guida in the victory with senior goalie Stephen Chen making 37 saves.

Star goalie Chen, who recently starred for the China squad in Division II, Group B of the 2023 Ice Hockey U20 World Championship in Iceland, has been a key performer this winter for the Raiders.

“He has been playing great; he is strong and he is one of the more influential players that we will have on any game that we play this year,” said McNally of Chen. “When he is on, we are pretty darn good.”

The Raiders boast two other influential seniors in high-scoring forward Elian Estulin and standout defenseman Mark Gall.

“If Elian doesn’t have a point every game, I would be surprised,” said McNally of Estulin, who has tallied 32 points this season on 16 goals and 16 assists. “He is a catalyst for our offense for sure. We promoted Mark to defense this season. I think he has scored more goals (7 goals, 6 assists) playing defense than he did at forward.”

The trio of Chen, Estulin, and Gall has provided leadership as well as production.

“We have Stephen, Mark and Elian, who all played as freshmen and now here they are as senior captains, we don’t usually have that,” said McNally.

“That was a unique year. They all came in, they weren’t small kids and they were playing at a high level. They were able to make the team as freshmen.”

The Raiders needed their experience to weather the three-game losing streak.

“The stretch was a little inexplicable because we would outshoot teams and would lose,” said McNally, whose team fell 5-2 to LaSalle (Pa.) on February 1, 8-2 to Wyoming Seminary (Pa.) on January 27, and 8-3 to Portledge School (N.Y.) on January 23.

“We had a period against Wyoming Seminary, who was very good where we outshot them 20-6 and they outscored us 4-1. We went through this thing of it is not that we are getting badly outplayed or badly outshot, but we just kept coming out with high scores.”

Looking ahead, Hun has a big stretch coming up with a rematch against Malvern in the Atlantic Prep
Athletic Conference (APAC)
quarterfinals slated for February 14 at the Ice Land Skating Center, playing at local rival Princeton Day School on February 16, and then hosts Canadian school Academie Saint-Louis on February 18.

“There is still plenty of opportunity to have a successful year here,” said McNally. “We have had to delay this PDS game a couple of times. Now it doesn’t necessarily mean anything for our league as it used to but for both sides, that is a big game. You get that in the same week and you get the playoff game with Malvern and that sets us up for a chance to have a meaningful last week instead of just another game or whatever.”

In McNally’s view, the Raiders are primed to build on their win against Malvern.

“The good news for that going into this week is that we are in a good spot,” said McNally. “We have had good games, we have players who have had good seasons. We just have to find the recipe on the right night.”