BY KATELYN BUCHALTER
While the hockey team’s final record of 8-10-2 fell short of the player’s goals, it represented a significant improvement in comparison to last season, and the team’s hard work led to gains throughout the year.
Junior Captain, Michael Pellicciotta stated the highlight of the season was “improving on our season from last year.” In addition to winning six more games than the previous season, the team more than doubled its scoring output from averaging two goals per game to 4.7.
Although they started off their season with a tough run, the team managed to learn to work cohesively. “Coming together as a team helped us out a lot,” senior Christopher LoCicero stated. “It took us a little bit, but we finally gelled.”
“The best highlight of the season was the turn-around we had,” added LoCicero. “We didn’t start off that strong.” After getting off to a 1-7-2 start, the team went on a seven-game winning streak.
During that streak, the boys outscored their opponents 65 to 7 due to the hard work they put in to grow as individual players and a team. “Sticking to our systems, applying pressure, and, overall, out working the other teams has been the key to our success,” Shane Culley expressed.
This growth occurred under the leadership of veteran players like top point-earners Pellicciotta(40) and LoCicero(41) but also featured outstanding performances from new additions to the program. “Freshman Nicholas Gallo has had a great season so far,” voiced sophomore goalie Logan Schroeder. “It’s his first high school season, yet he’s proven his skill as a player.”
Gallo scored a total of 32 points in the season, including 12 goals and 20 assists, but he credits much of his success to the rest of the team. “A key to my success this season has definitely been my chemistry with my teammates,” Gallo stated. “I play with great players and that helps me become better.”
Gallo also gained the title of offensive player of the week alongside Pellicciotta who scored who scored 13 goals and led the team with 27 assists. “It felt incredible to earn that title. I was so proud of myself and my teammates, as well as my team for helping me earn the title and play well,” Gallo expressed.
The importance of teamwork serves as a common theme amongst the most successful players on the squad. “The team has been putting in lots of work during practice. Everyone on the team enjoys playing together and has great chemistry,” explained Schroeder, who was named GMC Goalie of the Week by NJ.com in late January and improved his save percentage 5% over last year.
The players took home many other individual awards this season, including LoCicero earning GMC All Conference Team and Pellicciotta earning GMC All Conference Honorable Mention along with Sophomore Dean Hoffman, who was also named GMC Defenseman of the Week in February.
One of the most exciting moments of the season didn’t involve any of those awards or accolades. “Another highlight is playing a game at the Prudential Center, which is where the NJ Devils play. Having the opportunity to play on the real ice that the Devils play on was such a great experience,” Gallo said.
The young talent on the team, combined with the dedication and determination they displayed this season points to a bright future for the team as they continue to improve.
Posted on 3/1/23
Photos by Barbie Shonia