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Friars looking forward to strong finish on ice
It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish.
That’s the approach coach Jeff Stelmok is preaching to his St. Anthony's hockey club this early in the season.
St. Anthony’s (2-2-1), the four-time defending CHSHL ‘A’ Division champions, isn’t off to the best of starts. Yet, Stelmok doesn’t want anyone to be discouraged.
“It’s a matter of us sticking to our game plan, running it, and running it again to they finally understand it,” Stelmok said. “We’re getting there.”
There’s nothing fancy about the Friars’ game plan. It’s hard-nosed and to the point.
“It’s a structured, focused type of system that we run like a college team,” Stelmok said. “We have different attack patterns that are featured in our new playbook. Do your job and everyone else will do their job.”
Stelmok is banking on team captain and senior defenseman Matt Martino and senior assistant captain forward Alex Manfre to lead the way. Junior forward Bryan Whalen is also on board.
The expectation is for each player to pay attention to detail.
“The least important guy is the guy with the puck,” Stelmok said. “That’s the way I see it. It’s all about what goes on around him.”
When the Catholic League caps its 16-game regular season, Stelmok is confident the Friars will be one of the top four teams in the ‘A’ Division making the postseason.
As of games through Monday, Chaminade (5-0) and Monsignor Farrell (3-1) are in first and second place, respectively, followed by the Friars, which play their next league game against Holy Cross at 7:40 p.m. Dec. 17 at the Dix Hills Ice Rink.
“All of the little things add up to the big things, meaning the more wins, the more accomplishments,” Stelmok said. “It will come, it always does. We try putting goals out there that are achievable. It’s about responsibility. I don’t need guys to be heroes. Just work hard and have trust in the system.”