Huns boys’ hockey gains huge confidence after strong performance in Shady Side tournament

Last season: Huns School boys hockey player Mark Gall (right) chases the ball during a game last season. Senior co-captain Garr turned defenseman this winter and has been a spark on the Raiders’ blue line. Hun, now 2-3 years old, will host Devon Preparatory School (PA) on November 30th and Haverford School (PA) on December 2nd. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

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When the Hun School boys lacrosse team traveled to the Shady Side Academy (Pennsylvania) Thanksgiving Classic last weekend, Ian McNally worried that his team might not be able to keep up.

“When people ask me in the fall, ‘What happens to the team?’ I say I really don’t know. I’m not sure, we’ll see,” Hun head coach McNally said. “For years, I’ve known that we’re going to be terrible, or we’re going to be really good. That’s something I’m not sure about. I’m a little worried this week.”

With skill and tenacity, Hun held his own and went 1-3, with two losses coming on penalties. The Raiders lost to St. Francis (Pennsylvania) 1-2 on penalties on Friday, then beat Bryce Academy (Canada) 3-2 and went 4- 3 Lost to Shady Side. They finished Sunday with a 5-3 loss to Fort Erie (Canada).

“We’ve got some rookies, we’ve been with some pretty good teams,” said McNally, whose team is 2-3 and 4-0 in the season opener on Nov. 16 ahead of the game. Beat Father Judge High (PA) in the Shady Side event. “That’s why we did it. All the teams out there are more of a Penn model and they play in the fall. They’re two months into the season. It’s great. We could have won all four games, it’s nice to watch to this point.”

Newly-promoted striker Justin Laplante was in excellent form for the Hun last weekend, scoring twice and providing two assists in the game.

“Last year we had a kid, Seth Kaplan, who was a power forward, and Justin turned out to be a clone,” McNally said, pointing to two other newcomers, junior Charles Etienne. Teddy and Ryan Levesque have also been promoted to the forward unit. “He’s strong, he’s fast. He just played for the Huns football team this fall, and he contributed there. He can shoot, he can skate.”

Laplante was quick to link up with senior United captain Elian Estulin.

“Erian has scored in every game so far,” McNally said. “He’s got a C on his jersey and he’s taking on some leadership responsibilities. These two guys who didn’t know each other until two weeks ago have bonded. They found some chemistry this weekend.”

Returning junior Brendan Marino showed off his offensive skills over the weekend.

“Brendan has a great lacrosse shot and he’s translated it into hockey,” McNally said, noting that veteran Josh Sosner was also on Shady Side. Outstanding. “He scored two goals this weekend, both bullets. Shots from far away, in and out very quickly. He has nice little snaps, he’s scored a couple of big goals. We’ve got two pretty good ones now Lines — we can roll with anyone.”

The defense lacks depth, and veterans Mark Gall and Scott Richmond have moved from forward to blueline.

“It’s not that he has any experience, but Mark takes it, he’s one of our captains,” McNally said. “He gave the old saying ‘I’d do anything for the team’ and he’s been great. It’s totally unnatural for him and he’s trying to figure out how to fix it. Another guy who’s done that is Scott Te. He doesn’t have that much varsity experience, and it’s one thing to go, ‘If you need me, I’ll try.’”

Battle-tested senior Vincent Gregoire will be counted on to spearhead the defense.

“We’re going to rely heavily on a couple of people,” McNally said. “Vincent is going to have to record a lot of minutes and so far he’s ready.”

At goaltending, senior co-captain Stephen Chen and junior transfer Julien Arseneault offer Hun two good options.

“Steph is on another planet, he’s looking very, very solid right now,” McNally said of Chen, who had 39 saves against St. Francis and 33 stops against Shady Side. ball. “Some guys develop at the right time, and it’s Steph’s time. Julien had a couple of weeks of practice and we had him in the Father Judge. He was aloof for this event, and he was great.”

After Hun’s performance in the tournament, McNally believes his team can do some great things this winter.

“We have two fronts, and when you get Steph in the net, you have a chance to win,” said McNally, whose team hosts Devon Prep (Pennsylvania) on Nov. Feb. 2 vs. Haverford Schools (PA). “We’ve lost opportunities, and we’ve won every three seasons, which is a very unique thing. We’re going to have that ability this year, and we can sneak a win on any night.”

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