Pirate Hockey Pushes Toward Playoffs

At SHP our hockey team is overlooked by the students at SHP and the teams among the state. With our current record on paper we are 6th in the state and could be higher. As a team we have grown day to day within the locker room and as a team on the ice. We have come a long way since our first game and are still finding our identity with playoffs right around the corner. Battling with injuries tosome of our top players our team hasn’t clicked yet, but we still compete with the top teams in the state like Delbarton, Don Bosco, Bergen Catholic, Gloucester Catholic and Cristian Brothers Academy. Against those teams we have lost with either last-minute goals or goals caused by our mistakes. During playoffs our team’s goal is to make a deep state and Gordon Conference run. We need the support of SHP along the way. As a team we want to bring the trophy back to SHP and we feel that we could do so.

Last year was the first season in a while that showed the league that we are here. Led by captain Thomas Colucci ‘20 the team came together and we all got on the same page. As a member of this team I could feel the intensity and desire to win. This drive continued into practice. The practices became just as competitive, if not more competitive than the games. The way we pushed each other in practice made each of us better. The hunger to win carried over to this year’s team.

Competing with well coached and more skilled teams, SHP hockey was not looked at the same as it is now. Our captains Timothy O’Connell ’20 and Kyle Bishop ’20 have witnessed the development as a program since their freshman year. They were both on JV their freshman year, but they saw the team lose games they shouldn’t have. Our current team gets compared to that team. Head coach Mike Atkinson tells our team before games that we aren’t playing for points or individual achievements. We are playing for the alumni who couldn’t compete for a trophy and for the school.
As a team we have come to the conclusion that our goal is the state trophy. Tim has made it very clear that we are expecting a win every game we play:
“Don’t let this fool you. They [Bergen Catholic] are a good team but we have more dept and heart then all of them. I trust all of you to carry your own weight. Got to beat the best to be the best.”

This was what Tim texted the group chat the night before we played Bergen Catholic on January 8. As an underclassman knowing the leader in the room has confidence in our team made me want to win that game more than anything else. He made the team focus on that game and that game only that day.
With playoffs creeping up on us the games in the past are history. All that matters are the games now. Without the mental mistakes that caused us losses to the top teams, we are expecting to go deep into the playoffs.