St. Mary's Ice Hockey Team is gunning for its second Three-Peat State Championship this year with 21 enthusiastic players. The Gaels have won five of the last six state championships and they are looking forward to this year's playoffs to be held upstate in Newburgh.
Coach Henry Lazar (10th year) and Coach Robert Scheer (Class of 2000) are looking forward to some outstanding competition in preparation for the States. The Gaels will be traveling to New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and upstate New York for the best competition available. They will again play in the Philadelphia Christmas Tournament and they are particularly looking forward to participating in the Canadian High School Classic in Toronto, Canada in February during the winter recess. Other opponents include Brunswick Prep in Connecticut, Wyoming Seminary and Malverne Prep in Pennsylvania and Portledge on Long Island.
The Gaels have 11 veterans returning and 10 new players. Returning vets include goaltender Mike Midea, defensemen Steve Rios and Brian Dobler, and forwards Mike Collette, Sean Dvoran, Andy Gartman, Matt Gilroy, Captain Brian Mitchell Billy Murray, Evan Smith and Dimitri Soukhanov. Newcomers include goalie Rob Phelan, defensemen M.J. Errante. Chris Schultz and Joe Leone. Forwards include J.J. Ajudua, Joe Carro, Danny Doremus, Ruslan Khasanchin, Brendan Rizzo and Steve Pfeiffer.
The team should be able to score goals, as there are some very good forwards. The defense is young, but shows a lot of promise. Goaltenders Mike Midea and Rob Phelan are experienced and are ready for action. As of Nov. 5, St. Mary's is 4-0 and has outscored the opposition 41-5. Leading the pack is junior forward Dimitri Soukhanov, who already has 10 goals this year. Veteran assistant captain Brian Dobler leads the defense, which features one junior, three sophomores and a freshman.
The team was recently honored at a New York Islander game for winning its fifth New York State Championship last year.