There are many teams in many sports that would sign up for a 13-8-2 campaign, but for the New Canaan boys hockey team, which has grown accustomed to be being at or near the top of the FCIAC and the state, any season without a title may be lacking just a bit.
The Rams are back with their usually high expectations for the 2013-14 season, and they're aiming to get back to the top of the conference mountain.
"My goal is to win an FCIAC championship and go as far as we can in the state tournament, hopefully get a win in both," senior captain and center Jack O'Rourke said. "We've got a lot of kids coming back. Some sophomores from last year are going to step up, and we've got good senior leadership."
"Some seniors will be missed because they were very good, but we have guys stepping up for us," senior captain and center Peter Reinhardt said. "We have plenty of guys to fill those roles. We definitely want to beat the teams we lost to last year, win FCIACs and win states."
The path back to the top won't be an easy one, as the Rams lost several key players to graduation, not the least of which include last year's starting goalie Chris Koennecke and one of its biggest scoring threats in Puck Richardson.
Still the Rams feel good about the quality of their returnees, including forward Henry Stanton and defenseman Steve Mettler, a pair of all-state players.
"I think our D is pretty solid, our forwards are doing well and our goalies are taking care of us. We have a lot of guys coming back this year," Mettler said. "We're probably going to mix it up (on defense pairings). We have a solid six, so we'll probably just roll with whoever is best at the moment."
Mac Wright could take over for Koennecke between the pipes, though Liam Mooney is also in the mix for playing time.
"We have a lot of depth on the varsity team. A lot of forwards, a lot of defenders can play," long-time coach Bo Hickey said. "We could be pretty good. It depends on how individuals play out, but depth-wise we have a lot of people that can play."
The Rams will have no shortage of early-season tests, as their first five games are against Notre Dame-West Haven, Hamden, Greenwich, Darien and Notre Dame-Fairfield, though Stanton believes the frontloaded schedule could be a positive.
"We always pack our schedule in the beginning," Stanton said. "It's definitely tough, but it sets the tone for the season. We're excited to play the best."
New Canaan played its first scrimmage against East Haven on Thursday, Dec. 5, and Hickey noted some encouraging signs.
"It went a lot better than I thought," Hickey said. "You think you do (have line combinations) and then you watch them for 10 minutes and you think you have a better idea for something else."
New Canaan continues to gear up for its season with a scrimmage against Greenwich on Saturday, Dec. 7 at the Darien Ice Rink and Saturday, Dec. 14 with a jamboree at Terry Conners Ice Rink. Read Full Article
"That's exactly where it starts," Stanton said. "We don't overlook these scrimmages because we know they're two opportunities to really mesh before the season starts."
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