The St. Luke’s Varsity Hockey team is looking to get back to the FAA championship game this season after finishing runners-up to Rye Country Day School in a hard-fought final last year.
The puck squad finished the 2016-17 campaign with an overall record of 10-5-1 with three of the losses coming at the hands of the Wildcats.
Head Coach Zach Brusko is hoping to break the curse that has seen the Storm lose six straight to their FAA rivals since beating them in 2015 to clinch the FAA tournament title: “The goal every year is to win the championship. With only four teams in the tournament we expect to challenge for the title again. We are all very close in ability but Rye has to be our biggest rival because they beat us in the final last year.”
This year’s team will be captained by Ryan Neafsey ‘18 and Will Frossell ‘18 and Brusko is looking for the duo to keep the team together as a unit throughout the season: “We have such a good group and I expect Ryan and Will to help the new players stay engaged and feeling part of the team. We have created such a strong, inclusive culture over the last couple of years and, although our team has gotten smaller, we have had a core group that has moved through the program together. We want to make sure that continues.”
Brusko has been impressed with what he has seen from his the squad and feels good about the team’s chances heading into the regular season: “Preseason has been good so far. We have a small squad, in terms of numbers, but based on the last two years we are at a very similar level. We are looking forward to getting going. I think our top line is going to be one of the best groups in the league and we have some very talented freshmen in Anders Ernberg and Hayden Critchell.”
The Storm graduated six players and also lost goaltender Evan Ruschil but Brusko is more than happy with his replacement, Andres Falcon ‘19: “Andres has been our backup the last two years and, although he hasn’t played many games, is very capable. Evan would be a loss to any team but we have full confidence in Andres. He has matured a lot and doesn’t seem to be anxious about stepping in. If he stays healthy, we are in great shape.”
The team enjoyed an excellent scrimmage on Wednesday, November 29 against The Canterbury School and, according to Brusko, we can expect to see some changes on the ice this winter: “We are working on some new things this season so our goal is to get better every week and every game.” He concluded: “We don’t want to fall into bad habits so we will continue to work through the new things, even if it seems unnatural, to eventually get to where we need to be in February.”
Next up: St. Luke’s Varsity Hockey has its home season opener on Wednesday, December 6 against Stamford High School at 3:40pm.