Sports

Ice Gaels have their sights set on a championship run

When people our age think of MSJ sports, it’s most often football or basketball. Many people forget that the ice hockey team won 9 straight MIAA championships from ‘99-’07 and another in 2011. Yet everyone knows about that win in 2017 against Calvert Hall that went to overtime, resulting in another MSJ championship. Most people who understand the legacy that St. Joe hockey has, see it as one of the most underrated sports here because of how competitive the team has been for a while.

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Class of 2018, Noah Blonder, saluting the fans after a playoff goal against Calvert Hall. (Photo Credit: Denise Garvin)

In an interview with Michael Garvin, senior Tier I ice hockey player, he was asked certain questions to further explain and show why MSJ ice hockey is so important to the people who care about it and to exploit the hype around the team this upcoming year.

High expectations can easily get the best of you and put your confidence through the roof. Usually you do not play as hard as you would when you’re the underdog. You have to push to win and last year the Ice Gaels had too much confidence. An overwhelming, and self-defeating confidence. But this year, the men in purple are ready for battle and have been looking forward to this for quite some time. Coming up short in the MIAA finals really took the spirit out of the team for a bit. That seems to be the way it is for a couple of players but now it’s back and they are more ready then ever. The magic is hopefully back at the Mount and it is ring season for the ice Gaels, once again says Michael Garvin. “There’s definitely some motivation… we’re gonna be going for it this year.” Michael Garvin declared.

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Getting ready to take on Spalding – The calm before the storm (Photo Credit: Denise Garvin)

Tryouts for the team just concluded and the new recruits are looking strong. They seem to know how much this means to the upperclassmen and they’re willing to give it whatever they can. With a strong, deep offense, powerful and skilled defensive core, and great goaltending from Connor Churko, senior goalie, the Gaels are looking stronger than ever. The team just won its opener against Marriotts Ridge on Monday night, 5-2. Opening the scoring, for the Gaels, was Sophomore forward, Jorrdan Osafo, on the penalty kill. A few minutes after Senior forward, Frankie Gregorini, came out of the penalty box, after a 5 minute major for a monster hit, and scored 10 seconds after the penalty expired giving the Gaels a 2-1 lead late in the second period. Senior Connor Churko went 16-18 saving shots on goal to seal the win.

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Senior goalie, Connor Churko, stopping a shot against Gonzaga (Photo Credit: Denise Garvin)

The one major thing that the Gaels can pride themselves on is their top of the line student section. They bring the life every time they come. However, not as many students show up for ice hockey like they do for some of St. Joe’s other sports. The Ice Gaels have plenty of big games and the more people that come, the more intensity the guys play with. Ethan Hall, the team manager from last year, said “Some games can be mellow but the big games are why I love the sport so much more than just the game.” He continued to talk about his experience. “All the students are involved and rally behind each other (with) every check and every chance on the ice.”

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Michael Garvin carrying the puck up the ice (Photo Credit: Denise Garvin)

Off the ice, the guys are hard at work during school hours. There are a number of guys with GPA’s above a 4.0 such as Michael Garvin, Connor Flynn, and starting goalie, Connor Churko. When asked about balancing a hard work schedule and a hefty hockey schedule, Garvin simply said, “It’s not fun, but it has to be done.” They know what it takes to be a true student-athlete. The demands of a long season are something that every player on the team feels.

Looking forward to the season, the team knows that they can play a great game and they are expected to do well. More support and attendance from the student body is what they are in desperate need of. With some wins and some publicity, the team is hoping the fans come out in droves as the season progresses. Anything less than an MIAA championship this year will be a letdown for all the people involved.

8D5A6D96-4B91-4C8F-B277-9E790B5CAC3AFrank Gregorini is a senior and a member of the Multimedia Journalism class.